As mentioned below, our concert in Sheffield last week had a rather odd start.

The Orchestra came on stage on time for a 7pm start, all fine. We settled in our seats. The Management team of 3 (myself, CEO Stephen Carpenter and Projects Director Ceri) were all split up in the hall, rather than sitting together as we supposed to. As usual there was that moment when the Orchestra stops tuning and the crowd goes suddenly quiet, waiting for the conductor to appear. Except that he didn’t.

5 minutes later he still hadn’t. Rather odd. The crowd was getting restless.

After a little longer Orchestra Leader Matthew Truscott got up (to applause) and left the stage, presumably to find out what was happening.

He didn’t return.

At this point I texted Ceri, asking if she knew what was up. She didn’t. I suggested that conductor David Zinman was either unwell or had got the start time wrong. Both seemed a little unlikely. Unfortunately I made a typo and said “Either I’ll or has got the…”. So I re-sent the world ‘ill’ on its own. Ceri took this as confirmation that he was indeed ill and I apparently set her mind immediately racing as to what we would do!

But by this time announcements were being made and stewards descended upon us to evacuate the building – a full building evacation was in progress!  The Orchestra quickly packed up their instruments but there was no time to pick up coats, so the back of the City Hall saw a rather chilly Orchestra standing around in their evening wear, particularly the ladies.

Luckily the evacuation was brief. The unattended bag which had sparked it (and had prevented Front of House giving clearance for the concert to start) had been picked up during the evacuation, we were let back in, and the concert started around 25 minutes late. All credit to Orchestra and Conductor David Zinman for recovering their composure so quickly and immediately plunging us into Mendlessohn’s magical Midsummer Night’s Dream.

William Norris, Communications Director

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