This article was published in the "Strange But True Harp Stories" column
of the July/August 2013 issue of Harp Column magazine. Yes, this actually happened!
Someone was supposed to be there at the loading dock -- that’s what the booking agent said -- but after repeatedly punching the intercom unit with no reply, I knew I wouldn’t be entering through these particular Statehouse bowels.
Phoning the booking agent yielded no assistance -- their part was done and over. Left on my own to find a suitable alternate entrance, I reload the harp and back out dangerously fast, speeding through a parking garage gate. Rounding the corner, I spot a wide berth of glass doors through which a very well-dressed group of individuals is marching in. I pull up short, grab my bag, bench, and music stand, and follow them.
We walk up a few set of stairs and file through a small door. But this is a small quiet type of salon, nowhere near the noisy hub-bub where I’m sure I’m supposed to be. Where is the crowd? The snacks? The drinks? The loud voices?
Minutes later, stomping through the marble hallways in search of where to set up, I miraculously come across the office of the event coordinator, with whom I’d spoken with days prior to finalize tonight’s plans. Empty. My actual gig start time has now passed, and many minutes of my angry marching click-click-clicking down the hallways in my all-black gig uniform, after tripping UP a set of stairs with bench and stand, have yielded absolutely no answers nor direction. I pass several police officers who not once stop to ask me who I am and what I’m doing. Security, anyone?
Finally, a man informs me that I am to play on the catwalk far above the festivities and there is no electrical outlet in sight. I’m both relieved and annoyed; suddenly it’s obvious that amplification could be really useful here, but the booking agent never specified to bring it, AND I don’t have access to power anyway. There is a good 50-plus feet or more of carpeted and glass-railing expanse on either side of me, and I’m told I have it to myself. There is no way in %&@*! anyone anywhere can hear me, but I play loud and flamboyantly in a final effort to vindicate myself and this experience.
At the end of the set, the same man appears to help me through the maze of elevators and stairs back to my car. A shocked look of realization passes over his face as our conversation slows and we head out the glass doors to my Volvo wagon.
“Did you come in this way, with your stand and bench?”
“Did you follow a group of people into that door over there?” he points.
“I saw you!” He laughs uncomfortably. “You walked in with the Governor!!”
What’s worse -- having unquestioned free reign of the Statehouse, not recognizing my own Governor, or being fantastically late to play for his inaugural ball?
Another imperfect post, accompanied by:
Trista Hill is a professional harpist and fine artist, creativity coach, educator in the arts, and Board-Certified Music Therapist. What her formal degrees in music and art gave her pale in comparsion to the gifts she's experienced in working with creatives just like you. Visit her website — tristahill.com — for links to her blog, performances, and other fantastical creative offerings.