Back Stage Basics – The Lost Quartet
April 10, 2014.
It was my first time assisting with the “Green Room”, behind the scenes with the performers at a WMCT Music in the Afternoon concert. Evelyn O’Doherty, with years of experience, was in charge, and described the routine. The Pavel Haas Quartet would arrive at the Edward Johnson Building around 10, and have a couple of hours to rehearse in Walter Hall before the Tuning Your Mind lecture.
We waited in the lobby, scanning every entrant with a string instrument and a professional air. No appropriate group had arrived by 10:15, or even 10:30, and by 10:45, anxiety kicked in. A flurry of phone calls, from us to the WMCT office, from the office to Simon Fryer, our Artistic Director, in Regina, between the Czech quartet and Simon, and finally back to us, pinpointed their location – at Hart House!
After a dead run down Philosopher’s Walk, through the side door, and up to the Hart House desk, I breathlessly announced I was looking for a string quartet, actually four people carrying instruments. No help there, but flying out the House front doors, I spotted them, heading tentatively towards Queen’s Park Crescent. They were on the right track then, so we all hustled up to the Faculty of Music entrance, and down the elevator to the Walter Hall lobby. I pointed out the portrait of Arnold Walter, a compatriot of theirs: they had other things on their minds. Evelyn unlocked the Green Room door for them, they had a little time to familiarize themselves with the hall, and their brilliant performance revealed nothing of the earlier little drama.
Protocols for communication between performers and the WMCT volunteers meeting them at Walter
Hall have since been revised.