Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quite Possibly the Most Enjoyable Weekend of the Semester

To reiterate, I am quite possibly having the most enjoyable weekend of the spring semester. There are several reasons for this statement.

To conclude this year’s Artist Series at Wheaton College, the Conservatory’s three choirs and orchestra, with the assistance of the Northern Illinois University Concert Choir, the Valparaiso University Chorale and Bach Choir, the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, and a number of guest instrumentalists, joined by tenor John Tessier and ’63 alumnus Maestro John Nelson (that’s a total of about 550 people) presented the Requiem by Hector Berlioz. The Artist Series presented two performances, Friday and Saturday, to houses that were at least eighty and ninety percent sold, respectively. I had the privilege of leading the stage managing team this weekend.

Putting together the Berlioz Requiem is an enormous undertaking, as you may be able to tell from the list above of all the participating ensembles. The piece itself was a challenge for all the performers to prepare. Maestro Nelson, who currently works as music director of the L’Ensemble orchestral de Paris, arrived two weeks before opening night for a rigorous rehearsal schedule on Wheaton’s campus. The ensembles had been working with their faculty directors for weeks previously.

In the meantime, I was busy with logistical preparations for the weekend. My responsibilities as stage manager include backstage security, coordinating the start of the performance with the house manager and the lighting technician, equipment management, and making myself available to the conductor – Maestro Nelson, in this case. This past Thursday was the final dress rehearsal, and I was in attendance to make final preparations and to listen to the final run-through, as I would not be seated in the hall during the performances themselves.

I am pleased to say that, though they presented some challenges, the preparations all went well and at 8 PM on Friday night, the choir and orchestra were on stage, and I radioed to the house manager and the lighting technician that Maestro Nelson was ready to begin. I let the invocator and then the concertmaster onto the stage, and then it was my great privilege to open to door and let Maestro Nelson onto the stage to begin the performance.

Both performances went very well, both musically and also in terms of everything for which I had responsibility. I had so much fun working at the concerts. I can’t even begin to describe what it was like to hear the Berlioz Requiem performed at Wheaton College. It was truly an amazing accomplishment.

A few other things have only added to the enjoyableness of this weekend.

Tonight was Band Banquet. Members of the symphonic band and some guests gathered for dinner and fellowship at Riverside Receptions in Geneva (about ten miles west of the College). It was a really enjoyable evening.

This weekend has also been in the middle of a string of days with really nice weather. It’s been so nice to walk out of class and find the morning chilliness gone. Today is especially nice. Just this afternoon I went outside and stretched out on lawn in front of my residence hall.

And finally, today is Naomi’s and my three-month anniversary. I cannot begin to describe how amazing the last three months have been. I have learned so much about myself and about God through my relationship with this amazing young woman. I am really excited to go visit her and her family in Florida in July. Happy three months, Naomi!

This is Rubio, over and out.

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