Monday, May 11, 2009

Wrap It Up

So that was FLECTION.  For everyone who went, you know what it was.  For everyone else, hopefully you got a chance to see the live video streaming last Wednesday night.  If not, we'll be streaming it again at some point soon.  Stay posted.  For this post, I wanted to give you a blow-by-blow of what actually happened from Monday morning, May 4 through Wednesday evening, May 6.

May 4:

• 11:30 a.m. - our first rehearsal.  SymphoNYC and I went to Studios 353 in midtown Manhattan to rehearse the Barber Adagio for an hour and a half, after which we had a lunch break
• 2:30 p.m. - our second rehearsal.  SymphoNYC rehearsed at Le Poisson Rouge until 5:30.  During this time period, Paul Fowler worked with the sound/tech guys at LPR to make sure his laptop rig would be able to function as we had envisioned.  Also during these 3 hours, Suzette (my wife) worked with the LPR lighting guru, Jonathan Talley, to implement the lighting design for FLECTION

May 5:

• morning - crazy ticket sales, both for Tuesday and Wednesday.  The staff worked hard to accommodate all requests, making sure we cut off sales when the concert sold out (it did both nights!).
• 2 p.m. - dress rehearsal.  SymphoNYC and I rehearsed with lighting and sound for the next 3.5 hours.  This concert is an exercise in concentration for the players, so much of our time was spent making sure the roadmap was clear in everyone's mind.  The orchestra was absolutely terrific, and I was actually able to let them go a little early, which made everyone happy.  No one really thinks about this, but the players have to go get dinner, get changed, and warm up prior to playing the concert, and it's nice to be able to give them more rather than less time to do that.
• 5 p.m. - setup.  Suzette and Amy Maguire (Sympho's crack Production Manager) directed the LPR crew in setting up tables for the patrons and generally getting the place ready to receive the onslaught of ticketholders for the evening.  Paul Fowler and I worked last-minute to fine-tune his laptop rig, as the Fates had seen fit to cause his MIDI interface to go up in smoke during our dress rehearsal.  Paul was ultra-prepared, of course, and had a backup interface ready to go within minutes - all we had to do was dial in some balances (i.e., how loud his music would be compared to the live sounds the orchestra was playing).
• 6:45 p.m. - doors open.  Our guests started to arrive and eat their dinner.  The orchestra and the crew were busy up to the start of the concert with last-minute preparations, while Suzette, Amy, and our wonderful volunteers made sure our guests got to their tables with no problems.
• 7:30 p.m. - the concert started.  Amazing.  After a year of preparation, there is no better feeling than seeing it all fall into place.
• 10 p.m. - the concert ended.  The after-party commenced.  People bought our TRACES CD, which we pre-released for these concerts.

May 6:

• 1 p.m. - recording.  SymphoNYC and I met at Church of the Holy Trinity on the upper east side to record FLECTION for posterity.  We stayed there for 3 hours, breaking at 4 p.m. to get ready for the night ahead.
• 5:30 p.m. - soundcheck/tech.  Paul Fowler and I met at LPR to go over our respective checklists.  I met with lighting to go over some issues from the previous night and make some changes.  We ended up adapting the concert a bit for the second night, given what we'd learned from the first night, and that meant the lighting design needed to be tweaked a bit.  Paul F set up his laptop rig, and then he and I went over balances again between his sampled sounds and the orchestra's contributions.  He continued to work at a feverish pitch until the concert started, but I was able to pull away and visit with the guests as they arrived.  LPR actually moved our dressing rooms that night, so there was quite a bit of mayhem - but we were pretty sure nobody in the audience noticed anything amiss...
• 6:45 p.m. - doors open.  Again, the ticketholders streamed in as the doors opened.  Everything ran even more smoothly this evening, especially as everyone knew much more what to expect.
• 7:30 p.m. - the concert started.  If anything, this concert was even more fun than the previous one, with a real sense of play that comes from knowing the music and the concept incredibly well.
• 7:30 p.m. - live streaming of the concert began on Sympho's website.  This was a first for us, and - despite our having decided to do it relatively recently - it came off without a hitch, and we had viewers both in the U.S. and abroad.  The very positive reactions gave us the idea to stream the concert again in the near future, just so more people can see this extraordinary concert.
• 9:30 p.m. - the concert was over.  After some post-concert greetings and settling up with LPR, we went out to a celebratory dinner (late!) and then off to bed.

May 7:

• 9 a.m. - cogitation.  The ideas started flowing for the next Sympho concert...  More on that later.