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  • Terri Van Valkinburgh, Assistant Principal Viola

In Gratitude to our Subs and Extras

Imagine, if you will, a place where you do the same work as the people around you but you're mostly invisible to the people you work for. You may get a call with a few hours notice that you're needed to come in and sight-read a performance of a difficult opera. You don't get paid at the same rate, you get no benefits, and on top of all that you're very concerned about making any mistakes for fear of not being asked to come back and play again under these trying circumstances. Not quite The Twilight Zone, it's just a day in the life of a sub at Lyric Opera.

At a recent editorial meeting fueled by alcohol and a criminally small-portioned cheese plate (seriously, the person slicing this must have used an atomic microscope), The Brain Trust here at the newsletter thought it was about time to show some love to our excellent substitute players. Since the opera season coincides with cold and flu season, regular members can come down with something that keeps them home, but we're still able to perform seamlessly because we have such highly skilled subs. And when a Wagner or Strauss score comes along demanding extra players in all sections, we can rely on our extras to come in prepared and not bothered too much by the tight quarters. During any given performance there are usually one or more extra musicians in the pit. We'd like to thank them for their professionalism, grace under fire, and comradeship.

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