From the Orchestra Library

Just when you thought the season was safely over……

Posted in Uncategorized by kschnack on May 26, 2009

…..It’s Memorial Day!  In our orchestra that means only one thing – the summer season has begun, starting with outdoor parks concerts.  There’s a feeling of accomplishment, and, yes, relief, when we reach the end of the regular season as we did only 48 hours ago.  Like many other orchestras, the Dallas Symphony ends with a bang (literally – this time 1812), using the combined forces of a large instrumentation, soloist and full chorus.  After nine months of intense performances, the 2008-09 season was memorable for many reasons, not the least of which because it was the first year with a new music director.  We successfully made it through all the weeks and months of challenges and it feels good to arrive at the end with most of our sanity intact.

But there won’t be time yet for a while to enjoy the sense of satisfaction that goes with getting all the right music in the right place at the right time for a whole season.  Because now we go into the real crunch for our orchestra, performing some 20 different programs with over 150 pieces in the space of six weeks.  The exponential escalation in the amount of repertoire we go through during the summer is largely because we shift to doing only one concert for most of the programs – “one-offs” –  as opposed to repeating programs two, three or four times.  For the library, the craziness began already several months ago as repertoire was being decided and we started ordering music, organizing sets of materials we have on hand, entering works information in our repertoire database, and attacking the seemingly endless stream of parts to check, repair, mark, put into folders and have ready for the orchestra early enough so they could practice.  No sooner is one program folder filled, then another goes into production. Complications have included three different conductors programming the same piece (for which we only have one set that has to be moved around with little time between concerts), preparing for a six-program residency out of state, the inevitable program changes after parts have been put out, and some pops programs that include 15-25 pieces, each with its own set of issues related to a soloist or chorus or cuts or new ending or………..fireworks.

The Memorial Day concert is one of the latter of course, but despite all of the work it takes to put it together, I think it’s one of our most important concerts.  These outdoor events around the city bring us close to audiences who might not otherwise hear the orchestra, and there seems to be a great need for the patriotic programs these days.  Tonight, after weeks of cloudy and rainy weather, the conditions have turned out to be mostly perfect (well, not including the bugs).  There are thousands of people here at a place called Flagpole Hill (the highest point in Dallas that has a huge American flag waving from the hill), singing along with the chorus as they pay tribute to the US service men and women around the world.  It’s a pretty good reason to have a concert.

15 pieces down, 135 to go!


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