DANVILLE – It was only a rehearsal, but Nick Niehaus was breaking out the tux anyway.
“This is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra!” Floyd said, explaining his late morning attire. “I thought, I have the tux, I ought to wear it.”
The 18-year-old freshman joined most of the student body at Centre College at the campus’ Norton Center for the Arts Monday morning to hear a rehearsal by the orchestra and conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who were set to perform Monday night in a concert that will see many more black ties and evening gowns in the audience.
For many students, just hearing a rehearsal was exhilirating.
“They’re breathtaking,” Niehaus said. “My heart was pounding.”
Louesa Akin, a 20-year-old freshman from Paducah said, “They’re so smooth and everything that’s in the music shows. Watching Dudamel, you see the excitement and the passion.”
Joining the Centre students were others from the Central Kentucky music community, including the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. They got to see the extent of the event planned for the concert, including cameras mounted on giant cranes over the stage for NBC to film the concert.
For Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras music director, it was a chance to reconnect with an orchestra she had enjoyed a summer program with and to see another Youth Orchestra conductor who’d made it big. Dudamel first became known for work he did with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, a youth orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela, that is part of the arts education program El Sistema.
“It means this job can be the start of an awesome career,” said Dan, who asked Dudamel to sign a score for her. Dan said she knew of about eight to 10 CKYO kids who are coming to the concert, “but I can’t, because we have rehearsal. I let them off though. It was a good excuse.”
After watching the rehearsal from backstage, Dan said, “The energy comes from him, and his sound is just amazing. The soft is amazingly soft – you can barely hear it.
“It takes time to do that, and a lot of young conductors just rush to the next thing, but he works with it.”
UK Symphony director said the Philharmonic, “knows that music inside-out, and with that, they can really make it their own.”
Jasmine Watts, a 20-year-old Centre junior from Boston said that while she has plenty of cultural opportunities back home, “this is pretty special to have it right here on campus, and its free.”
For Akin, the rehearsal was not to be missed because, “This will never happen again at Centre College, so it’s exciting to be a part of it.”