Today I played my first concert with the Oxford University Orchestra, Oxford’s premiere musical ensemble. We played a banging programme of Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Beethoven 7 and Sibelius 5 to a rammed Sheldonian (despite impending finals), and it was a real muscular work-out and a jolly good time. I usually devote my musical efforts to the Oxford Millenium Orchestra, the largest unauditioned orchestra at the university, because it has a great social scene containing many firm friends and also tours annually. And the main event of a rehearsal is going to the pub afterwards. This term I had to give OMO a miss as its concert date overlaps with a thespian endeavour, but our conductor Dave graced the audience tonight.
Although I did really enjoy playing in an ensemble in which everyone is a top notch soloist (and the whole viola section actually plays), I think I’ll be returning to my musical home of OMO next year. Half of the reason I have played and sung music in all shapes and forms these past 15 years has been because of the community and social aspect of the craft, which is sadly missing from OUO despite all its fantastic individual members. And to be honest two 3 hour rehearsals per week is really more than this lazy historian is prepared to commit to.