We entered the auditorium, scanning the rows to find seats in the middle section, about halfway between front and back. We settled in, hoping the seat in front of Ellie would stay open so she could see. We chit-chatted, about nothing and everything, while we waited for the concert to begin.
The orchestra filed in, adjusting music seats and stands. That pre-concert shuffle — a bustling signal that the performance would soon begin. The concertmaster (an orchestral term for first violinist) stood to face the orchestra as everyone tuned their instruments to match hers.
The auditorium hushed.
My heart pounded.
Then, Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser, conductor of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, took the podium. With one stroke of the baton, the performance began.
My heart kept pounding.
The piece ended. The audience applauded. Maestro Gunzenhauser stepped off the podium and walked to the microphone at the side of the stage.
He spoke, sharing the history of Endless Mountain Music Festival and introduced the interns performing with the orchestra, mostly college students from around the country studying violin, viola, bass, percussion, trombone and french horn.
He spoke of one young man, a boy who claims both Alabama and North Carolina as home, with big dreams and even greater passions. A young man with talent. Endless Mountain Music Festival’s first conducting intern.
A tear rolled down my cheek. My hands turned to ice — so excited. So nervous. My belly did a flip flop.
He took the podium. And with one stroke of the baton, the performance began.
My heart kept pounding. I realized — more than once — that I was holding my breath. Breathe, Karen. Breathe.
The piece ended. The audience applauded. My son stepped off the podium, took a bow with the orchestra and walked offstage.
A tear rolled down my cheek.
My son, I will cherish this one forever.
NOTE: Video is from his second performance at the Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium in Corning, New York. The first time he took the podium, I just watched… and held my breath.
To learn more about Endless Mountain Music Festival and other musical performances throughout the year, click here. To learn more about Wellsboro and Tioga County, PA, click here. It’s a great place to visit, even if your son is not conducting the orchestra!