I love playing in large ensembles.
Sometimes, I really miss the violin. I miss the camaraderie that comes with a big section; the sound of my violin against my ear with the rest of the section filling in the volume. A similar feeling as when you're singing with the radio in the car and you have your favorite singer backing you up. Nothing beats it.
Not every harpist likes the orchestra. It's not like the violin- where you have a part in every piece, and play almost constantly. There just aren't as many parts written for harp, because the modern harp wasn't invented until recently (comparatively). So you lug your heavy furniture to rehearsal and wait around for the piece you play on. Then when your piece does come up, many harp parts are at least 60% counting rests, sometimes more. TACET is a word in your everyday vocabulary. It is not always easy to love.
But I love it. When I played violin, I was a piece that made up a larger whole of the violin section; which is a perspective I truly value, but the harp is a completely different orchestral experience.
Counting rests by just watching the bouncing baton in front of you and expecting to make your entrance is almost impossible. It forces you to be aware of what everyone else is doing. Being on stage surrounded by other instruments allows you to become intimate with more than just your part, but with everyone's part. You're allowed to hear every aspect, every color, every texture of the music surrounding you.
That's why I love it - I find that the tacets teach me to be more aware of the music as an entirety. I'm completely immersed in another world around me, and I happen to have a part in describing what it looks like.