Thanks to the pianist Christopher O’Riley, here is brand new information that makes it easier for instrumentalists to navigate airport security:
On Tuesday evening, I subbed as rehearsal accompanist for a children’s choir rehearsal. Two choirs were involved, each with their own conductor, plus an excellent oboe soloist.
There is a choral festival at this venus on Sunday.
The rehearsal was at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in West Hartford, CT. The bulding is quite large and beautiful, with impressive grounds.
These are cell phone pictures taken in the rain. Not great, but perhaps you can get an idea of the grandeur of the place. I’ll try using a higher resolution next time I take pics.
The rehearsal began in the social hall downstairs. Each choir assembled on one side of the room, near a Korg synthesizer. I was happy to find that the pedal was attached to a horizontal rod which ran the width of the keyboard! So the pedal stayed put. Very often, the pedal is attached only by a cable that plugs into a jack on the keyboard. Even when there is a rubberized base on the pedal, it slips away with use. So the keyboard player has to retrieve it w/his or her feet during breaks in the music. Sometimes it works fairly well to (a) tape the pedal to the floor; or (b) wedge the pedal against the base of the music stand. (Sometimes the keyboard has a music rack arrangement included. At other times, an orchestra music stand can be used… the big black kind.)
The choruses I was involved with sang: Lullaby, Traditional Welsh Folk Melody arr. Nigel E. Jones Fairest Lady from “The Nursery Rhyme Cantata”, Nick Page Mary Had a Little Blues, Charles A. Collins Esurientes, Antonio Vivaldi Song for the Mira, Allister MacGillivray, arr. Stuart Calvert Ton Thé, Jeanne and Robert Gilmore, arr. Susan Brumfield
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My answer has always been “Yes!” No question.
Shortly after moving to New York, I attended a weekend seminar sponsored by the Concert Artists Guild. Different speakers took about an hour each. The seminar provided information for musicians wanting to get there careers to the next level.
One participant, a cellist, had recently finished a degree at Juilliard. She was wondering what to do next. Shortly after the seminar, she became the cellist in a well-known string quartet.
My career progressed significantly as well.
The conductor of the New Haven Symphony was one of the speakers. He opened his presentation with the question, “Are you sure you want to do this?” He spoke about performing outside the city. When the concert is over, you have to enjoy going to the bus station and plugging quarters into the vending machine. That’s dinner!
He was right then, and still is. Inconvenience is built into the reality of being an artist. Unless your life centers around your residence, and there are very few distractions, you just have to deal.
Possibly due to my Dutch heritage, I’ve become pretty good at finding ways to enjoy the ride. The Dutch have to cooperate with their neighbors for their own survival, since Holland is, after all, below sea level. They are also happy about small things, not relying on major events to find something to be happy about. So, when plugging those quarters into that vending machine, it’s fun to make the best choices from the selection available. When faced with no time to have a sit-down dinner, calling ahead to a restaurant works. Good food on the bus trumps bad food or late-night dinner. Ordering delivery on a day off is more fun, even when eating out of “to go” containers, when you can use something other than gourmet plastic utensils.
When you live in New York, you learn very quickly that transportation delays happen all the time. So you have a choice: you can feel upset whenever that happens, or you can deal with it and have something along to do.
I love going “somewhere else,” which I rarely had the opportunity to do as a child. Music has been my ticket to make that happen. If being inconvenienced is part of the deal, I’ll take it.
What’s the alternative?
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
What is your answer?
Comments? Please use this Contact Form, or email me at gretchensaathoff1 [at] gmail.com
On a recent Tuesday, The Hartt School had a makeup lesson day for voice students. The goal was to help everyone get what they needed after encountering two snow days earlier in the semester.
My colleagues and I were asked to be available during our regular Tuesday schedules. The voice teachers had different students at “our” times, but it all worked out. We juggled.
As it turned out, the other pianists and I saw each other in our “office” more than usual. We have no office, so we talk, look at music, make phone calls, have lunch, etc., in the hallway.
Sometime during the afternoon, Matthew, one of my colleagues, took a seat on a bench near me. He asked, “What are you doing on May 27th?” His question surprised me, because I live in MA, not CT.
I said, “Nothing,” without looking at my schedule. School would be over for the summer, so I was pretty sure. Then I inquired into why he was asking.
“I need a sub for a children’s choir dress rehearsal.” “I live in MA, you know.” He gets it. His sister just graduated from UMass. He has been here many times, and knows it involves time to commute.
“How much is your transportation?” So I told him.
“I’ll send you the music ahead of time, and pay your transportation plus the rehearsal fee.”
Of course I said “Yes!”
And that, my friends, is the way to hire a sub!
Thanks so much, Matt! I’m happy to help, and look forward to meeting a new conductor!
- New job! (gretchenspianos.com)