I just moved to a new city and had a daunting experience at my local community orchestra. I had been so excited to finally get in contact with the conductor, find out when the practices were, etc. You know how it is when you've had no musical "fellowship" for a few weeks. Anyhow, I got there before it started and at once noticed that the average age of the players was (I'm not exaggerating) about 70. I lowered the avearage age considerably, I think. Anyhow, the conductor (who was overjoyed to see me) put me right in the middle of the seconds (only three stands) with these loud instructions: "Let this lady lead you. You need help. She's a professional." Of course, despite my one year experience as an apprentice to a professional orchestra and membership in two community orchestras, I am no professional, and do not aspire to even be CALLED one. So this comment made me nervous, along with the fact that he continued to draw attention to me as "the professional." The seconds were, let's just say, not up to par with the first section, which played tolerably well. It was explained to me at the break that any "decent" player immediately moved up to the first section as soon as possible, because the seconds are just "impossible to play with." I did, in fact, have a hard time following the timing because there was no definite leader in the group. Also, I hate sightreading and it makes it all the more hard when I am unsure whether things are being counted in 1, 4 or whatever. No one bothered explaining it to me.
Anyway, right after we convened after the break, the conductor again introduced me, this time to the entire group, as the "professional southern belle." I was kind of irked. Ok, we know how it goes in community orchestra or otherwise. You don't talk about someone's talent or (what is worse) lack of talent. He had not even heard me play. After this announcement I of course played worse because I felt the pressure to be perfect. After the practice I vowed not to go back. I just felt uncomfortable. Plus they kept asking whether I knew any young people at all who would be interested in joining. I really feel for them. I do. I just think I need something a little bit more...professional. What do you think?