The Library Facelift

By William Norris, Managing Director

One of the rather crucial elements of putting on a concert is of course the music – as in, the sheet music. It’s probably not something people give a lot of thought to – it’s just there, the musicians play from it, it’s taken for granted. But of course it has to come from somewhere, and most orchestras, Tafelmusik included, have some sort of music library.

Now this blog is not going to get into the detail of how the library works or how it is catalogued or looked after – that’s perhaps the subject of a future post. But it is going to touch on the physical library.

As you may know, Tafelmusik’s offices live in the basement of the Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, and tucked behind the office is a room known as the ‘Orchestra Room’. Its name is slightly misleading however, because actually it’s primary purpose is as Tafelmusik’s Music Library – ably looked after by our Librarian Charlotte Nediger, assisted by Cristina Zacharias.

I say prime purpose because the room also does serve as a space for the orchestra to use – for the men to change and get ready before concerts and also for the orchestra as a whole to hang out and grab a refreshment during rehearsal breaks.

Added to that it has a third purpose – the only real meeting room for our offices. So, as you can imagine it’s a busy space.

As with many arts organizations we focus on investing on what goes on on stage – that’s why we exist. So our offices aren’t what you’d call glitzy or high spec. No downtown skyscraper for us! But we decided that the time had come to give our Orchestra Room a little refresh as it had become quite a dark and cluttered space and not a very nice to meet, work or hang out in.

Luckily we have a bit of a project management star in our office team – a certain Mara Brown. With her help and lots of input from musicians we worked up a plan for a refit. This was no small undertaking – the window of opportunity was small. The library is in such heavy use most of the year that big disruption is just not possible. Plus we had to remove ALL the music, store it and then put it back.

All the work was completed (amazingly) within a two week window. The biggest task was perhaps undertaken by Charlotte and Cristina who had to unpack all the stored music after the construction period, find the best way to utlise the new shelf-space(it’s deeper than before so tissue boxes were used in some places as a crafty way and then put all the music back in the right order.

That done the room is now ready for use. Many of the best things are the little things. So we now have lighting that reaches the end of the room. We have full-length mirrors (so no excuses for not looking immaculate gentlemen of the orchestra!), and for the first time all the musicians have a shelf to call their own to store their instrument and personal effects. And we have a lot more storage space – so as we continue to explore our repertoire and add to our library we now have room to store our exciting new musical discoveries.

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