By Jordanna Matlock, Manager of Community Engagement
April 22, 2023
The Phoenix Symphony Education department is delighted to offer a new experience to students in Arizona: Open Rehearsal Field Trips! This program gives students the rare opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes at a major symphony’s concert. TPS held four open rehearsals this season consisting of repertoire from three different Phoenix Symphony concerts: “Totally ‘80s,” “Fireworks” and “The Music of John Williams.”
These open rehearsals featured a Q&A session with TPS musicians Jenna Daum, Flute; Cassie Walck, Associate Principal Horn; Laurie Selby, Cello; Juan Esteban Martínez, Acting Second Clarinet; Damien Schindelman, Oboe as well as the conductor of each program. The musicians gave insight into their practice schedules, informing students that they must practice for many hours individually before they even arrive to the full orchestra for rehearsal. They also gave the students tips for practicing and talked about symphony audition processes. Our Education Department provided teachers with materials to prepare them for the rehearsal including lesson plans, information on the conductors and fun-facts about the pieces.
During our “Totally ‘80s” Open Rehearsal on January 27, geared toward high school students, guest conductor Stuart Chafetz led the discussion. A beloved and frequent guest conductor at TPS, Chafetz answered a variety of questions and focused on career development. This open rehearsal was held at the Madison Center for the Arts and students heard the orchestra practice songs including The Final Countdown, Careless Whisper, and The Ghostbusters Theme.
Next up was our “Fireworks” open rehearsal, held on February 2nd and 3rd at Madison Center for the Arts. Guest conductor Carlos Izcaray led the orchestra through the concert repertoire. This open rehearsal was aimed at middle and high school students. In an interesting Q&A, Izcaray spoke about his switch from instrumentalist to conductor. He shared stories about his upbringing in Venezuela and when asked by a student to play his instrument, the cello, he improvised a piece on the spot. The students heard a variety of pieces including Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music, Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, and Canzon per sonare No. 2 by Gabrielli.
On February 17 th Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz dazzled students of all ages during rehearsal for “The Music of John Williams” at Symphony Hall. The Q&A consisted of many interesting topics including questions about Symphony Hall, how the production team prepares for a concert and the musical backgrounds of our diverse musicians. Muñoz spoke about his life as a conductor and his travels all over the world. The rehearsal consisted of very recognizable music from films like Harry Potter, The Adventures of Indiana Jones, and Star Wars.
Watch our social media and the education page on our website for information about future open rehearsals and other community engagement initiatives!