From the Orchestra Library

E-Mails and Orders and Bowings, Oh My!

Posted in Uncategorized by kschnack on August 4, 2009

I went back to work in the library yesterday for the first time since we left on tour.

I think I’ll need another vacation to recover.

After 8 hours I had to go home and sip a little “weak tea” (as my predecessor’s wife used to say) and take to my bed early.  It completely wiped me out!  😉

This is no complaint either about my time away, which was a really good break, or about the amazing amount of things my colleagues accomplished while I was gone.  In fact, it was very impressive that they unpacked the tour trunks, unstuffed all those folders (75 pieces!!), got everything in order, cuts and inserts removed, scores/parts/programs either put away or shipped back to the publisher, set up new files for the 2009-10 season, loaded up the first classics folder with as much as they could, started initial preparation for the first two pops programs, ordered a bunch of music for said programs as soon as those were determined, left coherent notes, e-mails and messages about ongoing issues, and even kept the work counters organized.  All this after having spent the last three months or more already marking parts for the new season.  Way to go, folks!  (Just FYI, I am going to feature our merry little Band of Bibliothécaires in a posting so you can be properly introduced – and so I can properly thank them – as soon as they all send me their pictures!)

Nor is it a complaint about my patient co-workers throughout the organization, including numerous courteous orchestra members, who needed things and were waiting for the library to open back up.  They mostly left me alone yesterday and saved their requests for today.  I am really grateful for that.  The first day can be overwhelming, what with 500 e-mails (nope, not exaggerating), full voice mailbox, lots of invoices stacked up, and music, music, everywhere.  One has to start at the bottom and work up, to discover all the latest program additions, revisions, and where things are in the preparatory stage.

No, it’s not anything to do with anyone else – it’s just going in and feeling the responsibility of all those constant details and deadlines settle back down upon your shoulders at the start of the new season like a mantle (it doesn’t really ever go away completely, but one can pretend pretty well by physically leaving the library, cutting off access to e-mail correspondence for a while, and swimming in that river, DeNile).  I would describe it as a feeling of carrying something across the shoulders like a yoke with weights hanging from each side and 10 spinning plates atop it – and knowing you must balance and heave it all uphill for a year.  It gets a little lighter, then a little heavier, back and forth throughout the season, is challenging and rewarding at the same time, satisfying and even fun when things are well-balanced and working smoothly, the scenery is often breathtakingly beautiful,  sometimes you even get to walk downhill for a bit or sit and take a rest,  and many of the people you meet along the way are absolutely fascinating.  Most importantly, in my case, I don’t have to carry the load and move all the pieces alone.  I have fantastic work partners — we laugh and we push and pull each other along.

So as I get my chops back up to speed, I’ll work just as hard as the rest of the team did while they enjoy their well-deserved time away.  And maybe practice carrying things in new (and old), ever more more efficient ways.


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