Monday, April 02, 2018

Don't Forget the Backflips

You won't find a more seasoned or eloquent page turner these days than Liz Parker in Toronto. Liz's recent article for looks at the challenges and rewards of turning, both for family and for visiting artists. On last-minute gigs:
Page-turners are often an afterthought; the number of times I’ve received a last-minute message pleading for my services with little notice. I have sprinted several city blocks to get to the concert on time, with no prep. I’ve seen page-turners clearly not dressed for the occasion. Don’t blame them; they likely stepped in with no warning, though some of the outfits I’ve seen are unacceptable anyway. I’ve seen page turners take a bow with the pianist (which we deserve, but is a major no-no), or scoot onstage after the pianist is seated, and scoot back off after the pianist has reached backstage. I go by the newly-hatched-chick method of imprinting: I follow the pianist around closely (which may seem weird but hey, I’ve gotten lost backstage).
Some timely advice as well:
It takes skill and finesse, people.  
My advice for pianists? Be really nice to your turner. My other bro, Jon, always posts on Facebook a picture of himself with the page-turner de jour, to thank them. Mark your music CLEARLY for the turner, especially the repeats (Jamie uses super obvious markings in bright red). I appreciate directions such as “stand now” or “NO TURN” or “back three pages” or “UNFOLD THE BOTTOM FLAP SECTION NOW”. (When you’re onstage, that instruction makes sense.)

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