The summer before my sophomore year of high school, I attended Interlochen Arts Academy and played in the High School Concert Orchestra — second in quality to the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. About halfway through the summer, I had the opportunity to challenge into the top group, and the piece we played for that audition was the solo from Copland’s Buckaroo Holiday. I practiced hard, studied recordings for stylistic ideas, and played my heart out in the challenge. Like most sixteen-year-olds, I thought I was awesome. Also like most sixteen-year-olds, I wasn’t. I lost that challenge and never performed the piece with the orchestra.
This weekend, the Springfield Symphony opens its season with a program entitled “American Style.” We’re hitting all the big names: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Bernstein’s Fancy Free and Copland’s Rodeo … including the Buckaroo Holiday. I finally get my chance to play that solo. I am more than twice as old as I was on that day at Interlochen, and I certainly hope I’ve learned something since then. It would be a stretch to call this opportunity “redemption,” but my history with the piece certainly adds a little extra incentive to do it justice. If you can’t make it out to Springfield to hear us live, check out the broadcast over Dayton Public Radio in a month or so!