Posted by: scribe9 | August 21, 2010

North for the day

Rick’s been in the community orchestra for months, and this weekend he has two concerts. In the tradition of opening out of town, the Saturday concert was in the small town of Kerikeri, an hour and a half north.

There are no roadies for the orchestra, so we went up early to help set up the risers for the orchestra and community choir that would sing in half of the concert. The concert hall was pretty impressive, and only five years old.

I’ve seldom been on a stage, so I explored a bit. On one side were the ropes for the lighting bars and curtains (and I don’t know all the technical terms). I saw several labeled “tormentor.” The stage manager told me that that was a narrow horizontal piece that was lowered so that the lights wouldn’t torment the audience.

Rick had to stick around for sound tests and a last practice, so I walked into town for lunch. I stopped at a cafe for a chicken salad and a glass of the local orange juice (a bit bitter–the season is young). My plan was to hang out in the library until just before the concert started at three.

I got to the Procter Library, and discovered it closed at 2. No problem; I’d go to another cafe afterward, which I knew had good tea and an excellent caramel slice.

The library itself wasn’t bad. I found a good spot in the mezzanine, where the non-fiction books were shelved. The mezzanine was divided into little u-shaped areas by bookshelves perpendicular to the outer wall and the inner railing. At first I couldn’t figure out why the call numbers skipped around, and then I noticed that above each call number was a colored strip of paper. On the outer wall of each area was a sign for the area’s color and subject matters. The Pink Room was “Beliefs, Religions, Languages, Literature and Folklore.” Among the subheadings was “Prayers and Meditations, 242 [For secular inspiration, 158, visit the Orange Room]”.

At two I went in search of tea, only to discover that the town pretty much closes down then–no tea and slice for me. New Zealand didn’t allow Saturday shop openings until 1980, and New Zealanders don’t believe in working too long.

I went back to the concert hall and hung out backstage with Rick until fifteen minutes before the curtain. There was a bar where I got a cup of tea. They allow people to take their drinks into the auditorium–first I’d ever seen that.

The concert was pretty good, I’d guess, for a community production. I thought I had had enough Chopin back when I was playing all his waltzes and mazurkas, but I loved his first piano concerto. The pianist, a local, was quite good, and she was playing a very nice Steinway. The national piano contest is held in that hall every year, and the piano is kept in a temperature-controlled room and has its own custodian.

The concert drew about 150-200 people, most of whom were elderly. Kerikeri has a lot of retiress with some money; it’s quite different from most places in Northland.

Tomorrow–setting up and playing the concert again, this time in the home town.



  1. The Palmerston North library is organized the same way! 200 is next to 700, and biographies are actually over in the fiction section. I admit to liking the US sequential system better 😉

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