The Rite Reward


Big journeys take preparation, patience, and perseverance, and finishing my first year with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera was no different. Our last concert of the season was a challenging program: Shostakovich Cello Concerto #1 and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

CSO Rite Of Spring

The Rite of Spring is not the easiest of pieces to pull off, but Chattanooga Symphony nailed it beautifully. The amount of personal preparation can take months of studying scores, listening to recordings, watching YouTube videos, and of course individual practice. At the first rehearsal everyone summoned their personal ground work and adjusted their focus on a communal performance.

For Rite of Spring, an unspoken oath takes place on stage as each musician instantly has to trust and rely on fellow colleagues to play their parts at an equally focused level. One personal slip of the mind can instantly derail the entire ensemble to devastating results. A very big reward for this concert was the exhilarating last notes followed by the enthusiastic and instant standing ovation.

Post Concert Rewards

But the other rewards were our personal finish line rewards. Earlier in the season, 2nd bassoon player Rachel Young had mentioned to me that the best cocktails in town were made at the Easy Bistro. After inviting colleagues and audience on Facebook and Twitter to join me after the concert, I called the restaurant to make sure the numbers would be all right as the turnout was mounting to nearly 50+ people!

Easy Bistro

About 70 musicians, audience, and staff showed up for this post-concert reward. Our joint experience of the concert was shared and compared, and Easy Bistro made our celebration enjoyable and memorable!

Physical Rewards

For Principal Bassoon player, Eric Anderson, a hiking trip during peak wild flower season was his reward to look forward to after Rite of Spring. I tagged along on this hike and got a fantastic 8 mile workout on the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains. As Eric guided us through the elevation gain, he stopped on the trail every so often to point out various wild flowers.


Eric points out wild flowers to our hiking group.”
Looking at some wild flowers during the eight mile hike.

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Eric and Jenwei sit at the high point for lunch.
Eric and Jenwei sit at the high point for lunch.

[/twocol_one_last] Getting to know how various musicians work out to keep physically fit was not only fascinating but also inspiring. In the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, most musicians, board members, and staff lead very active lives. There are bicyclists, tri-athletes, hikers, runners, competitive swimmers, yoga instructors, and kick boxers among others!

Because I wanted to jump into this, I followed Kayoko Dan to the fitness studio where she works out and teaches yoga. It was inspiring to see board members and orchestra member alike working out in the various classes offered at Thrive Fitness Studio. After signing up for a few classes I was hooked and needed more. The special offer for sessions with a personal trainer caught my eye. Signing up for seven sessions has been one of the best decisions in my life, and working with trainer Kyle House has been inspiring. The one-on-one focus and the careful catering to my specific fitness goals/needs was above and beyond outstanding.

Trainer Kyle House takes my workout outdoors. He likes to mix training for clients by incorporating yoga, weights, and cardio in creative and fun ways.
Trainer Kyle House takes my workout outdoors. He likes to mix training for clients by incorporating yoga, weights, and cardio in creative and fun ways.

Thrive is a unique and special place to work out. There is a feeling of a serene purpose as one walks through the doors and enters the studio. Personal touches are everywhere from owners knowing everyone’s names to fresh towels and hair products in the bathrooms for post workout showers. Health and wellbeing is top priority.

The journey during this season with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera has been rewarding on many levels. But sharing this journey with my new friends, colleagues, audience, and the entire city of Chattanooga has been an indescribable reward. I’m already looking forward to next season!

About Holly Mulcahy

After hearing Scheherazade at an early age, Holly Mulcahy fell in love with the violin and knew it would be her future. She currently serves as concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. She spends her summers at the celebrated Grand Teton Music Festival. Believing in music as a healing and coping source, Holly founded Arts Capacity, a charitable 501(c)3 which focuses on bringing live chamber music, art, artists, and composers to prisons. Arts Capacity addresses many emotional and character-building issues people face as they prepare for release into society. Holly performs on a 1917 Giovanni Cavani violin, previously owned by the late renowned soloist Eugene Fodor, and a bespoke bow made by award winning master bow maker, Douglas Raguse.

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2 thoughts on “The Rite Reward”

  1. Can’t tell you how much Chattanooga has been blessed by your being here this last year – see you at Thrive soon!


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