Strings Music Festival: It’s a small world after all |

Strings Music Festival: It’s a small world after all

Ali Mignone/For Steamboat Today

Fara Tolno and Kissidugu play at Strings Music Festival at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Kissidugu's part of our small world includes Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Congo and Zimbabwe.

It's a small, small world.

Disney's mind-numbingly repetitive song aside, it's pretty neat to work in an industry as small as live entertainment. This past January, I traveled from Steamboat to Atlanta for a stage managing job. While I was scraping ancient spike tape from the stage in preparation for the day's rehearsal (yes, my life is non-stop glamor, thank you for asking), I started chatting with one of the riggers who was putting the finishing touches on a lighting truss. After hearing where I lived, he asked, "Steamboat Springs? Do you know Steve?"

Yes, I do know Steve. And the fact that his question ended up being a real conversation and not the precursor to a punchline is hilarious to me.

It turns out that in his former life as a rock n' roll rigger, Steve Chambers (now Strings' production director) had been out on tour several times with this particular rigger. The two of them connected via text, and pretty soon, the entire Strings office was aware that I had run into an old buddy of Steve's in Atlanta.

Steve has these "small world" moments pretty frequently here at the pavilion, when touring artists come through and compare notes with Steve about who they know in common. But I've also noticed that classical musicians do the same thing — find out who's playing in an orchestra with someone they know or send messages to old friends who have moved on to new symphonies in other towns. The classical music world is small enough that when Music Director Michael Sachs brought in a trumpet player for the orchestra who he knew only by reputation, a mutual friend of theirs planned a couple of pranks with Michael to make the new trumpeter feel "right at home" here in Steamboat rehearsals.

And for the Strings staff, the pavilion is a small industry itself — we run into guild and board members at the grocery store, the doctor's office and happy hour in town. I exchange waves with the owner/operator of the pavilion's cleaning service on the core trail. Volunteers pause to chat at the Post Office, and audience members stop us downtown to share their thoughts on what they'd like to see next on the schedule.

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Most of the professional jobs in the live entertainment industry are clustered in major metropolitan areas — areas that can easily support multiple music or theatre offerings each night, all year long. My arts work has often found me languishing in giant cities while my heart longs to be somewhere in the great outdoors. So it's pretty special to be part of a vibrant arts organization rooted firmly in a mountain community. Thanks, Steamboat, for the best of both (small) worlds.

Ali Mignone is the Stage Manager for Strings Music Festival. When she's not telling roadies and musicians what to do, you can find her hiking, biking or skiing around the Yampa Valley.

This week at Strings

Tuesday, 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. — Fara Tolno and Kissidugu (Youth/Family)

Wednesday, 6 p.m. — Chamber Music with Harp and Guitar (Classical)

Thursday, 12:15 p.m. — Emerald City Opera (Music on the Green)

Thursday, 8 p.m. — Vince Gill (Country + Strings Festival Orchestra)

Friday, 11 a.m. to noon — Open Classical Rehearsal for Families (Free)

Saturday, August 8, 7pm – Strings Festival Orchestra (Classical)