When I was in college, I played with an orchestra for the first time. As soon as we started playing together in the first practice, I was forever hooked. Playing with a band is also fun, but playing with an orchestra is better, largely because of the string section. Piano and strings are truly a match made in heaven.
After leaving college, I assumed that my days of performing with top-quality musicians and orchestras were gone. I believed that I would end up in a small church with a limited music program and that would be the extent of my music performance.
So, that is why I almost get choked up when I think about the opportunties I have had over the past few years. Two years ago, I recorded with the Nashville String Machine for the first time. Not only is that orchestra far superior to any college orchestra, but I was playing my own music. There is no experience like hearing your own music come to life for the first time in an environment like that.
Over the past year, I have been designing the music that is going to come to life on Monday with the Nashville String Machine. I arranged the music and Steve Mauldin created orchestrations from my arrangements.
I can hook up my computer to my keyboard and play the orchestrations through Finale. They sound OK but are nothing compared to what they will sound like on Monday.
Obviously, I am looking forward to Monday. I learned much from the session two years ago, and I am changing some things. First of all, I am choosing to “scratch” piano. That means we are not keeping piano tracks from the day at all. That takes an enormous amount of pressure off me to be perfect and allows me to relax and listen more. I will enjoy the day a lot more that way.
We are also going to do much more to document the day. Last time, I took an inexpensive digital camera and came away with a dozen bad shots that were too dark. This time, we are going to take loads of pictures with multiple cameras. We are also going to produce a video about this project like we did last time. However, this one will be better planned with better equipment.
And we are going to do a free webcast of the entire day online at http://www.greghowlett.com/nashville.aspx. Feel free to logon to that page during the day and see what is going on. I wanted to give people that are interested in this kind of thing an opportunity to see it happen.
I am incredibly thankful to God for the opportunity. As I have said before, there are numerous musicians who are far better than me that will never get this opportunity. I have truly been blessed far more than I deserve.