Hello from the other side! It’s been almost two weeks since our concert ‘The cold earth slept below’ at the Kew Court House, and winter has really hit Melbourne. We (Kaylie and Tamara) are sitting here, cups of tea in hand, reflecting on what was another exciting adventure for Rubiks. Here’s a rundown of our performance day, and some helpful advice for anyone planning their own concert!
The first carload of instruments for our 5pm concert arrived bright and early at 10 in the morning. We’d planned a schedule that made sure we’d have plenty of time for sound checks, rehearsal and – most importantly – lunch! The morning had been set aside for bumping in our bigger instruments and meeting with Ben, who was our stage manager, sound engineer and lighting designer for the day. Once the stage was set, we were able to spend the afternoon carefully sound checking each piece without rushing through the process. It can be really helpful to have a friend or colleague sit in on these last rehearsals to check the balance from the audience’s perspective. The sound can change dramatically when you move from rehearsal room to performance venue, and it can be difficult to tell when you’re immersed in the music on stage!
While we’re talking schedules, a good rule of thumb for rehearsing on the big day is to make sure you wrap up well before the concert starts. We try to aim for ‘tools down’ an hour before the performance to give everyone a chance to re-energise.
Once you’re on stage performing, it can seem like the concert goes by in a flash. A huge amount of preparation goes on behind the scenes of any show, so it’s important to document all your hard work! Some useful ways to document your performances include recordings, videos, photos and reviews. These materials will potentially become super handy further down the track when applying for grants or performance opportunities.
After the show, we strongly believe in celebration drinks and a sleep in - but when you wake up, remember to thank your supporters through mailing lists or social media! Audience members have set aside time, purchased a ticket and travelled to the venue, often braving the elements so they deserve a thank you. This is also a great time to let supporters know about your next show, or to share a recording, photo or review from the day.
So what’s next? While working on ‘The cold earth slept below’, we’ve also been planning future shows. This has included working on grant applications and event proposals, meeting to discuss programming ideas, and a lot of late night pizza. Something we’ve learned from mentors and other ensembles is the need to forward plan like crazy. Often ideas need to sit with you for a long time before they really take shape, and sometimes you’ll be submitting a concert proposal a year or more before your gig will take place! Keep track of your ideas, even if they seem unachievable at first. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help, and you’ll be amazed at what you can pull off. It’s often the best ideas that initially seem impossible!