It wasn’t the way you’d want to start a concert tour. At 8:00 we received a message from Chris Ruigomez, the BSO Director of Concert Operations. “Good morning. We have just been notified that one truck with some of our instruments will not arrive until about noon.” That was unfortunate, since the rehearsal at NTK Forest Hall in Nagoya was scheduled to start at 10:30. “We will move the rehearsal to be from 1:00 PM.”
Changes were made on the fly, including our bus departure from the Nagoya Hilton, where the orchestra was staying. Rather than returning to the hotel after the rehearsal and going back to the hall for the 5:00 PM performance, we would stay at the hall. Food would be provided in between the rehearsal and concert.
We were at the hall and ready to begin rehearsal—our first of the tour—at 1:00. Only problem, still no music, still no string basses. The truck was still somewhere between Tokyo and Nagoya. Rumors spread. The one consistent one was that the driver had overslept. Jet lag? Nope. Not one of ours. A Japanese driver. This seemed strange. Oversleeping a half hour, maybe. Even an hour. But to be four or more hours late?
Already, the inconvenience and the expense were adding up. “What ifs” started seeping into the conversation. All the contingencies had to be considered. It could be a major disaster.
Finally, at about 1:30 the truck arrived. The BSO stage crew and their Forest Hall counterparts sprang into action. The rehearsal, which was supposed to run for 2 ½ hours, went from 2:00 to 3:00. No time for Shostakovich today. Maybe tomorrow. Maestro Nelsons was his usual unflappable self. All smiles. No hurry. Take care of business. See you at the concert.
Backstage Subway sandwiches and bento boxes. A quick dash to a nearby coffee shop for additional caffeinated sustenance to ward off potential jet lag.
The audience never knew. Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham. Mahler Symphony No. 1. Beethoven Egmont Overture as an encore. Everything went off without a hitch. Disaster averted. At least for us. I heard the driver was fired. Actually, that made me relieved. I worried it would go much worse for him.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings.