Before the first concert of the Long Beach Municipal Band Centennial Season takes place on Tuesday, a lot of back-breaking labor will already have been invested.
The truck load in took place on Wednesday at El Dorado Park.
The mock set up took place at Marine Stadium on Thursday.
For years I didn't really realize that this stage for 38 musicians complete with individual mics does not appear on its own.
For years I would appear at the gig for the sound check at 6pm and leave after my set by 7:30.
Then, at the suggestion of the 2nd oboe player, I began to stay for the Jazz Band set nightly. It is magnificent music. Why did I leave early all those years?
At the suggestion of another wise colleague, I began to get to know the crew. I had never really paid attention to them, but came to realize and appreciate the long hours of toil they invested, both before and after the concerts, under the watchful eye of stage manager Greg Flores:
Years ago I began bringing them snacks to help ease the long day. They were so appreciative, and I discovered that they were also hilarious company and fine musicians in their own right.
As the years progressed I was bestowed with the title "Honorary Crew", one of my favorite to this day.
It is amazing to see how a vacant park is transformed into a performance venue. The set-up starts at around noon.
For a real treat, stay for the tear down after the concert. The choreography is dazzling and the feats of strength amazing (I'm not kidding!).
There was one member of the crew who was virtually invisible during the long years of snack sharing and conversation. Although he was always there, he sat quietly without uttering a word. That is until 5 years ago when the veil was lifted, we looked at each other, and he actually spoke.
We were married 9 months later:
So when you attend the Muni Band concerts in the parks this summer, be kind to the crew.
You never know what kind of return you'll get on your investment!