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Fargo-Moorhead Symphony… My experience.

This year I was asked to photograph the Symphony Rocks @ Bluestem Center for the Arts. My first time seeing a symphony play live as well as seeing Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome. Bluestem Amphitheater is always a good place to take photos. I am lucky enough to get to go wherever I want so I climbed the ladder and got up high for this panoramic.

Symphony Rocks w/ Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome

At this concert I got to meet the Director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Linda Boyd. It ended up with me being asked to photograph the FM Symphony promotional material for this upcoming season! Like I had said Symphony Rocks was my first symphony I had seen live so it was exciting to see them up close.

Photographing the actual concerts can be somewhat distracting so it was decided I would photograph what was needed at the dress rehearsal. I wanted to see how these musicians acted before sitting down to play these masterpieces that only some of the best can play to that caliber. I could tell they knew the task at hand but I could also tell that they knew what they were doing. They were talking and laughing with each other and a few minutes before hand they would open their cases and take out their instruments. It was so cool to see the NDSU Festival Hall decorated with all of these cases.

Cello cases lined the aisles during rehearsal

What is even more amazing is that these instruments have stories of their own. Some are years and years old. Some of the insurance on these instruments is so expensive that it requires the owner to have their instrument on their body at ALL times.

I want to share some of the photos I took during dress rehearsal. Its rare to get to walk around while these talented musicians are performing. I tried to be quiet like a ninja but I am sure they were wondering what is this guy doing… at least grab an instrument or something. I went to the back and stood on the back row near the french horns. I did not want to be in anyone’s way of course and then I heard the french horn player say.. “grab a music stand and sit down, sorry just a little back row humor.” As a photographer in situations where we have to be silent and not seen its nice to have that humorous ice breaker.

So here are some more photos from the dress rehearsal.

Panoramic of the FM Symphony in Full Orchestra

Soundboard view

Music Director Christopher Zimmerman leads his symphony

Music Director Christopher Zimmerman

This was one of the biggest parts I wanted to see… the conductor, the leader, the Music Director, Maestro. I wanted to see really what his job was up there. I’ll explain this in my wrap up in a bit on what I saw during this experience.

Sheet music for their first piece

So I will wrap things up by describing my experience when I finally went and watched the Masterworks I show on Sunday. They have shows Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon (link below for future shows).

I will try to make this short but wow… I was blown away by this concert. Music is a huge part of my life, I have written about how it determines my editing style but my main “go-to” music is of the classical genre.

It starts out like you see on the movies… the symphony sits on stage and everyone is playing different things to warm up. Its almost chaos to be honest. Trills and crescendos and quarter notes and bears oh my… Then all of a sudden you hear a lone note that is played and immediately they all start tuning to that note and it all becomes one. One amazing Orchestra. Then the side doors open and he walks to his spot. The spot where he will lead this group of talented musicians through these works of musical art. Before they play. Zimmerman has a mic and explains what the upcoming pieces portray and what the audience may experience. He put the mic down and stepped onto his stage on the stage which is just a platform to raise him up so they can see him. He owned that platform, throughout the piece I watched him move all over that thing and wondered if he would fall off since he was so lost in the music but I noticed that his heels never got more than a half inch off the platform. He knew exactly where he was at all times and knew what he was doing. In control of everything. Now I knew what his role was in this whole thing… He was there to take all of these amazing and talented musicians who like in the beginning play amazingly on their own and to control everything on that stage and corral this talent and piece them together to make them One. Every single pair of eyes watches every movement he does on that stage. Its amazing to watch. I am a detail person by default and there are so many details to a symphony concert! I was overloaded that is for sure.

Hey look everyone… I am getting wordy again.

Russell Peterson wrote a piece welcoming the new Maestro to the FM Symphony. Let me say it was AMAZING. Goosebump moments all over in that piece. You know those moments where music just takes your body to a whole new level and you get goosebumps all over. I am glad to have been there to witness this piece be played. Another great moment was the violin soloist Morganne McIntyre. Her solo was amazing to watch and hear. To see someone stand in front of all of her peers and that audience and play a violin was jaw dropping for me. I loved the fact that it was so quiet in there and all you could hear were the notes she played but if you listened you could hear the bow being pulled or pushed across the strings. It was perfect.

It was perfect! That is how I could explain my experience. I loved it and I can not wait to see the next concert!



– Fargo-Moorhead Symphony website with dates for upcoming shows

– FM Symphony Facebook Page, Please go like!