Goal: To accurately turn the pages of the musical scores in rehearsal and performance for the Competitors.
Qualifications: Accomplished musicians; Previous experience as a page turner a must; Ability to demonstrate confidence in their musical ability; Ability to empathize with the Competitors.
I passed. I got the (volunteer) job. Again.
Calgary is home to the Honens International Piano Competition, held every 3 years. Excitement is building in the piano community. It kicks off again in less than a week.
The Honens is different from other Piano Competitions in that the focus is less on launching a solo career and more on launching a well-rounded musician who is able to have a career, at least in part, as a collaborative pianist. Part of the Competition includes playing with a cellist, a violinist, and a singer. For these, music is used. Page-turners are needed.
Somehow, a lot of people, even musicians, seize up at the idea of being a page-turner. There is a fear that they will completely screw up and end up responsible for the demise of someone’s career. It’s actually not that hard. Read the music – stand up at the beginning of the last line – and flip the page from the top right corner (you’ll already have folded over every other corner), giving the performer enough time to see what’s ahead. Oh, and wear black. No dangling jewelry that might swing out and distract the performer or the audience.
So next week, I turn pages for one of the 10 semi-finalists – for his rehearsals and performances with the collaborative musicians. It’s kind of fun to be on that side of the bench sometimes.
*Absolutely no disrespect intended to my friend Julie, who has had the onerous task of organizing page-turners for the Honens. She has called everyone she knows in the piano community and has had to deal with scheduling nightmares, attitudes, and mis-communication in spades. She deserves a medal.