I never knew I had a fear of heights until tonight, when the Hawaii Masterworks Chorus had a rehearsal for tomorrow’s concert with the Dublin Symphony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. I was anxious to set up a few registrations, try out the organ, and see how well I would be able to see the conductor.
Admittedly, my heart started racing as I climbed step after step of the narrow, winding stairway to the organ loft. There are a total of 44 steps up to the level of the console. From this vantage point, I would guess that the organ console is located at the equivalent of about six or seven stories up. Yikes! My back is “protected” by an iron grate, with the drop just about 16″ away. I dare not look down!
Luckily there is an excellent video camera system, with a joystick to adjust the angle of the camera on the conductor. But still, there is a delay in what I see versus what I hear. Most unfortunately, though, the monitor is located on the far left of the music desk and cannot be brought closer to my line of vision. Every time I turn my eyes away from the music to look at the screen, then try to look back at the music, I get lost because my neck has to swivel so far back! Not good.
I came back to the hotel with a very sore, aching neck and shoulders. Owwwww!
Hey, I should not be complaining! I should be grateful that there IS a camera after all. And there are organ lofts in European cathedrals which are A LOT higher up and with many more steps!