This weekend, like many weekends, I had a gig. I own a business called The Oread Strings in which I hire musicians to provide live music for events. I almost always play cello at the events I coordinate. This weekend, my group performed at a cocktail hour at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in KCMO.
The weather was gorgeous – about 80 degrees and clear skies. My quartet was scheduled to begin performing at 6:00 pm, so I left Lawrence at 4:30, with plenty of time to fill up my gas tank on the way out of town and arrive at 5:30. I like to be early to events I’m coordinating, especially ones where garage parking, security checks, and long walks to the performance location are necessary.
After signing in at the security desk of the employee entrance to the Nelson, I was escorted a second floor reception area. This was the wrong place – I was looking for the East Sculpture Terrace. I had to make my way back downstairs and ask for directions. I finally made my way to the correct location – there were high top tables set up, two bars, and four chairs for the musicians.
I put down my cello, music, and music stand, and arranged the chairs in correct playing position for the quartet. I always look for a shady spot to set up because direct sunlight is harmful to the varnish of violins, violas, and cellos. Fortunately, I found the perfect place to set up – shaded by a couple of small trees.
The other three musicians arrived right on schedule, at about 5:45. We tuned up and began playing as the guests began to arrive at 6:00. The event was very elegant – women wore long dresses, men wore tuxedos. Our quartet helped set the ambience for the evening.
At 7:00 sharp, the wedding coordinator came over to me an let me know that it was time for the guests to be escorted to the dining room, and that we should stop playing. Weddings are usually kept on a very strict schedule, so this was no surprise to me. Several of the guests told us they liked our music as we were packing up and leaving. It always feels good to get some positive recognition.
We said our goodbyes, gave hugs and kudos. The musicians I hire are good friends of mine, who I usually only get to see during gigs. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a little time to catch up each time we work together. Until the next gig…