Every time I sit on stage for a Symphony Silicon Valley concert I puzzle over our music folders. They are vanilla colored card stock … with bright red duct tape running down the center. Ugly. Embarrassing. Definitely not very professional looking. Why not black card stock at least … and red duct tape?!

The men wear tails (something I think is ridiculous, actually; I prefer all black) and the women are to wear nice black. We are supposed be be formal. And then we have these horrible looking folders!

I just checked online, and found a place that sells black folders for $9.75. I’ll bet there are places that sell them at a discount even better than that; I haven’t done a lot of checking around yet. Would it be nice if symphony set up a little “Fund our Folders” thing?

Well, I think so anyway!


  1. Whatever happened to the old San Jose Symphony folders? They were pretty nice, as I recall.

    Or would it be “bad mojo” to use them in this latest orch. incarnation?

    You could always tape or paint over the name!

  2. Well, they were getting rather messed up at the end of the symphony’s life. They were also pretty heavy duty, and many orchestra members hated them, and would refuse to carry music in them. (I was music librarian for a number of years.)

    I’m not sure where they are now, but if they are still with the SJS music library they are with the SSV librarian. I’m assuming she must think they aren’t in good enough shape to use. (Or she remembers how many musicians refused to use ’em!)

  3. PS Maybe I’m really silly to think this matters. I wonder.

  4. I don’t think it’s silly. I would want everyone to have black folders.

    Actually, question… when are they seen? Are they bigger than the music stands? Because if so, then yes I’d say it’s a big deal. But if the music stands cover them and they’re only seen when they’re brought on, it’s less of an issue for me. But they should still be black.

    I had someone in the symphony chorale who wanted us to all carry the same folder. Not just everyone with a black folder, but exactly the same. I thought that was a little much. Of course, this person also got upset when a woman in the chorale didn’t have pierced ears so she couldn’t wear the same earrings as everyone else. These things can be taken too far…

  5. Yes, they are slightly larger than our music stands, so I take mine (when I remember) and put it sideways so it doesn’t show.

    Ahhhh … choruses! I remember when my daughter was in high school choir and was told the exact shade of liptick she should wear. I just don’t get all that, but I think instrumentalists are often a lot less body-aware as far as how we look (sometimes that’s a very, very bad thing! I’ve seen women look like they are wearing clothing they could do yard work in, and some who look like they could be doing a different kind of work. On a street corner. If you get what I mean! 😉

    Anyway, I think we should start a crusade for black folders.

    If I had to wear earrings now, I’d only be able to put one on, as one of my piercings closed up. I wonder how your chorus member would feel about that? (I’m guessing she’d tell me to cover the other ear with my hair in such a way that no one would see, eh?

  6. There’s always one person in each chorus who thinks that everyone has to look exactly alike.

    My favorite example of this insanity came in another chorus when a woman (semi-affectionately referred to as the “wardrobe nazi”) got bent out of shape over the length of the strands of pearls that each woman wore. She insisted that everyone have the same length strand, but somehow they didn’t look even. She didn’t take into account that the women had different-shaped bodies, so the pearls would lie differently on each of them. It was pretty hilarious.

    Back to Symphony chorale – my only personal example is when the same woman who had earring issues got upset because I was wearing studs in my tux shirt (which seemed like a standard thing to me). She told me to take them out, and I told her that my tux shirt didn’t have buttons, so it was either studs or a shirt that was open to the waist – her decision.

    She made the right decision.

  7. Oooh … so she decided to have you go studless, right? To show everyone what a stud you are?

    Sorry. Had. To. Write. That.

  8. I always wished that I got a folder in orchestra- we rotated winds, so while all the strings got folders, only the principal winds did. I just had to find some other way of making sure my music didn’t get horribly wrinkled.

  9. Gee … did you have originals? I would think the music department would be concerned about taking care of that music! When I was in college I seem to recall we had those cheapo folders that music stores provided back then.