I love these sort of posts from Michael Hovnanian. Funny, quirky, and irreverent, Michael really does an excellent job of blogging about life as a bassist in a major symphony orchestra. You can here Michael’s three-part Contrabass Conversations interview on his CBC page here.
Now, about those curious Chicago Symphony ‘bass boxes’. Michael writes:
Sometimes I wonder if we bassists surround ourselves with all sorts of specialized equipment as an antidote to the general dreariness of playing the instrument. Could all of the special chairs, oversized cases, endpin rests, bass bibs, bow quivers, grinding wheels, etc. etc., signify some desperate search for fulfillment? I have no idea, and that isn’t really even the subject of this post.
When a question came in about our ‘bass boxes’, visible in one of the tour photos, I realized my negligence in not bringing them up sooner.
Click here to read the rest of Michael’s post.
I’ve always seen these boxes backstage at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, crammed in the corner along with the CSO bass stools as I play some random gig or other at the venue. Lots of freelancers sit on them while waiting to go onstage for non-Chicago Symphony events–I’ll bet that this isn’t something that the CSO guys would particularly want their boxes used for!
Most of my orchestra gigs set chairs out for this purpose, giving bassists a place to dump all of their various trinkets. Tuners, towels, rosin cakes, and the like cover chairs at my gigs, sometimes prompting comments from the audience regarding “messiness” in the bass area. Audience members will complain about anything…
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