From the Orchestra Library

On the Road Again

Posted in Stage and Concert Duties by kschnack on July 1, 2011

It was the usual orchestra library whirlwind getting ready for our Vail residency before leaving Dallas. Nevermind that we know all season the DSO will be going each summer and we work hard for months to be ready in plenty of time.  Preparations still always go right up to the last minute when the orchestra plays its final pre-tour concert at home and we load the library trunks. It’s just inevitable. Also, the crush of requests from conductors and players the last few days before leaving town can be overwhelming. I am certainly grateful to my colleagues Mark, Melissa and Shannon who have pushed hard through these last weeks to make sure all is done. Even though only one of us goes on the road, each tour success is a credit back home to the whole team.

To be sure, works we have done earlier in the season are good to go in advance and that is some relief. Also, once programs are set, the worksheets, concert orders, and related informational communiques are put in motion.

Of course, programs are never entirely set I suppose; you know the phrase “subject to change.” And so it goes that we did have a couple of last-minute encore changes. There was also some scrambling on the pops programs with charts that had to arrive late due to other orchestras’ usage. And this is when the rubber meets the road.

I think our poor personnel manager had the most difficult task right at the end. Lots of personnel changes necessitated a constant revision of seating charts and stage diagrams for each concert, and even each work, not to mention some late hiring for a few positions. Plus, we are coming out of a year of visiting and newly-hired concertmasters, which means that until the new season begins players are rotating in and out for the various Vail performances. This photo gives you an idea of the detailed stage diagrams that must be created for each piece – so that the stage hands, librarians and players all know what’s going on. We follow these when setting up the stage before rehearsals and concerts, and throughout the performance during repertoire and stage changes.

Vail stage diagrams

Of course, we mustn’t get too comfortable with these diagrams either – although we know this venue well and are pretty clear on how everything should fit – there are about a gazillion variables that go into setting up an orchestra on any given night and it only takes one to change the whole picture!

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