I have put a lot of work into the Salt Lake Pops because I wholeheartedly believe that it can be great. I love that I know who all of the orchestra members are, I like knowing (almost) everything that is going on, and I like being an integral part of the group moving forward. I like so many other things about the job as well, but I won't list everything right now.
When I first joined the group almost two years ago, it was purely for the recording aspect of things. I wanted to record soundtracks -- that has been my goal since I was 13, and it is one of the goals of our founder, Nathaniel Drew. It is extremely hard to start a new group, though, especially when you get people doing things they've never done before, such as recruiting and managing personnel, directing a group, financing, marketing, and more. Nathaniel was doing all of this by himself, and I admire him for it! I can't imagine how he did what he did, especially now that I'm doing the work of the personnel manager. Seeing that he could use some help, though, I took it upon myself to start recruiting.
I have to say, now that I am working as part of the staff in addition to playing with the group, I am so much more invested in the successes and failures of the group as we learn and move forward. My excitement with our first full concert was so much higher, the shortfalls in other areas have been more disappointing, and the anticipation of our next event always puts me that much more on my toes. I am fully invested in this group emotionally, and I believe it will go great places! Whether or not this group makes it (and I know eventually it will!), I will never regret taking on the extra responsibilities that I have. Performing is an amazing feeling, especially in a concert that has gone extremely well. It can't compare, however, to compounding that with knowing that I did everything I could behind the scenes to help make it happen.
With every performance and every music video, we learn something new. That can't always be said about performing. Yes, there are new musical possibilities, and over the years you grow, but the learning curve is so much steeper here... We need to learn quickly, fix things for next time the best we can, and try not to repeat our mistakes while definitely trying to replicate our successes. It is eye-opening, and it is rewarding. I feel that the pressure is higher than performing, as well. With performing, everyone is judging you, and the other musicians are relying on your doing what you need to do. However, as a staff member, if I don't do my job, things could turn sour for an entire event, not just for a few seconds of a single piece. There are dozens of people on the orchestra side, and maybe hundreds of people in the audience, that could be negatively impacted by a job done poorly by any single person on the staff -- especially a staff as small as that of the Salt Lake Pops. We each have a lot to do, many decisions to make, lots of coordinating to do among ourselves as well as with other groups, and changes we have to make (sometimes on the fly) to pull things off. It is time-consuming for all of us, but rewarding, too. With lofty goals, we keep pressing forward.
So, here's to successful Salt Lake Pops performances in the future, both from the staff and the musicians!