Inside the Houston Symphony

Taking you behind the music–one concert at a time!

Posts Tagged ‘going green

A plane ride to NYC … hardly plain!

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Glenn Taylor, the Symphony’s Senior Director of Marketing, also took the trip up north and sent in photos and his personal take on the experience. Keep an eye out for more posts from Glenn in the future!

Houston Symphony's very own Aurelie, Amanda and Steve enjoying their time backstage at Carnegie Hall.

As I and 50 or so musicians began to board Continental flight 40 Wednesday morning, I wondered what would keep me occupied for the 3 hour trip to Newark airport. I was filled with excitement to be accompanying the orchestra to Carnegie Hall, but the plane ride itself … ehhh. The most I was hoping for was a smooth ride, to catch some zzz’s and get a bit of work done. Well, and that the provided in-flight snack would be yummy in my tummy of course. (Turns out it was a chicken wrap… not bad, Continental!)

Then the real excitement would begin once we got to New York and Carnegie, right? Well, not exactly.

Not that anything bad happened with the flight. It was a nice flight. But something occurred that I didn’t expect … a wonderful connection was made, and I ended up learning more about the behind-the-scenes life of a Symphony musician than I ever have done hanging around backstage at Jones Hall.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Ellie Herrera. Ellie’s a cellist in the orchestra, but we had never met before. Even though I’ve been working with the Symphony for almost 6 years now, it’s not uncommon to still not know everyone in the orchestra. We both looked at each other and said “Are you here with the Houston Symphony tour?” … “Yes.”

Turns out that Ellie’s a substitute cellist, but has been playing with the orchestra for a full season or two now. Her connections to the Houston Symphony go deeper than that though. Her father was a violinist, and had moved their family from England to Houston back in the late 70s to take a job as Co-Concertmaster with the orchestra. (How cool!) You can still hear Ellie’s British accent, albeit a bit hidden now behind her Houston Texas dialect.

Ellie’s mom wasn’t a professional musician per say, but also had ties to music through her love of playing the piano. And she was supportive of her husband’s music career. Ellie told me that the last time her mom went to Carnegie was to hear him perform with the Houston Symphony. Now, her mom has come along again to New York, but this time to hear her daughter perform with the Symphony. (Again … how cool!) That history and legacy with the orchestra and Carnegie is a neat backdrop to the entire experience this week. And imagine all the other similar connections and stories that may exist with every musician in the orchestra.

Back to the plane. After 3 hours of sharing back and forth with Ellie about our respective families, the environment, favorite Houston spots, and other randomness … we realized the flight was almost over. I don’t think I’ve ever spent an entire flight in discussion with the person next to me. I feel privileged that I could get to know one of our amazing musicians on that level. And now we’ve agreed to meet with our respective spouses at a Houston farmer’s market sometime soon. Turns out this cellist goes green. Nice.

The orchestra has just landed in Florida and is now gearing up for their next two performances–Saturday at the Kravis Center and Sunday at the Broward Center. Stay tuned for more updates–including a recap of the concert at Carnegie Hall!


Written by glenn taylor

January 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm