Performing with the Utah Symphony
by Leslie W. McClure
Leslie W. McClure has participated in two Utah Symphony Pro-Ams, where adult amateur musicians get to rehearse and perform side-by-side with the Utah Symphony.
The violin has always been at the forefront of my earthly loves. I began my violin studies at the age of eight using my grandfather’s violin; he played this violin in his own Salt Lake City dance orchestra in the early 20th century. As a small child, I was shown this instrument many times, and I knew that I had to play the violin. My parents always provided private lessons for me. Throughout my school years, I played in all school and city orchestras wherever we lived in the United States and was routinely the concertmaster in those groups.
For years, I have had a deep respect for the Utah Symphony. Upon my father’s retirement from the United States Air Force, we moved to Salt Lake where I attended the University of Utah, playing in the school’s symphony and taking private lessons from Dr. David Shand, who at that time was also the concertmaster of the Utah Symphony. My teachers include Utah Symphony’s former principal second violinist John Chatelain followed by concertmaster Oscar Chausseau.
Currently, I am completing my 26th year as the concertmaster of The Murray Symphony Orchestra. For the past 25 years, I have been asked to be the concertmaster of many Salt Lake valley orchestras playing for their musical productions including Murray, Bluffdale, Sandy, and Draper.
The epitome: Playing with the Utah Symphony in their first two Pro-Am concerts. In reading the scores of the symphonies we were to play in the Pro-Am, I was completely enthralled with joy at the forthcoming opportunity to participate with the Utah Symphony. That feeling became more and more wonderful up to and including the rehearsal and performance. Those feelings will be remembered and cherished through the remainder of my life.
What grand experiences! I felt completely comfortable with the music and with my stand partners; it was an honor to be on stage with members of the Utah Symphony. How I would love to be a permanent orchestra member of the Utah Symphony! For years, I have been extremely impressed with Ralph Matson’s virtuosity, but working with him proved that his personality and demeanor were on an equally-elevated plain. The music director and musicians with whom I played were absolutely inspiring, and that inspiration has made my musical abilities even better.
My study of the violin has not ceased; I study (constantly). The great teachers I have had (and from whom I continue to learn from texts) are so greatly appreciated. Even the finest musicians must always continue to learn. Utah Symphony’s Pro-Am is a fantastic educational and performance opportunity.
Interested in participating in the next Utah Symphony Pro-Am? Information and applications can be found online at usuoeducation.org.