Yin and Yang of humanity

Category: Music and Life

One of the really neat things about being a freelance musician is that we get to meet and observe people in different settings, people with different moral and social standards, different levels of integrity and caring.  It is amazing how well musicians can be treated one day and how much ignorance can be poured on them during the next.  Here are some examples of yin and and yang of humanity…

…A phone call from a bride who was concerned about the walkway being icy in front of the place where she was getting married. She said the night before during the rehearsal dinner it was icy and she thought of musicians, who would be caring instruments, stands, music. She took her time on her wedding day (!) to call us with a warning about it! The other spectrum – brides who don’t know until the last minute where the musicians should park and don’t give us good directions to the locations.

… Some members of the audience who take a second to come up and thank us for the music, making small talk about the pieces that musicians have performed at their event. The other spectrum – very ignorant bunch that would bump into our instruments, spill their drinks on our bows, knock off our music stands – all without an apology or help in gathering the dropped music.

… Most often, after the cocktail hour (at weddings) classical musicians are replaced by DJ’s, a pretty regular wedding routine for music transfer.  Our groups have dealt with DJ’s who would unceremoniously kick our music cases with their feet to make room for their own equipment, even though we are still playing. Other DJ’s went out of their way to help us set up in such a way so that when we are done – it would be easy for our musicians to pack and the DJ’s to start, all the while having a light conversation with music jokes in between.

… Wedding coordinators: these are tough and very unpredictable creatures, existing only in two shades, black and white. They are  either on top of their game and know every details pertaining to the wedding ceremony, or they know absolutely nothing, some even were not aware that musicians were coming to play at the wedding ceremony.

…Waiters at cocktail hours, dinners and other “food-oriented” events. At some places musicians would be offered water, tea, even alcoholic beverages. At other places – after asking for a glass of water (on a 90 degree day, our string quartet was playing at an outdoor wedding ceremony), we overheard through the staff doors  “these musicians should bring their own darn water!”.

…Although we are acoustical instruments, violins, violas and cellos, our musicians still have to carry in instruments, music stands, big bulky music folders, jackets, purses, etc. Those that are observant – try to help and at least open doors for us. Some, however, very curiously will continue stare at us as we struggle to open the doors while thinking about not dropping the instruments and other gear. Ignorance can be a virtue for some!

…WHO ARE THE WINNERS? CHILDREN!!!

No matter what event our musicians are playing yet, kids are always polite, always curious about our music, some even try dancing to classical music, some sit right in front of us and listen.  They can be running all around the place after the extra intake of a cake or sweets, but their “emergency brakes” work really well when they walk around us – they have an understanding that instruments are vulnerable and they slow down! They come up to us and ask questions about the instruments, we are humans to them, not just musicians. Thank God for kids!

South Hills Village Mall – Pittsburgh, PA

Category: Venue Reviews

Our musicians have performed here for several Christmas concerts, entertaining shoppers as they were getting ready for the holidays.  It was a wonderful, friendly atmosphere, and we even were able to find parking during the busy shopping season!

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String quartet musicians at South Hills Village Mall- Pittsburgh, PA

For the holidays our musicians played at South Hills Village Mall this year, 2014.  It was a very nice setting, with a lot of people walking by, many were stopped and listed to us for the entire hour that we were playing Christmas music, even Santa Claus that was talking photos with kids waived to us!

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church – Braddock Hills, PA

Category: Venue Reviews

This church where our musicians performed for a winter wedding definitely deserves mentioning because of the wedding coordinator that we were working with.  Her name, appropriately so, is Hope.  She definitely gave the musicians hope that there are others out there in the wedding world like her.  She was very friendly, greeted the musicians  as if she knew us for years, set us up with chairs, making sure we were comfortable and fussing over us like a good grandmother would.  She knew every detail for the wedding ceremony, including the pieces that the musicians were going to play.  We had to have a last minute change in the music order and without any problem she found the bride, got back to us within a minute with an answer the musicians needed. Our musicians performed at hundreds of weddings over the years, and I must say – this was the most outstanding handling of the wedding ceremony by a coordinator!!!

Sacred Heart Church