Ann Arbor Camerata Competition

February 22, 2017
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My hands are pretty fine but I know that as soon as I go on stage, all my nerves will jump everywhere and possibly, mess me up. Today, I’m entering the first round of the Ann Arbor Camerata Competition. It is held at Hankinson Hall in the University of Michigan. I really wish there are no tests because it would make my life much easier. Before I even compete, I feel all worn out by the colossal amount of homework and tests. Last night, I only slept for three hours studying and was utterly exhausted during class today. After school, I could not help but take a nap for two hours and when I woke up, I hurriedly started practicing my competition piece, Scherzo Tarantelle by Henri Wieniawski. I grabbed my bow, and whipped out my violin.  Scherzo Tarantelle is a fast and energetic piece. Making matters worse, I have not played this piece for a while, so it is easy to miss a note and get lost.

Luckily, I find out that I am not the first one to perform at the competition. It makes me feel better because I can have some time to warm up and match up with Mi-Eun Kim, my piano accompanist. As I practice, I keep reminding myself that I performed this piece for masterclasses with Robert Lipsett and Rodney Friend, two of the top musicians in the world. Reminiscing how well I played the piece must have hypnotized me. During twenty minutes of my practice with Mi-Eun, I make no mistakes.

With my confidence regained, I walk into Hankinson Hall. When I walk in, I see four judges, but I can’t recognize them quite well. I am guessing that one of them is Victor, the conductor of Ann Arbor Camerata. According to my teacher, Jenny Wan, he is funny and skinny, has yellow hair, and is always smiling. Victor also plays cello and was Jenny’s classmate for quite a long time. The other judges seem older than Victor, and I am guessing that they are professors in the University of Michigan. As I stand before them, the hall suddenly looks huge, and I can feel by my heart beating very fast.

Feeling nervous, I start playing my piece. The beginning is not bad, but I notice that my fingers are starting to go crazy. At my cadenza, my fingers accidently go faster than usual. I start to panic and try to control myself, but my fingers are already flying all over the fingerboard. I keep telling myself that it was just one mistake. But, perhaps I calmed down too much this time. Now, I am playing too slow at my second page. I glance at the judges, and they look bored. I start to panic again, but I continue to play. Now I am almost done with my piece. I am feeling tired after the big finale, but I just have to repeat the first page which I never messed up before. Unfortunately, judges’ bored faces linger on my head, and my fingers are again flying all over the fingerboard. As a result, there goes my second stupid mistake. After I finish, the judges clapped. However, in my eyes, the judges do not look satisfied enough. Mi-Eun said I was pretty good on the harmonic and that if I practice the part that I messed up, it will be more steady next time.

Thinking of  how stupid my mistakes were, the whole world turns gloomy. Nevertheless, I am sitting there waiting for the audition results while consoling myself that it was a good experience for me. The audition results come out, and surprisingly I got into the final round. Three people including me got in, and surprisingly, all of the finalists are my friends. One is a violinist from the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra, and another one is a cellist from my first camp at Center Stage String. I hope I win the competition and get to perform with the orchestra.

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