OAE office mid morning Friday 29 January. Orchestra Manager arrives with a sprained ankle and a packet of frozen peas. Oh dear. Having been ordered to follow my GCSE P.E. anatomy and physiology advice of R.I.C.E. (that’s Rest, Ice, compression and Elevation) I quickly established that I would be acting as both Ceri Jones Projects Manager and the legs of Philippa Brownsword Orchestra Manager at the Roundhouse today… Given the general buzz and excitement of the event at the Roundhouse there was no way Philippa was going to go home and rest!  We all wanted to be part of it.

We’d had a good laugh about carting Philippa along the canal towpath from King’s Cross to the Roundhouse in Camden in a sedan, but in the end settled for a taxi, and arrived early afternoon to set up the stage.  Philippa was expertly positioned at a cabaret table in the auditorium to whip us into shape pointing out to the exact inch where the stands, lights and chairs should be placed.  By 4pm the orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski and Alistair Appleton had arrived too and it was an excellent place to sit and listen to the rehearsal.  Meanwhile I was getting a little bit excited about the radio walkie-talkie now firmly attached to the waistband of my skirt (and panicking about understanding how to use it), running around checking out the long route from the green room to the stage, playing with microphones for Alistair and the audience Q&A aspect of the show, organising artist comp tickets, also running errands to Sainsbury’s for water and food supplies!

7pm and the rehearsal was over, time to finish off checking out the mics, show the orchestra to their dressing rooms, and make sure the stage was clear of cases, bags, rubbish and ready for the show.  Then a brief opportunity to join the players for a sarnie tea in the green room and to pop into the foyer to say hello to my friends who had come for the night!  At 8.30 we gathered in the green room, and then took everyone the long route (avoiding the crowds in the foyer) to the backstage run to unpack cases and get ready to go on at 9pm.

During the show I watched from about 5 different places (that’s the great thing about not being in a conventional concert hall) and Philippa found a very comfy seat in the unused members bar (I think I joined her there for the gorgeous 2nd movement!)

It was an absolutely immense show and other than wishing I had been a little more practically dressed as Philippa’s legs (note to self: new shoes, skirts and tights not such a good idea when moving around music stands, helping Adrian with his timpani etc. and running up and down stairs…) I would do it all again no question!

Ceri Jones, Projects Manager

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