This summer, I read many classic texts of Chinese philosophy, one of which was Sun Tzu's The Art of War
. One of the basic tenets of the book is how to ensure victory before a campaign even begins, such that the momentum of one's strategy and preparation makes the triumphant outcome inevitable. BRUCEMORCHESTRA
is far and away the most complex, multi-faceted event Orchestra Iowa produces each season. Often with complexity comes the increased potential for disaster, and yet 3 hours before the concert, I knew that one of the most special performances of my tenure was in the making, and that the actual execution of it was but a formality. Instead of being nervous, and pacing back-and-forth fretting about this detail or that, I had one of the most stress free, relaxing experiences of my career all because the outcome was pre-ordained by spectacular preparation and strategy. The weather was FANTASTIC (ok we can't control that, but when the heavens cooperate, we've won half the battle). The Brucemore grounds were impeccable as always complete with staff, crowd control measures, concessions, warm-up space, port-o-johns, parking/shuttling, and a myriad of other details I can't even imagine. Iowa Public Radio had their own preparations to make with their on-site live broadcast of the program, including organizing interviews with the various artists and leaders. Logistics went smoothly--stage, sound, lights, electrical generators, beer tent, stage extension with Marley floor for the Ballet, piano transport and tuning, choral risers, chairs, stands, and percussion cartage. And then the hours of individual practice by our superb soloist Alan Huckleberry, and the preparations of the Ballet and the 3 choruses involved (CR Concert Chorale, Coe College, Mount Mercy University). And how about BALLET QUAD CITIES! This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and stay tuned for our joint performances of the Nutcracker and Cinderella this season. And then there's the musical hustle and bustle--hire the personnel, order/rent the music, prepare the bowings, distribute it to the orchestra 2-3 weeks in advance, organize rehearsal space at Washington High School, and then come together the day before to rehearse on Saturday, with a run through Sunday morning. Oh yeah, did I mention marketing, sponsorship development and ticketing? When I come to think of it, the fact that piecing this together happened in a matter of 2 days, is nothing short of a miracle--more than enough margin for error that could make one curl up in the fetal position. But because the preparation was so thorough, and the musical selection and artistic quality spot on for the occasion, the actual performance was like blowing a leaf off the palm of my hand. WHAT A GREAT NIGHT!!!!