From the Orchestra Library

The Traveling Band

Posted in Uncategorized by kschnack on July 15, 2009

I didn’t have a chance to take photos when the crew was loading up the instruments, music and equipment trunks after our final concert in Vail, because I was in the thick of the activity myself picking up the last batch of folders.  The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival has the Fastest Stage Crew in the West — they sort of descend on the stage and “git ‘er done” in minutes.  There is no time to dither, and a librarian has to really hustle with the music so the guys can clear the stage.  (Plus there was champagne waiting!)

And since it was the end of our residency, the truck was loaded immediately by our own amazing DSO crew as the stage was struck, who, by this time in the season, have put up with more back-breaking work than most of us can even imagine.  Just think of all the stage moves during concerts for starters (the most noticed by the rest of us), the set-up and tear-downs, load-in and load-outs, plus erecting outdoor shells, trusses, lighting, screens for visuals, and all that goes with concert production night and day through a whole season.  Not to mention all the personal favors performed for players and librarians with switching out specific chairs, quickly adding auxillary instrument stands and chairs sometimes without much warning, and last-minute requests from personnel managers and conductors.  They work SO hard.

Anyway, I know you’ve all seen your own crews load up for tours and run-outs (and there are some great photos on Yvonne Caruthers’ excellent post cards from the NSO’s tour to China of their trunks and equipment), but whenever we do this I am always astonished at the amount of work and equipment it takes to send a 100+ piece orchestra and support staff anywhere.  So I’ve been wanting to pay a little tribute to our guys, Stage Manager Carl Wong, Stage Technician Marc Dunkelberg, and Stagehand Brad Breitbarth.  Here are some pictures of our load-out the day before we left Dallas at the end of June.  It was during our last concert in the Meyerson for the season that I got a moment to snap the shots, and by now the guys have done all of this in reverse upon their return — all while it is 105 degrees in the shade!

My hat is off to these good guys.  A big thanks to them for taking such good care of the librarians all year, every year.

DSO Getting Ready to Travel

DSO Getting Ready to Travel

Tour Trunks Awaiting Instruments

Tour Trunks Awaiting Instruments

Timpani and Wardrobe Trunks

Timpani and Wardrobe Trunks

Violin and Viola Trunks

Violin and Viola Trunks

Bass Trunks Cello Trunks

Tour Trunks Ready to Load

Tour Trunks Ready to Load

DSO Principal Harpist Susan Dederich-Pejovich

DSO Principal Harpist Susan Dederich-Pejovich

Music Trunks

Music Trunks

And, last but not least, the travelling orchestra library.


3 Responses to 'The Traveling Band'

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  1. Alison Mrowka said,


    The National Repertory Orchestra (for which I am working as Assistant Librarian this year) gave a kids concert at the Ford Amphitheater this morning. I really enjoyed working the runout after reading about your past week there. Philadelphia’s trunks, now consuming every inch of space in the facility, are testament to the amount of preparation and physical labor that go into touring.

    How many librarians typically travel with each orchestra for residencies in Vail?

    Alison Mrowka
    Librarian in Training

  2. kschnack said,

    Hi Alison! Don’t you just love Breckenridge?

    Funny you should ask this question — I am working on an entry about just that subject…..As you can tell from my posts, we only have one librarian out here. So Mark and I try to take turns in a loose kind of way depending on the circumstances. But, it’s a huge amount of work for one person, the biggest problem being that you can only be in one place at one time, and so can’t get all the duties covered as quickly as the orchestra wants and needs. Not to mention the altitude, which I just mentioned.

    It’s my understanding that both Larry and Sandy go with NYP, and I did go to Philly’s first concert and talk to both Bob and Steve who were there. Apparently Steve will go home half-way through their residency, but they did have two for the first part because of the demands both musical and physical.

    I don’t know about past years with the other orchestras, like when Detroit went. But since Rochester and Colorado both only had one librarian each, well……there you have it.

    We’ll talk more about this and other tours too. Thanks for writing, and have a great rest of your summer with NRO!


  3. Even now I am still amazed by how much crews have to work to move equipment from one place to another. Generally these people aren’t given enough credit for how hard they work. I really appreciate you acknowledging the hard work of your crew. Great read!

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