07 May 2008

Musical Deconstructionalism

Just a note before you read this blog. Due to large amounts of preparations and responsibilities in relation to being wed, this blog has been delayed some weeks now. Do forgive the delay...

Last Saturday was Tanya's amazing TCM Dance Concert. I had the privilege of helping out - something that I really enjoyed; being able to see how a dance concert comes together. Out of all the challenges and obstacles to the concert, none stands out more than the story of the piano.

In an effort to provide a more robust concert, Tanya had enlisted the help of my sister Julianne's boyfriend Eric to play a few pieces at the concert. The concert was to be held at the Post Theatre which as an old theatre constructed around the turn of the century. As such there was no piano on the premise, which required the we order one in for Eric.

Tanya got in touch with Riverton Music to rent a piano and was quoted a price of $350 for the rental. She reserved a spot and was to email the driving directions to the delivery crew. The day of the concert arrived and Tanya had yet to hear back for the piano crew. She had emailed the driving directions that morning, but as the day wore on we still had not heard anything back. A little disconcerted, we decided to go to Riverton Music to see if we could verify the delivery of the piano. Upon arrival we were unable to locate a salesperson. There was a piano recital going on, and I became somewhat distracted by the various pianos with their available wood finishings. Tanya guided me gently to the back of the store, where we inquired of a instrument repair man where we could locate a representative. He informed us that we wanted to speak with a man named Kato.

Mr. Kato was a slim middle aged Asian dressed in black pants and a grey turtle-neck. He had a pleasant smile, but you could tell from his expression that there was a lot going through his mind. He shook our hands and asked very mildly what he could do for us. Tanya explained our predicament as we took our places around his desk. His pleasant smile slowly faded into a look of consternation as he began to file through his computer looking for the delivery schedule. After a few moments he located our 3 o'clock delivery in the system. Instead have having been filled, the slot was left blank, and the delivery crew, not having any information, had simply skipped the delivery. It turns out the man who was in charge of piano rentals had decided to go out of town and had failed to check his email that morning and forward the directions on to his crew.

This was the afternoon of the concert, and we were quite literally up the creek without a piano. Tanya began to question Kato about our options. Kato became more and more confused as the questioning continued. He would periodically take up his phone with determined precision and make phone calls back and forth, trying to locate a crew and authorize a piano. After quite a bit of persuasion, he agreed to have the crew deliver the piano. Tanya drew up a map with detailed instructions and resigned it to Kato. As we rose we thanked him profusely. I offered him my hand, he gave me the "limp-fish" handshake, which I had not anticipated, so I ended up squishing his knuckles in my hand. After this awkwardly limp fished handshake we headed back to the theater to make some last minute preparations.

Tanya needed to go and pick up several bid items that would be used in the auction that night so I was left at the theater to await the arrival of the moving crew. Finding myself alone in a theater, with lights, a sound system, and curtains, it was not difficult to find something with which to amuse myself. I believe it was somewhere between my performance of Nessun Dorma and my monologue on French political injustice over the sound system, that I heard a knock on the back stage door. The piano had arrived!

I opened the door and was was greeted by a stout young man of about 25. He asked me brusquely where my PO order was. I informed him that I didn't have one, that Kato was dealing with the details, and that we had arranged for everything. ( That was a pointless bit of narrative.) The moving crew quickly - and rather carelessly - assembled the piano and took off. Before they left I asked them specifically if the piano would be sturdy enough to move as this was primarily a dance concert, and we would be needing to move the piano between pieces. I was informed that the piano would "move like a charm." Contented with this information, I busied myself in setting up tables for the rest of evenings events.

There was a frenzy of activity as dancers arrived, pieces were rehearsed, lighting was figured out, and the audience took their seats. The first few pieces went off without a hitch, excepting a slight sound system issue during the first piece. Finally it came time to use the piano. The first number was an improve dance number with Eric at the piano and Roxy improving to his music. As the piano was rolled into place a horrible screeching noise filled the theater, akin to nails down a chalk board, as the wheels of the piano made their way across the pioneer era flooring. The piano installed, the piece began and ended beautifully. The piano was again wheeled off as intermission began. Next was Tanya's dance number - which was magnificent by the way - and again it was time for the piano. The by now familiar screech of the piano again filled the hall. Eric played beautifully, and again it was time to remove the piano. The screech commenced. but was immediately interrupted by a very loud CRASH! I had been on the phone with Tanya during this to communicate between the light booth and back stage. She said simply "I need to go!" and hung up. Confused I could do nothing but wait in the box for the result of the noise. Tanya called me back a few minutes later; one of the legs on the piano had not been fastened correctly, and it had come completely off the piano while it was being moved. With some hefting, they had been able to pick the piano up and move it off stage, where it now lay in a pathetic heap. Fortunately the piano part of the concert had finished, and the concert was able to continue without interruption.

The next Monday the delivery crew came to collect the piano. Tanya had been nervous about it, but was informed that it was not our fault, but rather the crew who had assembled it. Et voila, the adventure of the musically deconstructed, and then reconstructed piano.


Michemily said...

Poor piano. I'm glad the concert went well, I haven't heard a thing until now!

Shiloh said...

Bravo! Another fabulous post! Thanks Mr. Kato for saving the day (and not blaming you for the moving crew's mistake!) :)