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A Look at NYE Through Our Guest Performer's Eyes
18 Jan 2011
North Carolina Symphony Blog
We asked some of our Triangle Talent Search winners to give us a glimpse into their own experiences as they performed as special guest artists with the North Carolina Symphony for our New Year's Eve Celebration concert a few weeks ago. Here is what they had to say:

Angela Farlow, soprano

"I really enjoyed the entire experience. It was one of the most special and best times I've ever had in my life. When I saw the audience stand up I started to cry on stage simply out of pure shock and excitement, I never thought I would have gotten a reaction like that. I truly loved singing with an orchestra for the first time in rehearsal hearing the instruments behind me as I began to sing was like floating on air only instead of wind it was the sound of the orchestra carrying me higher and higher. And of course everyone there was so sweet and fun to work with. We were all waltzing spinning and twirling backstage at the performance, we were just having our own little party going on backstage. Honestly I could not have wished for any better people to work with or a better experience to have my first time on a big stage like that."


Alice Tien, piano
"It's great that the NC Symphony opened a chance for Triangle-area musicians to solo, adding to the orchestra's NC-ness. I sometimes perform chamber music with professionals, but this was a stageful with the whole orchestral range in a great auditorium!

Also, it was very interesting to see what happens behind a NC Symphony concert. Though I'd performed the entire Yellow River Concerto with the Chapel Hill Philharmonia, a very good volunteer orchestra, working with the NC Symphony was surprisingly fast-paced and "official"-- rehearsals starting just 1 day before the concert, the different kinds of managers and staff backstage, TV monitors, the walky-talky update about the almost-late bus, the efficient piano moving, Travis the stage manager opening the door, colored stage lights, playing really close to the edge of the stage, front-row knees in the side of my vision.

To help me relax, I thought about Yo-Yo Ma, both in a masterclass I played in, and on stage with the NC Symphony. And for a second I remembered that exactly one month later, Lang Lang, who often performs the Yellow River Concerto, would be playing on the same piano, but Tchaikovsky."


Rachel Bahler, mezzo-soprano

"The whole New Year's Eve concert was a wonderful experience. From the moment we played through our songs with Sarah Hicks in the lobby of Meymandi, I knew it was going to be a stellar concert.

I shared a dressing room with Crystal Bright, and we laughed a lot during the rehearsals before the concert. We both arrived insanely early to the first rehearsal and didn't know what to do with ourselves. Lucky for me, Crystal is extremely personable and we started talking about our respective backgrounds. After awhile, our conversation died down as we both started thinking about warming up. She whipped out her iPhone and asked if I wanted to use her warm-up app. "There's an app for that?!" I thought. It was hilarious. The warm-up was a set of simple vocalises, but they each had a soft rock or muzak accompaniment background. Things became even funnier the next day when all three vocalists were packed in the dressing room singing along with the iPhone. It was so neat to hear everyone's voices right next to one another: a folk sound, a musical theatre sound, and an operatic sound, all great, but so incredibly different.

Alice Tien is a multitalented performer. At the photoshoot over Thanksgiving, we all met each other in the lobby and we started to chat. She is from Michigan, and I go to school there, so we had that in common. Then, it came up that she plays accordion and she co-founded the accordion group the PortaBellows. I stepped back and exclaimed "The PortaBellows?! I have seen a lot of your concerts. My mom is your lead singer!" It's true. My mother, from whom I get my interest in singing, often sings with them in their concerts. It's a small world, after all.

This is neither here nor there, but I enjoyed dancing backstage to the various pieces the symphony played. It was very entertaining to watch Crystal and Angela waltzing offstage right in long evening gowns. I stuck with some awkward arm choreography during the two numbers before "Broadway Baby" to try to distract myself from thinking that I was about to perform in front of over 1200 people.

It was an honor to be selected to perform with the North Carolina Symphony. They sounded wonderful, and it brought life to "Broadway Baby" that I had never even imagined. It is thrilling to sing in front of an orchestra of world-class musicians in a beautiful concert hall filled with smiling faces. I will always look back on New Year's Eve and experience a rush of positive memories."



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