March 2015

Our Field Trip To Meet Joshua Bell
Field Trip Last Thursday, the entire school was invited to attend the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s rehearsal with world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell. This was an incredible opportunity for the MacLaren community to study the intensity and exactness and passion that go into a masterful performance, and to listen in on the intimate rapport that develops between a conductor and a professional orchestra as they collaborate with one of the world’s finest living musicians. We all felt very privileged to be there.

The event almost didn’t happen, however, because of the return of winter weather to the Pikes Peak region which had already produced one snow day and a two-hour delay earlier that week. When the snow returned in earnest Wednesday evening, we feared that there would be yet another snow day called and we would have to cancel our trip to see Mr. Bell. Because he was in town for only one day, there would be no rescheduling of this unique opportunity. We awoke to only a two-hour delay so the plans went forward to attend the rehearsal that afternoon. The snow began to come down in the afternoon and the roads were getting sloppy, but not wanting to miss our one chance to listen to Joshua Bell, the decision was made to go forward with our plans. The five rented school buses pulled up, and we loaded over 300 students and faculty onto them for what would normally be a ten- to fifteen-minute drive downtown. But the roads were getting slicker and the traffic was slowing down, and by the time we arrived at the Pikes Peak Center, we had all of four minutes to get over 300 people seated. Our students quickly and quietly found their seats and then we all settled in for a fascinating ninety minutes.. Mr. Bell, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes, almost danced around the stage as he played selections of Saint-Saëns and Ravel from memory, stopping to speak with and sometimes give direction to the conductor and the orchestra. When he was finished, he generously spent another twenty minutes with our students, speaking on everything from summer camps to practicing well to buying a Stradivarius to pre-concert routines (his includes a nap and a banana).

Mr. Bell finally took leave of the MacLaren students and headed out to begin the rest of his preparations for the evening concert. Mrs. Catherine Hanson, one of MacLaren’s orchestra teachers and the principal violist of the Philharmonic, took the stage and honored the students for comporting themselves so well and being such excellent representatives of the school. As the snow continued to fall, the students and staff boarded the buses back to MacLaren, delighted that they had been given a chance to watch and learn from someone who has striven for genuine excellence Joshua Bell has clearly accomplished much in his life. At MacLaren, we are excited to see what our students will accomplish with their lives.

-Katherine Brophy and Nico Alvarado

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