Monday, March 8, 2010

Newton's Third Law

The motto "the show must go on" is as applicable to the symphony stage as it is to a Broadway show. Life doesn't stop just because there is a concert. Sometimes the unexpected happens. People get sick, strings break, or Broadway calls.

It is moments like these that lead to greatness. I was not around for the pops concert about 10 years ago when the guest artist suddenly became violently ill right before the performance. I have heard all about it, though. Not because it was a disaster, but because everyone in the symphony banded together and gave a memorable performance on the fly. It has become a KSO legend. The Masterworks concert where Lara St. John broke her E string in the middle of the Shostakovich violin concerto is one of the highlights of my nine seasons with the orchestra. It was dramatic and exciting. I have never heard an audience roar like they did when she finished that piece.

You see, Newton's Third Law of Motion applies to the symphony orchestra nearly as well as it applies to physics. You push on us, we'll push back. The greater the disaster, the greater our effort to compensate. Not that we don't try to play our best under normal circumstances, its just that when something unexpected happens everyone pushes a little bit harder. This is when greatness occurs.

On Saturday the orchestra will be performing a pops show. A few months back, the unexpected happened when our guest artist for the show canceled. KSO management found a replacement in singer Steve Lippia. Now, this is not in any form a disaster since Lippia is an experienced and quite talented singer, but when I flipped through my pops music this weekend my sixth sense started tingling. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those times where the unexpected leads to greatness. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if we were still talking about this pops concert in 2020.

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