PRO ARTE’S MUSICIANS WERE SO HOT, THEY BURNED DOWN THE HOUSE
I have not been with Pro Arte for very long. I was incredibly lucky to be awarded the position of Assistant to the General Manager back in September of this year and in my time with this unique organization, I have seen quite a few unique situations. I have had the pleasure of being a part of nearly every rehearsal, salon, and concert since I have joined the organization and each one has been different in one regard or the other. Before joining Pro Arte, I was involved in multiple arts organizations and saw many situations and various “tiny tragedies” that had to be dealt with in their own way. It comes with the job. It’s expected that there will always be something different each day and a new surprise each night. I have never, however, in my near decade as an arts administrator, witnessed a situation at a rehearsal that was quite as unique as the “tiny tragedy”, nay, interruption which occurred at this past Pro Arte rehearsal. The rehearsal was going incredibly smoothly, in fact, it was one of the most smooth rehearsals I had ever attended.
I was going about my duties, along with my sensational colleagues, to assure that the orchestra members were content and help to assure that the following day’s box office and general operations were going to run without a hitch. Everything seemed perfectly in place so I stepped out for a moment to move my car into a new spot, as I was parked in two hour parking and was already well beyond my limit. As it was difficult to find a new space, I circled the block only to be forced to pull over as the roar of fire sirens passed me. I thought to myself (jokingly) “I bet a musician set something on fire”. Well, to my surprise, I pulled up to find the fire fighters had indeed stopped in front of The First Church Cambridge which was the location of this particular rehearsal and, as it happens, the next day’s concert. I quickly (and illegally) pulled my car over to get to the church as quickly as possible to make sure everyone was alright. I stepped onto the sidewalk in front of the church to find all of our musicians standing, instruments in hand (note: to musicians, their instruments are a part of their family so saving them from the potential fire did not even require a second thought) outside along with staff members (who so kindly saved the very computer that I am writing this post on). I heard the blaring of fire alarms, which, in a cavernous space such as the sanctuary of First Church, echoes as if a shout into a bottomless pit. The first, and only thing I could think to say aloud to my colleagues in my shock was: “I guess Pro Arte is so hot, they set the place on fire”. Since the rehearsal had been, up to this point, running so wonderfully, everyone was in good spirits and able to find humor in this situation. The jokes ensued amongst the orchestra and staff members as we were quickly realizing that the alarm was, while alarming, just a glitch in the system and soon, the fire department reported to us that all was clear and it was safe for our staff and musicians to return to their duties, which we did without missing a beat.
After this unique and memorable incident, the member and guest musicians of Pro Arte went on to play what was without a doubt, the best concert, classical or otherwise, that I have heard in many years. Pro Arte did (indeed thankfully figuratively) set the house on fire with their “Musical Monuments” performance. Perhaps something sparked within the musicians after that fiery rehearsal incident. Though perfection can always be expected from this orchestra, there was something special in them at last week’s concert. There was something special about Pro Arte that week. I can’t tell you what it was, it was just something. It was evidenced by the fact that even the brave men and women of the Cambridge Fire Department recognized just how hot Pro Arte was that they felt the need to come out to assure the orchestra didn’t combust.
On behalf of the staff and musicians, I invite you to join us at our next concert. Though I cannot promise you will bear witness to an alarming situation as we did that day, I can promise another fabulous performance, one that will indeed, once again (figuratively) set the house on fire.
– Daniel DeLoma