A Lot of Preparation Goes into the Performance of a Chinese Orchestra | Local

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The school offered chimes, a bass drum and even Thoma’s own double bass, which he contributed because he “wanted to offer the best we had”.

“During that week, I was on the phone with her every few hours to talk about the arrangements,” said Thoma.

Between Thoma and the rentals from the University of Iowa, Airola quickly went through the list of necessary instruments. However, when the orchestra arrived, Airola learned that there was a problem. The list of items needed indicated that two sets of timpani, or timpani, were needed, but Airola had only prepared two individual timpani.

“When they got there they said, ‘Well, we really need two sets,’” recalls Airola.

Realizing that she only had half the kettles needed and only 18 hours before the performance, Airola said “a real rush” had begun. She called Thoma for help and they got two from high school.

Once the drums were in place, all that was left was to hear the orchestra play.

“It’s an absolutely dynamic performance,” said Airola. “I’ve heard people say it was the best musical performance they’ve ever heard. It is completely alive and wonderful.

Even with all the logistics involved for the orchestra to perform, Thoma said these performances are what sets the community apart.


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