Saturday, March 17, 2012

Preparations—La Rêveuse

Marc-Antoine Charpentier
For many, our concert events are simply that: an evening out, oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes. Volunteer work for that “event” actually started more than a year in advance. Once we have “locked-in” the date, venue, and performers’ commitments, there is generally little to do until a couple of weeks before the concert. Then, things get busy.

We try to iron out the details a couple of board meetings before the concert. Where are they going to stay? Do we have the program? How are we going to transport them around? Will their baggage and instruments all fit into the available vehicles? Are they going to practice before the concert, and if so, when and where and how are we going to get them there? When (and what) are they going to eat? Who’s going to drop them off at the airport?

It may come as a surprise, but we generally don’t have budget to place our visiting musicians in hotels, or to hire vans to move them around. We count on members and supporters to provide the hospitality and help transport them. Although this creates logistical challenges for everyone, some of us find this the most enjoyable aspect of the event. Our visiting musicians are generally used to this arrangement and many have said they would rather stay in a home than in a cold, sterile hotel. Often they are from Europe and to them San Diego is a very exotic locale. On the part of the hosts, it is an opportunity to get to know some of the finest musicians in the world, to get an inside view of their world, and to become part of the production.

The musicians of La Rêveuse will be arriving a couple of days early for next Friday’s concert, "Courtly Songs of Lambert and Charpentier": they will be flying in Wednesday evening, then leaving the day after the concert. I’ll be transporting three, and I’m taking it on faith that their instruments (in this case, I believe a viola da gamba and lute) will fit in my Honda CrV along with their baggage. They usually do. I have learned that it is an exercise in futility to think I can anticipate every challenge; I always think of the dialog in Shakespeare in Love:
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
Things generally work out with the last minute arrangements. How, it’s a mystery.
It’s not too late to get tickets! How many opportunities will you have to hear intimate music of 17th Century France, performed by a leading French group? Order tickets online here. And, if you are interested in helping with future events, grab me or one of the board members at next Friday’s concert. I’ll be at the ticket table.

No comments: