Every year around this time, I cross my fingers over whether I’ll get that call or not. So this year, I got the call two days ago. I’ll be playing July 3rd and 4th with Boston Pops on the Esplanade for Boston’s celebration of Independence Day.
The featured performer would be Lionel Ritchie, but he’s bringing his own band. My gig is to play w/ the orchestra.
July 3rd is the “dry run” and July 4 will be on live network TV as well as over a million people in attendance. No, I’m not exaggerating.
At first I was excited. But then today, as I was driving in to drop off my gear, I called ahead and they asked, “Did you hear?”
“Ummm no. Heard what?”
“Lionel Ritchie’s out. Martina McBride’s in!”
“Oh, what happened???”
“Don’t know” (I learned later that he’d strained his vocal cords and needed to back out).
So my next call was to the artistic director, who didn’t really know yet how things would play out. I just wanted to know if I’d be playing with Martina McBride. If so, what songs? What guitars? etc. They didn’t know yet because this JUST happened.
About an hour ago, I got the email. I will be playing, but the charts won’t be ready until the morning of the rehearsal. That means we’ll sight-read it at rehearsal, then play it at the gig. In the meantime, I’m making my own charts and learning the songs as best I can.
Why am I telling you this?
There’s been lots of discussion on this message board about the value of being able to read standard notation. This is not the first time I’ve been in these circumstances…
For my money, if I wasn’t a pretty good reader, I’d be friggin terrified right now. This certainly has my undivided attention, but I know I’ll do the best I can do in the time allotted.
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