From the Shelves to the Stage
By Leanne Day-Simpson - Orchestra Librarian and Education Coordinator
As the ASO’s orchestra librarian and education coordinator (as well as being a violinist in the orchestra), work doesn’t come to a standstill over the summer months. While there is a sense of respite, preparation for the upcoming season continues. This is when some important work gets done, particularly in the orchestra library.
Music for next season has already been pulled from our shelves, checked, and organized. Any music that we don’t have in our library is either purchased or rented and orders are placed early in the summer. When this music arrives to us, the sets are checked, sorted, numbered, and stamped. After that, our string principals begin the bowing process. Each principal marks the music with up bows or down bows, slurs or staccatos, and any other markings that will ensure rehearsals go smoothly. Then all these markings are transferred by me into every string part that is used on stage, for every piece performed, for every concert. Though certainly time consuming, this is a vital part of preparing for the season.
This year, an additional project will be to move the library to our new downtown office space. Shelving has been installed and is eagerly waiting to be filled with 550 classical works, 200 pops pieces, 100 chamber pieces, 150 youth orchestra works, and 100 vocal works. This will be a serious undertaking, although one I’m looking forward to!
Meanwhile, on the education side, work continues with our two full-time quartets to produce the brochures that will promote their four string quartet demos and instrument petting zoos, as well as the Children’s Concerts featuring the entire orchestra and the ASO Guild’s “Orchestra and You” program. These brochures are mailed to schools all over the state. Also, the quartet’s visits to after school programs in Little Rock, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Our House, In His Image, Positive Impact, and Life Skills for Youth to name a few, are scheduled. ASO rental instruments that have been used by students participating in our in-school string classes during the year have been returned and must be inventoried, cleaned, and repaired for a new batch of students to play in September.
Finally, an incredibly monumental task that takes all summer: selecting a concert outfit for the opening night we’ve all been working towards! Can’t wait to see you in September!