Hinano Ishii is the NSO Operations Intern.
As the 2013-2014 Season comes to a finale, the National Symphony Orchestra salutes seven extraordinary orchestra veterans who have served between 28 and 47 years in the NSO. Marcia Farabee, one of the seven departing members, has played a significant role in the orchestra that is often unrecognized by audiences – the Principal Music Librarian.
Our tireless librarians are the people behind the music making. Marcia, along with our two other librarians Elizabeth Schnobrick and Danielle Wilt, prepare music for the entire orchestra. In addition to acquiring the exact music score, the librarians also mark accurate bowings for strings, transpositions, conductor cuts, page turns, and any other markings required in the orchestra parts. In honor of her retirement, I've asked Marcia if she could share her favorite NSO memories!
1990 NSO Russia Tour
Growing up during the Cold War, Marcia never imagined herself going to Russia until the NSO tour in 1990. She recalls the orchestra's concert on the Red Square to be one of the most amazing experiences in her lifetime. Mstislav Rostropovich, or better known as "Slava,"was a Russian cellist and NSO Music Director at the time who was exiled from Russia because of his public oppositions to the Soviet Union's restriction in the arts. This was the first time in decades that Slava conducted in his homeland Russia, making this emotional experience extraordinary for all.
NSO Residency Programs: From Alaska to Louisiana
Marcia absolutely loved the NSO residency programs; the orchestra took great pride in making a musical impact on people who may never have the opportunity to hear an orchestra performance again. Working with the states' arts council allowed the musicians to become involved with people at every corner of the United States, which of course came with many stories. When the NSO trombones landed in Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost city in the U.S. Brrr!), they were greeted by a polar bear. At a different residency, people on porches with welcome signs warmly cheered the orchestra as the NSO tour buses pulled into the small-town of Marksville, Louisiana. Marcia expressed, "You see the impact on people, and you know why you want to do this...this was a huge event in their lives."
1988 Touring the Mediterranean
In August of 1988, Marcia remembers the NSO performances in the Acropolis of Athens and Pompei to be "truly amazing." Despite the physical discomfort of the hot weather, the orchestra had a phenomenal time performing in these ancient cities because "it's something that never happens!"
Working backstage during rehearsals and concerts has given Marcia the opportunity to talk to hundreds of world-class artists and conductors. She finds it fascinating to see the different sides of musicians (on-stage and off-stage) and to gain a glimpse of what makes them who they are. She hopes to preserve this incredible vision vivid in her mind throughout her lifetime.
Marcia plans to continue her contribution to orchestras by providing guidance and creative consulting for small to medium orchestras. Best wishes to you, Marcia, and thank you for your service to the NSO!