Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tech Talk: Automotive Double Trouble & Highway Sweatshirts

Another installment of "Tech Talk" by me, Rebecca Kopycinski, VSO Summer Festival Tour Technical Director. The most memorable happenings on tour are usually the ones that involve a crisis situation. One such event that has gone down in history occurred in Grafton, Vermont – a town which, at that time, was a cell phone black hole (a tower has since been affixed to the roof of the Old Tavern!). Our truck stopped and refused to start as we left the concert field. It was midnight or so, July 3, two and a half hours from home. Thankfully, the problem was diagnosed and we moved along (we added water to the coolant reservoir!). Ever since that near-tragedy, I’ve been very aware of our vehicle functionality, hoping to avoid possible crises. The crew travels in two vehicles: a 26-foot Ryder truck with a ramp and lift gate and a Dodge Caravan. As a precaution, and because the inspection is due in June, we always take the van in for servicing before the tour. This year it was also fitted with new brake rotors. Long story short, several people assured me that a horrible odor and some smoke emitting from the wheel wells is normal for new rotors. Two weeks later, the thing is billowing smoke. Needless to say, I’ll post pictures of our loaner vehicle later!! One never wants to test the limit of shoddy brakes on a very long journey! And our truck, oh our truck. It bucks. Around 40 mph. We’ll be dropping it off around midnight this evening at Ryder for a quick check-up tomorrow morning. Boo. If the problem can’t be fixed by 9 a.m., they will give us a new truck. Boo. This means unloading and reloading 26 feet of gear before 9 a.m. Boo. I’ll keep you updated.

Moving on to more pleasant topics, our VSO merchandise is looking fantastic this year! See pictures below and don’t hesitate to stop in at our merchandise tent at any of the concerts. Part of the title of this post is “Highway Sweatshirts” because I realized the yellow screenprinted hoodie is reminiscent of the road with a dark heather material emblazoned with a double yellow line screenprint!

Keep reading!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Behind the Scenes on Summer Tour" segment from VSO On Stage

The day has FINALLY come! Today, my crew and I ("I" being Rebecca Kopycinski, Technical Director for the forthcoming 2009 TD Banknorth Summer Festival Tour) meet for the first time to gather the items we need for a successful tour. What might this list of sundry items include? The obvious: chairs, stands, timpani, bug spray, etc. The not-so-obvious: clothespins (to keep sheet music from blowing away!), a hatchet (hey, when you're camping in a field...), a small bin for trash (for when the musician port-o-pottie has no trash receptacle), and lots and lots of little orange flags (instant parking lot). Every year I'm amazed at our traveling caravan made up of musicians, several crews, staff, volunteers, and...YOU! I hope to be able to keep you posted with pictures and commentary during the tour, you know, "Tech Talk." Until my next entry, here's a little segment from our TV show, On Stage. It features me and Assistant Principal Second Violinist Mary Gibson rapping about our side of things -- the behind-the-scenes part of tour that's about to take center stage!

Keep reading!