Even though mornings are always rough, especially on Fridays, attending Conduct Us made waking up worth it. Contrary to what I assumed in my preview, the weather was very warm: suitable for the festive and relaxed atmosphere at the event. Warm cider and donuts were provided too, so I even got free breakfast with the free live music (not to mention the free “Ono. Oh, Yes!” stickers)! I’m sure it was a very welcoming sight for the students heading to and leaving the MLB as well. Surprisingly, though, most of the audience was actually adults: most likely because it was a Friday morning.
Out of the many song choices, I recall hearing the Carmen Suites and In the Hall of the Mountain King the most. To those not well-versed in classical music, these titles may sound very unfamiliar, but trust me that if you look it up you’ll definitely recognize the tunes. Although I myself didn’t get to conduct, if I had the opportunity to I would have chosen In the Hall of the Mountain King too for its fun and exhilarating melody (in addition to The Victors of course). It’s a piece that starts quiet and slow like you’re sneaking inside the halls of a castle before rapidly speeding up when the king spots you! It was a lot of fun to listen to the giggles of the conductor and musicians accompanied by the sight of the conductor aggressively waving the baton (which at Conduct us, was a clothespin).
One of my favorite performances had two friends take upon the challenge of conducting the Michigan Pops Orchestra as a duo. It was very creative and inspiring to see people so interested in participating and enjoying the event: it really emphasized the point that the event is simply to create good vibes. It’s hard not to say, though, that Ono’s conducting was the highlight. Saving the best for last, the event ended with The Victors. To be honest, it was funny to watch him be flustered about conducting. It was also very endearing that afterwards the cellists invited him to play their part on The Victors, which unfortunately Ono declined. I’m sure we’ll see him play the cello one day though (he does actually play cello and pretty well too).
If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend this Conduct Us or want to attend once more, there will be another one coming up soon. Unfortunately, I don’t think Santa will be coming to town again. You can also support the Pops Orchestra at their end of semester concerts!