May 9, 2013

comments from librarians which have recently made my day
"I am just now writing to tell you that we received from Schirmer the set of Galileo that you prepared last year, and it is so wonderful!  Oh my gosh!  I cannot begin to imagine how many weeks of work went into this project!  I appreciate SO MUCH all the work that you did!  So, thank you."
-- from an email from one of the librarians at cincinnati symphony orchestra

"Greetings from Mo Wedow. He just loves you!"
-- from an email from the librarian currently working with our conductor from Rinaldo

"Now I understand why Gary likes you so much."
-- from the same librarian, on the last evening of the conference

minor emergencies: Falstaff edition


orchestra reading 1: our second bassoonist calls in with an emergency and we don't receive the call until just after 9 AM for a 10 AM rehearsal. I have only ever hired one bassoonist other than the two in our orchestra, and that bassoonist lives three hours away. not helpful. the principal gives me two names to call, and then I realize that we also don't have the music. the second bassoonist lives an hour away. I write a frantic 911 post on the MOLA board but the unbelievable irony is that all the librarians who might normally be able to help me are across the river at the conference. in minutes I have an email from a librarian in NYC -- the one we rented the parts from originally -- saying he has masters of all the parts and he's going to scan the bassoon book and email it to me ASAP. I begin calling the subs, pacing back and forth in the lobby of the building, our conductor hovering nearby nervously. the second person I try is jovial and agrees to come in. it is 9:30.

the bassoonist and the music arrive almost simultaneously to their spot in the orchestra at 9:58. the conductor comes over and pats me on the back. "you have tremendous grace under pressure," he says. in truth, I feel a hair's breadth away from bursting into overwhelmed tears.


the baritone singing our Ford takes a wrong step off a set piece in the final room run of the opera, horribly spraining one ankle and tearing a muscle in the opposite leg. he spends the night in the emergency room. he is rendered totally immobile but still wants to sing. there is a great deal of work put into making this possible: ramps built for the stage, dressing room assignments altered, helpers recruited to wheel him back and forth, to help him move around. the whole opera is restaged during tech, which makes everyone twice as exhausted as usual.

but theater is made of people who get things done. we open tomorrow, and you can't tell that there hasn't been a wheelchair on stage all along.


during halftime at the final dress, the principal trumpet -- a very affable chinese man, skinny like a beanpole, who always gives me a hug when he comes in the building -- comes over to talk. his eyes are red and he looks exhausted. he tells me that his wife and young daughter, age 2, are in china visiting family and that his daughter is in the hospital with a high fever, that she has had a few seizures, that he is out of his mind with worry. he says that a pediatrician friend of his has assured him that the seizures are probably normal, and I reassure him of the same thing; my kid brother had them too, as a young child, and though febrile seizures are terrifying, they are usually not a big deal in the long run. but of course there is no reassuring a parent whose child is on the other side of the globe in a hospital, sick and scared.

when I come into work early this morning there is a message from him: his daughter has acute meningitis. he is flying to china, effective immediately. because he is infallibly decent, he calls me and apologizes, which I scold him for. he gives me the names of a few subs, saying in particular, "so and so is the best and could really use the money."

I leave messages for the people I most want to play and then I sit and wait and wait and pace and try to work on parts for next season and mindlessly scroll through the internet. my stomach churns. at a certain point I make more calls. I get in touch with one person, who is completely unavailable but passes off more names. I write a few emails. the concertmaster and I are in nearly constant touch as she tries to get his car home, to get his music from his office, to get all the relevant items to me.

most of the morning is spent either on the phone or waiting for the phone to ring. I call the conductor and both of the other trumpet players and the personnel manager and the concertmaster and my boss. I look musicians up online to figure out who the best options are. falstaff is hard. I call one guy on the recommendation of a person whom I've already called, and the guy sort of takes a gulping breath and says that though he'd like to see the music, he thinks he can do it.

then there is a mad scramble to get the music. the concertmaster can't get out to get the actual part until later in the afternoon, because, understandably, she has her own obligations. I offer to drive down to her (two hours south), pick up the music, drive it another hour south to the sub, and then return to portland. we debate whether this is necessary and she thinks not. I write to the librarian mafia but get no bites. finally, exhausted from pacing the office, exhausted from lack of food (I intended to be at the office until just before lunch and instead am there until 3), I go home, forwarding all my calls to my cell phone. on my way home, the same librarian who helped me with the bassoon part calls. he's on his way home and he'll send me the trumpet part. by 4:30 everything is situated. I nearly fall asleep fully clothed on my bed.

I am still worried sick about the trumpet player.

and now for something completely different:
unusual candy bars -- a review (part 1)

big hunk: like if you combined the worst parts of the charleston chew and the sugar daddy with stale peanuts and then made it twice as big as a normal candy bar.

u-no: first of all, is this pronounced 'uno', like 'number one,' or 'you know'? second of all, this is basically an extremely fancy truffle-style three musketeers. this is the only candy bar I had to eat in two installments.

take 5: I laughed this one off but actually that pretzel really is a game changer.


  1. My mother bought a case of Big Hunks at Costco when I was young and ended up pulling out three fillings. My father had to confiscate them because the dental bills were killing us. I love Take 5s! I love how great you are at your job!

  2. A CASE!! OMG. I bought up all the weird candy bars at the candy store recently, which is how I even ate one, and it was the only one that made me think, "oh god, what IS this?!?"

    That Galileo email was the best thing that happened to me all day. All that work really was for something!

    When are we all drinking in your backyard again?! :)

  3. Now I know the back story :-) sounds like a crazy week. They should give you a raise.

  4. a crazy production, frankly! I'll let them know about the raise :) I'm so glad you could come play with us!