UMBC symphony orchestra hums their way past misfortune
This photo is a realistic depiction of what the concert hall should have looked like, had the instruments not been sent to Nova Scotia. However, because they were, this picture does not accurately portray the set-up of the concert hall on the night of the concert. Photo by Marlayna Demond.

UMBC symphony orchestra hums their way past misfortune

The lights dimmed, the conductor came out and lifted his hand. A confused hush fell over the Lineham Concert Hall. The entire crowd wondered the same thing: “Where are the instruments?”

As it turned out, a mistake made by their airline resulted in the orchestra arriving at their destination, while their instruments were about to touch down in Nova Scotia, Canada.

With audience members traveling far and wide to see the orchestra perform, postponing the show simply wasn’t an option. “As we say in show business, the show must go on!” said conductor Lyric Maker.

Maker motioned her hand and began to move frantically from side to side, directing the orchestra to play the only instrument they had: their voices.

Of course, being strictly instrumental, there were no lyrics to any of the pieces on the schedule for the night, so the orchestra was forced to hum each piece despite how technical they were.

The orchestra powered through for the sake of musical excellence. By intermission, two percussionists had passed out, while countless other musicians were frantically searching for the nearest water fountain.

“Given the circumstances, it wasn’t half bad, honestly,” said Billy Note, sophomore music major. “All of the hums were on key, you could barely even tell they were missing their instruments,” he went on to say.

Note was one of the hundreds of spectators to witness the first humming orchestra in the history of Lineham Concert Hall, and like the overwhelming majority of the crowd, he was blown away by their creative improvisation.

While there was a resounding amount of positive feedback, some concert-goers were disappointed in the change of plans. “I paid to hear instruments, but instead I spent two hours watching adults sound like twelve-year-olds!” said Tim Poe, a well-known local music critic.

While the criticism may be valid, the attempt by the orchestra to give the crowd their money’s worth was a respectable one. The unorthodox performance was certainly a new experience for all of the audience members, as well as the orchestra members themselves.

Nonetheless, the musical expertise was imminent throughout the show, as they maintained tempo as well as tone even without the instruments that they had been playing for years. 

As for the instruments, the airline has promised to get them on the next flight to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where they will be returned to the distraught, and out of breath orchestra. The show was a hit, but nothing could make the exhausted group consider stepping on stage without their instruments ever again.

By the end of the night, all was well as the sold-out concert hall rose to their feet for a standing ovation in appreciation for the talent and determination that the orchestra put on display.

A performance like this may never happen again, which further contributes to its legendary story, leaving those who missed out in deep regret.