Monthly Archives: August 2014


By Ali Mignone
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Apologies to Benjamin Franklin, but I have to add “and Steamboat summer will be too short, regardless of how wonderfully it seems to stretch out before you at the beginning of June.”


So here I am, in the last week of Strings’ summer concert season, wondering what happened to summer? How did it go by so fast? How many more hikes and bike rides and walks in the Botanic Park and happy hours on the patio can I get in before the snow flies?

To help me understand where my summer went, I tried to wrap up the Strings’ season with a few backstage-oriented numbers, starting with 45 concerts and events in 56 days:

  • 480 musician chair moves
  • 155 artists through the pavilion
  • 83 hours of onstage rehearsal
  • 42 Steinway 9’ concert grand piano moves
  • 24 bags of potato chips
  • 12 cases of bottled water
  • 9 Stage Manager’s columns in The Steamboat Pilot & Today
  • 8 cases of soda
  • 4 pounds of coffee
  • 3 rolls of black gaff tape
  • 2 canisters of oxygen
  • 1 classical concert interrupted by an audience member’s Facetime pocket-dial

Impossible to calculate: miles of mic cables run, interesting conversations about music, number of times an artist said, “Your audience is awesome!”

Remaining confidential: cases of beer/wine consumed…

When I really think about it, I know exactly where my time went. It went to music. Rock-n-roll, bluegrass, orchestra, chamber music, and everything in between. And that’s a pretty good way to spend some of my precious, precious Steamboat summer.

But there’s still some summer left, so watch out for me on Emerald; now that Strings’ season is over, I’ll be cramming in some mountain biking until the trails close for winter!

Posted on August 11, 2014
Bookmark and Share

Strings Music Festival











By Ali Mignone

Among the athletic elite citizens of Steamboat, I often feel like a Corgi who accidentally wandered into a Greyhound pack. But since my main reason for exercising is so that I can consume alarming amounts of cheese and wine without having to buy new (larger) pants every month, I’m fine with just tagging along.

Given my bacchanal inclinations, you can imagine that I’m not particularly disciplined about my exercise routine, as long as I do something strenuous and sweaty pretty often. So I was pleased to discover that my position as Stage Manager at Strings Music Festival came with a built-in exercise class: Moving Chairs.

With multiple performances onstage and rehearsals, rentals, load-ins, and dress rehearsals happening in between, here’s what the chair round-up looked like two weeks ago:


  • 10 chairs on
  • 10 chairs off


  • 10 chairs on
  • 10 chairs off

Wednesday (dress rehearsal + performance = doubling up on stage moves!)

  • 20 chairs on
  • 20 chairs off
  • 42 chairs on (for next day’s rehearsal)


  • No moves! A “rest” day…

Friday (classical rehearsal + Different Tempo concert = doubling up on stage moves!)

  • Shift 26 chairs to accommodate piano onstage with 42 other musicians
  • 42 chairs off
  • 42 chairs on after Different Tempo show

Saturday (dress rehearsal + performance = doubling up on stage moves!)

  • Shift 52 chairs (26 chairs from “with piano” to “without piano” position twice)
  • 42 chairs off

By the end of that week, the Strings crew had moved 326 chairs. Because I’m the one who gets to write this column, I claim half as my own: I moved at least 163 chairs. At 15 pounds apiece, that’s 2,445 pounds. By my estimate, moving over a ton of anything earns me the right to eat as much cheese as I can carry. Brilliant!

And this list doesn’t include the piano and the music stands—I’m telling you that this is the best gig in the business. Working with world-class musicians, technicians and staff; hearing amazing live music of all genres; and getting my workout in at the same time? Who else can say that?

Now if I can only convince Strings to open a second venue across town so that I can get some cardio in, my cross-training plan for ski season will be complete…


Posted on August 6, 2014
Bookmark and Share


Author: Year: