December SoundBox is over, except for the load out tomorrow morning. I plan on spending some time cleaning up my cue library and making some notes on good practices. I got caught with my pants down last night when I took a cue out of order and a few minutes later another one obliterated it. When Tim rolled the video cue, I got sound, but only out of two or three speakers in one corner of the room instead of all over. Oopsie!
Much of what I learned last year is still in my mental attic, so to speak. Seven months of essentially no time spent on CueStation has left me with cobwebs. I suppose I was over confident and didn’t check what I had carefully.
MTT noticed, and during the intermission the query came through channels to me: ‘What went wrong and is it fixed?’ ‘My bad, Maestro.’
It was an MTT program and, as such, it was tremendously interesting. What threw me, especially since I didn’t prepare properly, was the talking and video roll between every piece. Someone said to me early in the week that MTT was really doing a Lou Harrison seminar. All the music was Harrison’s. There was also an audio only roll (ten seconds of Schoenberg’s music) that I got at 5:30 Friday afternoon with sketchy instructions and no rehearsal. I played it live and at least it came out of the correct speakers . . .
The best part of the week was watching the percussionists playing literally everything including the kitchen sink. Well, there wasn’t a kitchen sink, but there were the ’50s era brake drums. Two of the pieces had no conductor and they had to find and agree on a (n unheard) pulse and maintain it while other instruments were playing something radically different.
I talked to them after the concert. They all were gathered at a table unwinding. They said it was very satisfying but mentally draining. I suppose that goes hand in hand. It was an interesting to contrast what they do with the drummers in the Skyline Band. I played a concert with them yesterday afternoon. Nathaniel and James are very good drummers but I happen to know that at least three of the Symphony percussionists are very good on kit and could probably have sat in and done the concert cold.
My favorite piece of the evening was the Suite for Violin and American Gamelan. Nadya played the violin and Jake, Raymond, Tom, Loren, Artie, and Stan filled out the gamelan. Stan had a thing that had an octave or so worth of metal bars about one foot by two mounted on huge tubes from two to six feet long. The sound just rolled out of them across the room with the violin swimming in it.
Sarah came last night which was nice but I was so twitchy about all my cues that she din’t stay up on the jump with me. She just went down on the floor and hung with her friends. I was able to chat and meet with them after the show which was nice.