“The Planets!” Concert with the Inland Valley Symphony

It’s time for my very first Musical Mondays post! :D

Earlier this month I was privileged enough to perform with a local symphony, the Inland Valley Symphony. It was sort of a last minute thing, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity because up until then I had only performed with my youth symphony and the instrumental chamber ensemble at my community college.

The Inland Valley Symphony’s “The Planets” Concert – I’m on the left side with the golden harp.

I only had one week to work on the music, which was fairly difficult – especially considering the time constraint – but it was so gorgeous that it made all the practicing enjoyable. The concert included the last movement of the Star Wars Suite by John Williams, the 1st and 2nd place winners of the symphony’s Young Artist Competition, The Planets by Gustav Holst, and it was conducted by Mikayel Avetisyan who currently conducts the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra.

If you missed the performance but would like to see it, the Inland Valley Symphony has uploaded the concert into a playlist on their YouTube channel. Check it out below!

On top of being able to perform Star Wars again (you guys seriously have no idea how excited I was about this – I loooove performing anything Star Wars!), the harp was featured in every movement of The Planets, and it has some gorgeous harp parts. My favorite movement from the piece was Jupiter because the harp part in that is really fun to play and is beautiful.

Dr. Vanessa Sheldon, one of my amazing harp instructors!














However, this concert wasn’t just a big deal to me because I was able to perform with a big orchestra from my area; it was a big deal because I was also able to perform with one of my amazing harp instructors, Dr. Vanessa Sheldon. She is such a talented musician, and it was a great opportunity to observe her in a professional environment like this and see how someone of her caliber handles orchestra work. I’m still fairly new to the whole orchestra thing, and one of my major problems is not getting lost amidst all of those measures of rest, so it’s always great to see how another harpist manages all the counting, watching for cues, etc.

Before the actual performance, we only had one rehearsal with the symphony a few days before the performance – the dress rehearsal. The rehearsal went pretty quickly, as we only ran through The Planets once before we were able to leave. That’s the nice thing about being a harpist though, aside from all the measures you have to count so as to not get lost, you get to leave earlier if you’re not performing in the rest of the pieces! Assuming they run the stuff with harp in it first of course :P

Dr. Sheldon and I at the dress rehearsal for the IVS concert.

But in my excitement about the whole thing (rehearsing with Dr. Sheldon, playing The Planets, trying not to screw up too badly in front of this orchestra and make a fool of myself, etc.), I nearly forgot to load my rental harp into my van though! I had set her on the sidewalk while I helped Dr. Sheldon load her harp and got about half way to my van before realizing I had completely left her sitting on the sidewalk looking sad. Oops! Poor rental harp lol Don’t worry, I turned around and got her loaded so she didn’t have to hitchhike back to my apartment hehe

The concert itself went really really well. My dad, his wife, and Mr. Envoy were there to support me, along with my SI mentor from last semester and my Logic professor and her family. It was so great being able to share this concert with everyone that came, and I am very happy that I did it.

Plus, this was the first performance I’ve done on Elizabeth since she returned from her repairs at Lyon and Healy in Chicago! Her original, 95-year-old soundboard was able to be repaired and she sounds and looks amazing!

Dr. Sheldon and I.

Thank you to the Inland Valley Symphony (and my friend Justine) for this opportunity. It was so much fun and such a great experience! :)

<3 and harp strings,


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