Friday, December 14, 2007

White Christmas Pops

Lots of snowstorm stories from yesterday and last night. Here's one from my wife, who sings in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and was on the roster to sing in two Boston Pops concerts yesterday. She was smart enough to take mass transit, rather than attempt the drive to Symphony Hall.

I got to Symphony just a little late, only to find something like eight people there ready to sing. It seems that the roads were gridlocked, and people were frozen there (pun intended). One person, for example, was on Boylston Street about two blocks above Symphony for about two hours. Stories were everywhere -- some people took four or five hours to go a few miles, others left their cars on the side of the road and walked or took the train. The record was a violinist who spent more than seven hours in his car. Keith Lockhart was being driven in and the car was stopped for hours in Kenmore Square. He just got out and walked the rest of the way.

They moved the concert up a half hour, and by that time there were about twenty-five singers (out of fifty) ready to do their thing. The orchestra, however, was very, very sparse. There were four first violins, four second violins, no oboes, one bass, no tubas, and no trumpets. It's hard to do a Pops concert without trumpets, and Keith moved around the music making the big trumpet pieces later on the program in hopes that some trumpet player would make it. Finally, we were doing Sleigh Ride (a piece by Leroy Anderson) that has a horse's "neigh" at the end which is done by the trumpet section. We were about half way through the piece when a lone trumpeter in street clothes made it to the stage door, came on stage, and played the neigh by himself!

Keith had the chorus and Santa go down into the seats with the audience to sing the audience sing-along. Needless to say, there weren't very many people there, so it was a cozy and friendly "sing." We were all wearing Santa hats, and one of the tenors gave his hat to a little boy. He kept it on the whole time, despite that fact that it kept falling down his face.


Anonymous said...

Wow, the transportation stories sound like Washington, where I live - only here, the concert would have been canceled before the first 5 flakes fell, and the transportation problems happen with an inch of snow on the ground!

T. said...

Your post put a smile on my face after a long day in the O.R.! Thank you, and happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully magical concert that must have been, with all the concertgoers emerging after into a quiet winterland. It must have been a very special evening with great spirit for everyone who was there.

Anonymous said...

gee - wish I'd been anywhere near - would have ditched the car and walked to the concert (as it was, took me 6 1/2 hrs from Central Square Cambridge (where I'd been taking care of grandaughter) to J.P.