A Welcome Disaster
Today, I was reflecting on my first month of being an Artist in Resident at the Collington Community.
While there are many great things I can say about this residency: the fulfillment found in sharing music, the refreshing conversation or the idyllic, nature-filled campus..I can't help but dwell on the technological catastrophes I’ve experienced.
Perhaps one single event can encapsulate this shaky beginning: the infamous 'Welcome Concert.'
In non-pandemic times, the 'Welcome Concert' event would have been a live concert with a full audience. Since current circumstances would not allow for such an event, the residents of Collington instead tune into the local 972 TV channel which streams events and content from the auditorium. Well aware of the audio limitations from broadcasting instrumental music live from the microphones, the other Artist-in-Residence (AIR) and I were preparing to record our Welcome Concert at 4pm in front of a limited 10-person live audience, and then broadcast the recording to the residents at 7pm.
It was 9:30pm the night before the concert. I had just finished performing in a 9/11 service and decided to test out the auditorium equipment. Now, I should mention that in my technological naivety I believed we were ready- we had been trained how to use the auditorium equipment and even bought special cables to broadcast from our computers. Surely, we were ready for the concert and everything would be fine!?
As you may imagine, this was surely not the case. To my dismay, my computer wouldn't broadcast to channel 972. The evening grew late as the other AIR and I tried every possible solution. We called people and sent out SOS emails/texts into the evening abyss. Eventually we gave up, hoping that someone could help in the morning.
Below is the chaos that ensued the following day-
9:00am: Wake up to a flurry of emails and texts trying to trouble shoot the auditorium (all things we tried in the auditorium the night prior.)
10:30am: Learned that 'Macs are incompatible with the auditorium.' (The joy of apple products 😬)
11:00am: A resident with a PC graciously agreed to help us!
12:00pm: Meet with the generous resident in the auditorium- discover that transferring a file from a Mac to PC is more difficult than we thought...BUT, one thumb drive works!!
1:15pm: Quickly grab lunch from the cafeteria. Eat lunch while attempting to figure out how to pin up my dress...
2:15pm: Dress rehearsal.
3:15pm: Run home to get ready/put on make-up and grab recording equipment.
3:30pm: Get set-up.
3:45pm: Audience arrives.
4:00pm: Welcome Concert! Hooray- this was very fun!
5:00pm: Chat with the wonderful audience. They were extremely grateful and encouraging!
5:30pm: A resident enters the auditorium a bit upset due to a miscommunication!!
5:45pm: I look at the time and begin to quickly trim the video in the auditorium.
6:00pm: Realize I can't function with so much noise and run home.
6:15pm: Editing is finished and video is exporting.
6:30pm: Head back to the auditorium to meet the lovely resident who is letting us use the PC to broadcast the video at 7pm.
6:40pm: File is exported!! BUT THE THUMB DRIVE DOESN'T WORK and we cannot get the file onto the broadcast-capabale PC (I still don't understand this...apple ahhh!) Meanwhile, the file is successfully uploading to FB for the FB page event.
6:50pm: Can't find another way to transfer the file...so we run back to get the Zoom recorder.
7:00pm: The recording device is hooked up to computer and plays unedited footage to the residents! (Whew!) BUT, the FB upload fails...
8:00pm: Broadcast is over- we learn that we used the incorrect microphone to speak during our concert...=(
8:30pm: Video is posted on FB !! An hour and a half late...!
9:00pm : Eat a sad cupcake, laugh/cry and start scheduling for the outdoor concerts planned for the following week...
Anyways, the day certainly didn't go 'as-planned' and due to the hilarity of the day, I can hardly remember the actual concert. (I was stressed over everything except the actual performance...)
With the pandemic at large, sharing music gets complicated- technology, logistics, communication (ACK!) Honestly, sometimes the circumstances are so discouraging that I want to give up. But then I think of those 10 people in the audience that were so touched by the music and impacted by the performance...and it's all worth it.
Really, if our music can help anyone, it's worth it!! So if you're feeling discouraged- don't give up! I hope that you persevere and allow the music to be shared regardless of circumstances. (Although, let me suggest that you test out all technology before the night prior to the event!!🙄)
It can only get better right?
P.S. If you didn't hear the performance, you can check it out here-- https://www.facebook.com/CollingtonAIR