On Monday at 7pm sharp we left Disney Hall for LAX by bus. After what seemed like a very long 9 ? hours, we arrived at London Heathrow to a beautiful, sunny afternoon. We arrived at our hotel very tired and hungry. London has a plethora of wonderful restaurants so the choices for dinner were nearly overwhelming. My wife and I chose a fish and chips place, The Fryer's Delight. Others chose more exotic fare for dinner. But the most interesting entertainment choice of the evening was made by a group of musicians, lead by our keyboardist, Joanne Pearce Martin, who attended a musical event not to be found anywhere else on the planet.
It takes efforts on many fronts to project our musical pursuits to a European audience. As musicians, we work very hard to bring our "product" up to the highest standards but without our Production Director, Paul Geller, and his crew of Stage Technicians, Cesar Melgar, Alex Quintanar, and Michael Sheppard, our musical pursuits would quite literally never fly. These are the people who do the thankless, behind the scenes work that we all appreciate so much. They make us musicians feel almost as if we were at home no matter where we are, so that we can perform at our best. It is staggering to me what they move:
Today 106 members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic are traveling as a group to London to begin the 2007 European Tour. On a personal level, there are many things to prepare, above and beyond the rudimentary packing that we all must do. These preparations are as varied and different as the individual circumstances of each member of the orchestra. Some must shop, some must make arrangements for the care of a home or pets, others must make arrangements for the care of young children?a truly daunting task. I speak from my own experience of having had to make arrangements for our two teenagers and one pre-teen while we are away. But I must confess that it is my wife Stacy (a member of the Philharmonic's first violin section) who does the lion's share of the arranging - I am just the errand boy. These necessary arrangements are made by all those who have responsibilities at home in addition to our Philharmonic lives, but I thought it might be interesting, if not exhausting, reading to hear from Los Angeles Philharmonic woodwind player Cathy Ransom Karoly (flute), who is married to Jonathan Karoly (cello), also a member of the Phil.
Jonathan and I thought for many months about how we would manage our family and this tour. We both play in the orchestra, AND we have a two-year-old daughter named Hannah and 10-month-old boy/girl twins named Ian and Eva.
We considered bringing them all, plus four grandparents and a babysitter (three kids under the age of three require a LOT of help!!!), but the expense and expected wear and tear on us seemed to outweigh the benefits of having them with us. We knew that leaving them all home wouldn't be a great idea since Hannah is a handful, and we couldn't quite imagine having both sets of grandparents stay at our house the whole time to care for them (these kids require at least three grandparents to manage them!). We also considered the option of Jonathan staying home with the twins and I bringing Hannah and my mom with me, but the thought of trying to stay well rested while sharing a hotel room with my daughter and mother for two weeks, plus not seeing my husband and babies, didn't seem so great.