Strings Music Festival: Behind the stage doors |

Strings Music Festival: Behind the stage doors

McKendrey McGown
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
A behind-the-scenes view of the Strings Music Festival stage.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Sitting in the audience at Strings Music Festival, you’re embraced by the energy of locals, visitors, musicians and Strings staff. And yet probably none of them know exactly what happens behind the mysterious stage doors.

As stage manager, it’s my job to keep up the magic and to make sure that the chaos and preparation that happens behind scenes doesn’t make it onto the stage. As the audience takes their seats, you’ll find me rummaging around backstage. Perhaps discussing with the artists when they would prefer late seating to begin or attempting to juggle a handful of folders as sheet music spills out, or wracking my brain to remember where each musician sat in the midst of the full orchestra.

Through the chaos of it all, I’m immersed in the atmosphere of music.

Behind stage doors conversations range from discussions about what is more enjoyable in Steamboat, the Old Town Hot Springs or the Pro Rodeo? Sharing a local’s perspective — being born and raised here — on how long the drive to Denver realistically takes. All the while, chatting with the headlining artists mid M&M bite or as they drink the fourth pot of coffee made that day.

Just hours before show time, however, you might see huge ladders clanking around stage to fix lights above, orchestra chairs being unloaded and music folders being placed onto corresponding stands. You might even see me waltzing around the stage with a mop to scrub the puddles of spit from a brass instrument left from a previous concert.

No job is too big or small to ensure that the show goes on.

As I stood backstage during the recent Attacca Quartet performance pondering my unique perspective, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the connection between what goes on behind the mysterious backstage doors, my domain and the magic being enjoyed by each individual that walks through our doors. Without one another, the show wouldn’t be complete, but the experiences are totally unique.

McKendrey McGown is the stage manager at Strings Music Festival. When not at Strings, she can be found chatting with friends on a road trip, lounging by the pool or two-stepping and country dancing all over downtown. She is thrilled to be in Steamboat this summer before she heads back to the University of Wyoming to finish her senior year with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre performance.

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