On Sunday, April 3, the Casady Philharmonic made its debut at the Civic Center! We collaborated with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic in one of the “Whiz Kids” concerts, which showcase excerpts of famous music and all the various instruments clustered around the stage.
Our repertoire included “Rhythmic Variations of Two Ancient Hymns” by Howard Hansen, which we played at the OkMEA All-State convention as a state honor orchestra.
I spoke to Mr. Moore, the co-director of the Casady Orchestra and bassist in the OKC Phil, about how exactly this opportunity came about. Frankly, I was surprised at the simplicity of the story.
“Last year, our conductor saw a video that I had shared on Facebook of [the Casady orchestra] rehearsing and thought you all sounded really good. He contacted me to see if we’d play at a concert the following season.”
Despite an ordinary origin story, the experience was definitely one of a kind. We were the finale of the performance, so we got to sit in the wings of the stage and watch the OKC Phil perform from an entirely new perspective. We were isolated from the outside world by two sets of gigantic sound-proof doors, so it was truly an immersive experience. Surrounded by the players’ instrument cases and personal belongings, the surrealness became commonplace. It felt as though we were watching the musicians as colleagues instead of audience members.
When our time to shine arrived, we took to the front of the stage, arranged in our usual positions and placed directly in front of the OKC Philharmonic. However, we overcame our jitters by doing what we always do: listening and playing with each other. We are a close-knit group that does everything as a single unit, and performing under the eyes and ears of a professional orchestra and its audience did not shake us.
Performing with the OKC Phil was a wonderful experience and a milestone for the Casady Philharmonic. The professional musicians amplified our energy and sound to a level it had never reached before. And yet we played with the same composure and comradery that we do every morning in rehearsal because beyond being musicians we are classmates, teammates, and friends, and simply playing together, whether it be in Ford or at the Civic Center, is always a joy.