When I was told that the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was going to be featured on an episode of the Bachelor I knew I had to find a way to be there. As a young teen I had watched my fair share of the Bachelor, and the Bachelorette. I had oohed and aahed with all my friends about who was going to win, who should be kicked out, and of course, how we would act if we were on the show. Having LACO be part of the show was my chance to finally get the backstage scoop of the inner workings of this crazy-yet addicting-show.

When I first arrived at the Park Plaza hotel I was astounded by the sheer number of people who were working. Dozens of crew members were quickly putting the set together. Handful of flower arrangements, candles and linens-so many different linens-were strategically placed, draped and hung. By the looks of it, the crew had redecorated the hotel! But no, it was just a small, tiny section. The table where the couple ate was as big as a card table. The floor danced on? The length of a bed. However, with all the camera angles and decorations, the table looked comfortable and not itsy-bitsy. The dance floor seemed as spacious and open as when Cinderella dances with her Prince. The magic of angles, lighting and many retakes were finally revealed to me.

I can never look at TV, especially reality TV the same. But it’s because I now appreciate all the hard work that goes into making it happen. The crew team was incredible, fixing any stray hair, dress malfunction and sweaty forehead quickly and professionally. The detailing of each shot of footage was painstakingly examined and tweaked. The patience each member possessed and the comradery they had for one another was truly wonderful to watch.

But of course, we can’t forget about the LACO musicians. For me, they were the chocolate icing on the cake. The call time for the musicians was 6:00 pm and not a single person was late. In fact many of them were 20-30 minutes early. As I greeted the musicians and asked how their days were going, many answered, “I just came from a recording session.” Or “I just finished teaching at school”. It was 6:00 pm, they had already put in a full day of playing, teaching, or practicing and they still had a 5 hour gig that night. The life of a musician really never stops!

At 6:30 pm sharp they began to rehearse. It was the first rehearsal. It was the first time playing with the guest conductor. It was the first time for many of them to look at the music. And yet, not a single note was wrongly played. The harpist strummed away as if it was her favorite piece in the whole world. The basses-my favorite to watch-plucked away like they had been playing this their entire life. And the soloists? Not a faulty breath or shaky note. No, it was magical listening and watching them play. It was clear they truly loved performing and had a deep understanding of their instruments. They could not have looked more professional yet at ease if the director had told them to. When LACO began to play the whole Bachelor crew stopped working. How could they not? It was beautiful. Some people even started dancing, faking a waltz and stepping on toes (clearly they didn’t watch Dancing with the Stars enough). The atmosphere in the whole hotel changed from frantic work to calm and serene enjoyment. That was what the LACO musicians could do.

In 30 minutes, they both rehearsed and recorded the sound for the episode. The director was shocked that they were now ahead of schedule. As I later learned, this rarely happens! The musicians quickly and quietly left the ball room to get a quick dinner before the taping started.

When the taping finally started (at this point it was around 9:45) it was my first time seeing the Bachelor and his lovely date. She looked incredible. Her gown was a beautiful shade of blue and fit her like a glove. Her hair was perfectly done and her makeup artist was close at hand to retouch any lipstick or eyeliner issues that arose. As the couple walked up the stairs to the dance stage, I caught a glimpse of her shoes. Holy mackerel. They were at least 5 inches tall! And stilettos! If you’ve ever worn heels-any heels, then you can really appreciate the skill it took for her to gracefully make her way around.

The next hour and a half was spent taping the dance. It was interesting to see how each time they did the scene, the couple seemed to become more comfortable with each other and began to have more fun. By the last taping, they were laughing and goofing off as if they were childhood sweethearts. It was surprisingly touching to watch. When the final dance had finished and the taping was over, all of the crew cheered, clapped and finally began talking again. The scene was over. It was now back to real reality. The one without the orchestra, the gowns, and the ballroom. I noticed though, as everybody began cleaning and packing up, the songs LACO played were being hummed and whistled by many. The music continued to play.

Getting to observe the taping of The Bachelor has definitely been added to my list of “Awesome things I’ve done in LA”. I’m so lucky that LACO gave me the opportunity of a lifetime!

 

highlights:
S E S S I O N spiva

Produced in collaboration with Four Larks, SESSION featured the world premiere of The Body Overcome by Derrick Spiva Jr, hindustani vocalist Saili Oak, a US premiere by composer Juan Pablo Contreras and works by Conor Brown, Salina Fisher and Reena Esmail.

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Have you ever listened to a favorite symphony and wondered what shaped the composer’s ideas? How the orchestra players reacted upon first reading the new score? How the composer felt as musicians finally gave sonic life to notes on paper?

You can get answers when you commission a new work of music through Sound Investment.

LA Orchestra Fellowship

The LA Orchestra Fellowship is a two-year orchestra intensive for musicians on violin, viola, and cello.

Fellows are mentored in chamber and orchestral performance and gain invaluable experience while training and playing alongside Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra musicians, faculty at USC Thornton and mentor members of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.