If you had told me last fall that I’d be conducting several groups in the spring. I wouldn’t have believed you.
December 2012 I offered to help an elementary school teacher by doing the music for the musical. She agreed to the idea of letting me do music arrangements so we could have a pit orchestra. She wrote original lyrics to several folk songs and then I took the piano parts and turned them into orchestrations, some for band only and a few for full orchestra. (The grand finale and the overture)
In January she asked me to lead the pit orchestra rehearsals. I led the first rehearsal and then the elementary school’s orchestra teacher volunteered to help the strings. She took them for about a month and taught them the string only songs while I worked with the band on the band-only songs. The orchestra teacher also did the arrangements for the string-only songs, which was a huge help. We split the songs, because learning ten pieces of music was a lot for beginning orchestra and band students.
In mid-February we put the groups back together with me conducting the full pit orchestra. We rehearsed the group numbers for about four rehearsals and then we added the chorus. At the end of March we had our four performances. I had so much fun conducting the elementary pit orchestra. They practiced hard and played great at the performances.
We even had to recruit some fourth graders to fill in for percussionists who were characters onstage part of the time. I and the sixth grade percussionists got to train them over about one month. I had a little too much fun writing percussion parts and they were scrambling to get all the instruments played at the right time.
During this time I also got to conduct some junior high choirs as a substitute teacher. Choir was very different from the pit orchestra. I love conducting.