Audits and Beethoven

(Too bad that's not "Auditions and Beethoven".  I feel that would be a much more exciting blog post!)

This morning we had our Corporate audit/inspection at the theatre.  Work has been a bit more frantic than usual the last few weeks, as we've been deep-cleaning everything, making sure it looks its best for the inspectors.  It really is a clean and well-run place to begin with, so this wasn't as bad as it might be, but even with regular scrubs, anything within a ten-foot radius of a popcorn machine gets a fine coating of grease which is a pain to shine up.

(Rick, a co-worker, as I was giving the popper its evening scrub for (my) first time:  "You have to treat the popper as your mortal foe.  It thinks about nothing but popcorn and agony."  And I would add: and grease.  Lots of grease.)

Last night I had to clean all the glass and windows in the lobby of the theatre.  If you haven't been there, I'll tell you this -- there's LOTS of it.  The whole front of the theatre is lined with floor to ceiling-height windows, not to mention the glass doors, and the windows in the party room and the game room.  All I had was Windex and a roll of paper towels.  Oh, and a ladder, because some of those windows are pretty high.

It took me three hours.  I was exhausted, and when I woke up in the middle of the night I couldn't move my right arm, but those windows shone.  I was proud of them...

And then in the morning, as I was putting finishing polishes on the cash drawers, I looked up and saw the team of professional window cleaners, armed with buckets and cloths on long sticks, and a really big squeegee -- going over all the windows I'd just cleaned.

I was struck temporarily speechless.  Then I was -- upset.  I'd spent three grueling hours the night before shining up all those windows for the inspectors -- when presumably the manager who'd told me to do it had known that the window cleaners were coming the next morning.  (They usually do come on Wednesday mornings.)  I can't help feeling that there are more useful things I could have been doing than dragging a ladder around outside at 10 pm trying to clean acres of glass with a paper towel.

HOWEVER, we passed the inspection and nobody bit anybody's head off, despite most of us having arrived at work by 7 am or even earlier.  So that's good.


So then tonight was orchestra rehearsal for this Saturday's concert.   I don't believe I've mentioned this, but I'm singing with the Nashville Symphony Chorus now.  Coming up is Beethoven's 9th symphony.  I really joined for Mahler's 8th in September, and hadn't planned to sing the Beethoven, but they had an urgent need for more sopranos, and I've sung it before, so I volunteered.  We rehearse mostly at a church but tonight was at the Schermerhorn hall with the full orchestra.  I'd forgotten how much more fun it is to sing big choral works with an orchestra!

Also, Maestro is incredibly fun to watch.  He's so very energetic, swinging his arms violently, making faces at the different sections, his long curly hair bouncing with each sweeping gesture.  At one point, to illustrate a diminuendo, he sank slowly and more slowly towards the ground until he ended up crouching on the podium.  He calls everyone "my dear" -- my dear woodwinds, my dear chorus, my dear violins.  You must imagine all this with a Spanish accent.

At one point he was trying to call out a specific point in the music for the choir.  "Look at measure five hundred and -- my goodness, there's a lot of measures in this piece!"  And again, after we had blazed through the prestissimo finale of the movement: "My friends, that is a section where your hair should be on fire!"

I am looking forward to the performance on Saturday (even if Beethoven was completely incapable of writing comfortably for the soprano voice.)  Unfortunately for you, the concert is completely sold out, but that should mean a good audience for us.  I'll report back!

For now, I'm going to bed.  I have to be at work again at 8:30 in the morning!


  1. Wow! Sounds like fun! I heard the 9th performed last season by our symphony. Yea for Beethoven! I've been enjoying your blog since I found it a couple weeks ago. Thanks and keep it up!

  2. I think it's going to be really exciting! I've actually sung the 9th before, in my last year at Union, but the orchestra wasn't quite on the same level ;-) Thanks for commenting, and I'm so glad you enjoy my blog :-)

  3. Yeah, the Nashville Symphony is good! I heard them while I was at a piano camp last summer at Belmont. Dr. Marler, the pianist I took from, plays with the Nashville Symphony so we went and heard the concert. They played Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture and I actually had played it earlier that year with my youth orchestra. Ok, WAY too much info there. Music excites me… :) Anyway, have fun!

  4. I love your description of your conductor! It made me smile:-)


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