48 Hours On Tour
An orchestra tour is a study in contrasts. A lot of musical activity is compressed into a short time frame. Concerts we present on tour are often high-profile, intended to make a big impression. Therefore, we have to be ready to play our best. The repertoire features big works and often we accompany a renowned soloist. When there is downtime, often it's enough just to stay rested and practice, make reeds, etc.
On the other hand there is a lot of time spent waiting in airports, riding on buses or sitting in hotel lobbies waiting for rooms to be ready. Occasionally there are some stretches of free time as well.
In this sense, our March trip to Miami was typical. At the beginning of the week we were busy with rehearsals for Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The end of the week was less busy with just three evening performances. On the way home on Sunday, we stopped in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to play a concert there. More about this hectic day later!
There is usually not a complete day off on a short tour like this one, so free afternoons or mornings become cherished time off. It's fun to see what others plan for these short breaks in the action.
Some went to the World Baseball Classic in the Marlins' new stadium, others shopped and looked around in South Beach.
After our Friday night Beethoven, two friend and I got up EARLY on Saturday morning and drove up to Lake Worth to run in the Shamrock 10 miler
The weather was cool and the times were fast! I hit a PR in the 10 mile, finishing in 72:20.
After a rest in the afternoon we packed and played the concert on Saturday night. The next morning we flew to Chapel Hill for that concert.
The Chapel Hill concert is what we refer to as a pass-through concert. You start the day in another city, fly to the concert venue, get back on the plane after the concert and arrive home that night.
This was a tough day! The concert venue (Memorial Hall) had very little room for storage, so our wardrobe trunks were not available that day. That means we had to bag our concert attire separately on Saturday night after our concert in Miami.
We would also have no access to checked luggage so that meant that reed knives, etc. had to be packed in the instrument trunks (not in your instrument case if you were carrying your instrument on the plane!) if you wanted to adjust reeds that day at all.
The program was different from that in Miami. We played Copland's Billy the Kid Suite, Lieberson's Pablo Neruda Songs (actually we had played this in Miami) and Petroushka. We had played the outer two pieces with our conductor,Giancarlo Guerrero in Cleveland last November. Prior to this concert, though we rehearsed the Copland and Stravinsky for just parts of two rehearsals earlier in the week - essentially just run-throughs with no time to work on details.
This is what I call a "Warm and Serve" concert! We arrived at the Raleigh-Durham airport at a little after 4:00pm, were instructed to get something to eat there, got on the bus and at the hall just before 6:00pm for the 7:00pm concert.
At intermission I was able to spend 5 minutes with my mother-in-law and her husband who live in the area, before getting back to my seat for Petroushka. John Clouser had the concert off, so I was playing the entire concert.
After the concert we dressed and packed our trunks, bussed to the airport and flew home. We touched down in Cleveland at 11:59pm, missing overtime payment by 1 minute!!