Friday, May 14, 2010

Further concert drama

So this concert thing. I grant that I'm a foolish bitch for trying to put together a concert. Arrogant, self-centered jerk of a guy. No doubt. There's no question that my music is unworthy of public performance. That I can't write for horns (already knew that) and that nobody writes symphonies anymore. String instruments are declasse. Classical music is dead. Orchestras are a historical artifact. Audiences are uninterested in new music.

Yep. I know all of that. Every bit.

Not going to try to compete with Beethoven. He's better than me. I like the guy. Not even trying.

But see? My sister is dieing of cancer. It's real honest to god killer nasty brain cancer. Not the play kind. This is for keeps. And well, I'm a poor starving artist who thought that maybe teaching people that Beethoven really is a god might save the world somehow. Seriously. I believed that. So I went back to school. And started starving more. And along the way I learned to write music.

Badly.

But still . . .

So what do I have to give my sister?

Money? . . . Ah . . . nope.

Stuff? . . . Nope again.

A cure for cancer? . . . Lord but do I wish I had that one.

But I do have symphonies. And a ballet. So I'm giving her a ballet. It's neat. Its fun. And people (real ones, on this very site) like it. To that end I've found musician friends. Still not quite as many as I'm hoping for, but quite a lot more than I feared. Enough to put on a respectable show. More than you'll see in the pit at your average Broadway show, in fact. And of similar quality in many cases. Perfessionals. That know how to play their instruments. And I've begged a truck off a friend. And large unwieldy expensive instruments. And money. And photocopying. (Thousands of pages of that. No kidding.) Did I mention the money?

Way back in January when this was little more than a feasibility study of sorts I talked to some folks that have a hall. Rather a crucial part of this sort of a show. I said "Hey, I'm a disorganized newby. If there's a question I should ask and don't, please tell me. Here's the date I'm shooting for." And the facility director said, sure, you can use this hall. Got the date reserved. And I asked her if I could hold rehearsals in the hall or if I would need to go elsewhere. She said everything would probably be fine. Asked her how much it would cost. She gave me a price and said she needed to check it with the board. Told her how many musicians were coming. Mentioned large expensive instruments. She said no problem. You can put them here and pointed to a spot. I talked to her a couple of times later, going in to the hall, as e-mails kept falling into the void. (Or at least going unanswered.) She said the price was fine. In March I went in to try to pay it, she said come back later, no rush. Pay it after the show. Asked if the rehearsals would be okay. She said sure, no problem.

So I e-mailed musicians. Told them where we would meet and when. Begged and borrowed things. Generally arranged stuff.

Sent an e-mail regarding unloading and tuning of equipment and instruments.

Wednesday I got an e-mail saying she was resigning her position and needed me to confirm dates and times to pass along to the new person. And here's a contract for you to sign so it's all legit.

Okay. Sorry to see you go, but we all need a change sometimes. Sent an e-mail. Here's the rehearsals and the show. And of course I'll come a little early and leave a little late to set stuff up and tear it down for you to keep it out of your way. And by the way, did you get the e-mail about the loading tuning business? Will it work?

Called her yesterday morning just to check and to let her know I'd be by with the contract. She told me she hadn't gotten any of the e-mail ere my reply to her time enquiry, but said there was nothing at all going on that week so it should all be fine. Talked a bit about the health of said sister, which is, of course, deteriorating. Said I didn't even think she'd be able to make it anymore, but that I'd still tape it for her, since that's all I can do.

Went to print the contract and sign it and what do I find in my inbox?

. . .

Roughly: "Oh god this is ballooning into something much bigger than you said and there's nothing in it for the people that own the hall and I'm not going to be here and the new person won't be here until after you're gone and the board doesn't like this and your sister can't be here anyway you should just cancel!" This four days before the first rehearsal.

How does hell no and we had a deal strike you?

