26. July 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Ramble

… as you read this I am at our first rehearsal of Elixir of Love. (I post things later than I write them sometimes. Because I can.) This rehearsal will be followed shortly by the second. We have two 3 hour rehearsals today and tomorrow followed by one on Wednesday. We had two services yesterday. That’s a lot in four days’ time. I realize many readers work full time jobs so this won’t seem like a big deal to you, but it’s fairly tiring for me. It does require a lot of concentration, and it also isn’t like most jobs, where you can stand and stretch or get up whenever you please. We have set break times, and that’s that.

And then there’s the “real” amount of time this all takes, with the commute and all. Since today’s first rehearsal began at 10:30 I left home (to allow for traffic and mishaps) at 8:15 AM. Our second rehearsal ends at 6:00 PM. This means I won’t be home until after 7:00. Do I get dinner before going home or do I wait? Time will tell.

I know, I know, many do a lot longer commute. And most people in the real world work longer hours. I’m wimpy. But you know that already … right?

Thursday and Friday are off, but I have seven students on those two days. My next day off is this coming Sunday. Will I even know what to do with a day off?!

But I’m not complaining. Truly. I am so thankful for this work, and the music is so much fun! So are my colleagues … I love working with this gang! (And believe it or not, some of them have other gigs that they “blend” with this one, so they are working much more than I.)

Yesterday we performed at Yerba Buena Gardens. I had been warned to wear a hat and lots of sunscreen. I interpreted that to mean “it will be boiling hot.” Well … bad interpretation. I froze! The 10:00 rehearsal and sound check was overcast, windy and cold. My hands were numb, and I could barely trill with my left little finger. (Okay, okay, I can’t trill well with that finger in any case!) I didn’t have anything warm to wear. Silly me … I know about San Francisco summers! When will I learn to bring layers? Then the sun started to peek through a bit. Not enough to warm me, but enough to shine on my music and make it so bright I could barely see. My music reading glasses aren’t tinted, so there were times I was nearly blinded. And the wind? It of course wanted to blow things over. (They even tape our stands down because they might blow over!) During our lunch break a friend and I went to a local drugstore and purchase (at a “2 for $10 deal) two black sweatshirts. I looked awful, but I was warmer for the performance. Of course then the sun occasionally poked through completely and nearly roasted me! Figures, yes?

I haven’t played in a place where there was no covering for the musicians in years. In the groups I normally work with we have rules about having protection from the sun. I didn’t even know anyone still did this! Live and learn.

But of course I still had fun, and music was made.

And, most importantly, we were told we could wear hats. In this crowd of musicians, many of whom are San Francisco Giants fans, I was the sole wearer of a San Francisco Giants hat.

I must confess I was feeling a wee bit smug.


  1. SF Ballet has a gig in Stern Grove next month that will apparently have no sun cover for the musicians (strings were warned to bring their “picnic” instruments). So apparently our contractual protection in SJ is not replicated everywhere…

    This is a little disturbing to me, having recently had a skin cancer removed. You can bet I’ll be wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen! Too bad for anyone behind me, though.

  2. I have a very burned left ear. I put on sunscreen, but forgot my ear, and then had my hair tied back, with my baseball cap on. Oh well. :-(

    I’m really surprised that these top groups don’t have stricter policies about this stuff. Weird.

  3. patti with an i

    I’ve always assumed that this came about because almost none of the official membership of either the Opera or Ballet orchestras actually plays these gigs, so it’s hard to get geared up to fight for it when there are more pressing issues for the negotiating teams to deal with. Unfortunately, it winds up making it harder for the rest of us to insist that we have proper protection at other gigs (“What do you mean you won’t play in the sun? The Opera and ballet orchestras don’t have a problem with it, who do you think you are?”)

  4. Ah, I’ll bet you’re right, Patti; I’m sure they have a lot more they need to fight for, and a gig they choose not to take wouldn’t interest them. Sigh.