Herine's Reflections on Rehearsing In Transit: #thisrocks

The following post about In Transit: #thisrocks preparation is from Herine.  You can catch In Transit: #thisrocks on Thursday 12/15 at 7:00pm at the Chicago Cultural Center and Friday 12/16 at 6:30pm at Indian Boundary Park.  If you go to the schedule page on our website, you can RSVP to the performance you'd like to attend.  Additionally, anyone who RSVPs to the concert on 12/15 is invited to come to a reception before the show.  

Drew, Adam and I have been in the throes of rehearsing for In Transit: #thisrocks, the next installment in our series. This concert marks the first time we have used only one ensemble combo on a series concert: the piano trio. Other than that, our non-traditional sequencing of repertoire will be similar to past shows: we switch back and forth between composers to perpetuate the story line that unfolds on the screen. As such, it's a long and technically demanding show for all of us; especially since in the usual piano trio concert format, there is typically an intermission.

What is it like to transition between three composers as disparate as Felix Mendelssohn, Jacob TV and David T. Little? We'll be able to say more about that after our tech rehearsals start next week, but in the meantime, our rehearsal schedule has given us the opportunity to get a sense of this. For me, the last performance that required unusually crazy mental transitions was the second installment of the Weaver's Tales (2010-11), during which I had to juxtapose movements from Elliott Carter's Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Harpsichord and Cello, with those from the Beethoven Septet. The two things that help tremendously with meeting that challenge are:

1. Carole's teeny tiny cue sheets taped to our stands at the beginning of each show (we must go through 100 of those with each run since we need them for the tech rehearsals and performances, and somehow we always lose them). While we do try to memorize the sequence as much as possible, it's reassuring to know that the piece order is taped to our stands.  That way we aren't distracted while playing with thoughts such as, "Oh, crikey, am I supposed to get up and move to a different seat after this piece? I don't remember!!!"


2. Internalizing the story line early on. Obviously, we wouldn't break up entire pieces of music if we didn't feel that doing so serves a very compelling purpose that the composer most likely would even have sanctioned, so this becomes a new step in personal practice (filed under the category of "Practice That Occurs Away From the Instrument"). Earlier today, I spent twenty minutes listening to the beginnings and ends of each piece in concert order, trying to map them out in my brain so that when we start our tech rehearsals, I can use them to reinforce this order. This is one of the many things that, admittedly, I've learned the hard way, but goes a long way in terms of freeing up brainpower and increasing in-the-moment enjoyment during our performances.

As a side note, the character of Tanya Ramirez, our protagonist for this show, is based on several real-life collaborators, one of whom is an alum from the Merit School of Music, my other favorite musical organization in Chicago. Other than the fact that Tanya is a cellist, there is one small biographical tidbit that she and I share. Come see the show on December 15, 2011 at 7:00pm at the Chicago Cultural Center, and the first person to send the correct answer to Carole at carole@blueberryln.com/stage/5he will win an "In Transit" T-shirt!