You're worried that your "legacy" in the hall might be negatively impacted. That people might not like you because this crazy musician guy is imposing too much on the hall. Well, who exactly was it that said all of this would be okay? I grant that you thought that my three hour rehearsals would be two hours long. Not sure where you got that idea. Certainly not from me, as I've e-mailed some fifty or a hundred people telling all of them they would be three hours. And why on god's green earth would you think that there wouldn't be set up and tear down time before and after when you yourself told me you would need things cleaned up between rehearsals? Okay, I suppose I might have mentioned that, but it didn't even occur to me as mention worthy. What part of "I'm a disorganized newby and I'm winging it because I've got no choice" escaped you? Why would you assume that a show involving three rehearsals and thirty musicians would be small and uncomplicated? I know you knew about the large expensive instruments. You told me where I could put them. Did you think they would simply materialize? That they would tune themselves? Heck, I asked you about the loading zone. About parking. About the bloody kitchen sink.

I

Don't

Care

About

Your

Mistakes.

You fix them. This show will go on. You will not screw me just because you resigned quickly so you could start the new sexier job more quickly. It's not my problem. A deal is a deal. And as the experienced party getting paid it was and is your job to make sure you know what's going on with the client. If you can't keep track of your notes I can't help you. I've got literally a hundred e-mails to different people (I checked) all saying the same things. I've spoken to you in person four times. I've called you as many. I've e-mailed you quite a lot more. You never responded, but we always talked about the subjects over the phone or in person. I was never under the impression you hadn't gotten the e-mails. Maybe you might have asked.

Bah. Pay for your own bloody mistakes. If there is acrimony between you and the facility's board or permanent tenants that's the price you pay for your sexy new job. I have much bigger things to worry about. Like a sister who almost certainly won't see another birthday after this one. What part of death is forever don't you understand you damned idiot? I can't fix you. I can't fix your problem. Fix it your damn self.

Sincerely,
The composer.



Addendum: No. I'm not pissed. Not at all. Why do you ask?

NB: It's not personal. I understand that you have your own life. I'm venting. If you don't like what I have to say or understand that I'm a little upset for good reason, go find your grown up pants. I trust you have some somewhere.

1 comment:

The Composer said...

From the original OKCupid post:

mplsindygirl:
Damn, that facility director isn't doing her job, in the least. What the hell does she understand about professional responsibility? Evidently, not much. I'm so sorry this is turning out to be much more difficult than it needs to be. You deserve to give your best offerings to your sister. Wishing you and your family peace.

The Composer: I have a signed contract now. And yes, I think she rather dropped the ball. And I, the inexperienced fool that I am, only barely managed to pick it up. But this will happen. All very scary, but slowly occurring. Instruments will show up at reasonable and appropriate times, including timpani, xylophone, chimes, glockenspiel, bass drum, suspended cymbal, and piano. (And bunches of other string, wind, and brass instruments, of course.) Thank you for your well wishes. It was good to vent a bit.

Witchzenka: I wish SO HARD I could help in some real fashion. :( If you were more local I could beat people into submission for you. :(

TC: Ha! I like it! Zenka's warrior witch queen beat down special! Can I get a package deal? I'll sponsor some bus stop beat-downs.

harpy61: I'm glad you got it sorted out in the end. You could appease the board by making sure there was good publicity for the event, stressing their co-operation. While you may not want to make your sister's awful circumstances into some press piece, if she's ok with it, it would make an excellent story.

Anonymous 2: A contract is a contract, and yours will be honored. Wow, I had no idea that you were doing this, but I wish you lots of luck in the next few days. Kudos!

Juni: Yes, kudos. Your sister is fortunate in her family. This is a beautiful thing you have done for her.

TC: We're fortunate to have her with us. She's a pretty cool gal. Painter, horseman, mother, fighter, strong woman. She deserves something cool. And my ballet probably isn't that thing, but it's what I've got, so it's hers. And a week from tomorrow we play it for her. I may step on a toe or two, but I think everything will be fine. I'm giving the hall more money. That should help. They'll be happier when they realize that some sixty or a hundred people that didn't know about them before will think fondly of them now. And I should promote it more. Just been tired and busy so promotion has been pretty far from the front of my mind. Will try to take care of that. Thank you Harpy, Anoymous, and Juni. Thank you Zenka and Mplsindygirl. This will work. And when I've got a recording, I'll stick up a link. Soon. Very soon.