May 19, 2021
In my last blog post I wrote about The Discovery Orchestra’s many wonderful partners. I also referenced our first ever live radio broadcast from the WWFM studios, and that’s what I’d like to write about today.
If you’ve never been part of a live broadcast, I recommend it, especially if you’re suffering from low adrenalin. This was quite a different environment from recording our Discovery Concerts distributed by American Public Television. There’s no doubt that those sessions are ultra-high pressure situations. For one, the proverbial taxi meter is running. By union regulation when recording for television, our orchestra is paid in 15-minute increments of time… any major error could be quite expensive. But we also know that we can go back and redo a segment if it’s not quite right. And once in the editing room, if we don’t like a given camera shot, there are often alternative shots from which to choose.
The live radio broadcast was a very different animal. Knowing that there would be only one take of everything added a lot of intensity to the moment for me and for the members of The Discovery Orchestra Quartet. Oh, I suppose that for our musicians, the sensation was not that different than any of our other live concerts. However, there was something about my knowing that the show must “time out” exactly, including: the entire two-hour script, a 30-second station break occurring somewhere near the one-hour mark, announcements at the conclusion, as well as all of the musical excerpts, that made me have “shpilkes,” the Yiddish word for a state of impatience, agitation, anxiety or any combination thereof!
I needed to constantly keep one eye on our WWFM producer David Osenberg for hand signals to talk faster or slower, improvise for a while, or skip something. And the thoughts that went racing through my mind! Thoughts like: “Did I just mispronounce a word? Oops, I said that last rhythm incorrectly! Uh-oh! Almost left out the 2nd playthrough of the solo piano selection.” These were the kinds of notions roaming through my head that I had to banish immediately in order to stay focused in the present moment. Any rehashing or clinging to those thoughts would court disaster. I intend to get completely comfortable with the process of live broadcasting, but this was definitely… a first!