This year's symphony season has come to an end. And what an end it was!
Mahler's Symphony No. 8. The "Symphony of a Thousand". The "Thousand" referring to the number of musicians intended to perform it. Though it's generally done with between 300-500. We split that down the middle with 400 -- 300 singers/100 instrumentalists. It's one of those pieces that's done so rarely that many performers consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And indeed, of the 300 singers, only 4 had ever performed it before.
It was a logistics nightmare, needing to house/feed over 200 singers and transport them here from Pocatello and Salt Lake City. And also be aware of cat allergies, dietary concerns, physical disabilities, etc... Fortunately, I didn't have to be involved in those areas. I'm not certain I would have survived it. My area of expertise was the physical production of it all. Where to put all those performers, setting up rehearsal areas as well as the performance hall, and making sure that everyone had everything they needed at the time they needed it.
The guests from out of town made numerous mentions about how smoothly things were running. They couldn't believe that all the glitches that could've/should've happened, didn't. Which reflected directly on me and my colleagues who organized everything. I, the devil's advocate, tried to anticipate everything that could go wrong and have a plan for dealing with it. In the end, we didn't need it. People realized that they were part of a huge undertaking and were duly patient, quiet and obedient. Even when they were being led like a bunch of 3rd graders from the warm-up area to their seats in the auditorium. You can either lead them like kids or let them fend for themselves to get there. Only one way will accomplish the task in an orderly, timely manner! But there were some things I missed. Like parking at the church where the chorus had separate rehearsals. Silly me--I figured the parking lots of the two adjacent churches would have worked just fine, but the locals feel that if you can't legally park right at the front door, they'll ignore any posted "No Parking" signs to do so. And we had some...how to put this..."larger" individuals who literally could not fit into the chairs in the auditorium. Could.not.sit.in.the.seats. Of course, there's no way I could have anticipated this without asking the visitors if any of their singers were greatly obese, which might have put them off.... But we actually worked a way around it, and all was just fine.
Oh, there was the playing I had to do, too! While this isn't the most difficult piece for the trombones, there's a lot of music, a lot of rests, and a lot of players. The only glitch for me was that the 4th bassoonist accidentally took my music home with her Friday night, and was on call (radiologist) for Saturday morning's rehearsal, so I had no music, and no idea where it went. Amazingly, there was a way to deal with that as well! The concert was totally sold out--I'm not sure there was an empty seat out of 1800. It was a great performance, and the accolades have been coming in since the last cut-off. I don't know if it was as life-changing as others found it, but it was really fun to play!! You can see a slideshow of pics here. Be sure to check out #76!
So now the season is over, and we don't start up again until September.
Except for the summer concert. Which will be taking up every bit of spare time I might have between now and the end of July. Wish me luck!