Tanglewood's Being Packed Up, BSO Bound For Boston

Aug 30, 2017

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has started to pack it in for the summer season. In Lenox, Massachusetts, Tanglewood was put into boxes bound for Boston.

Tanglewood on Parade and the Fourth of July are just memories now, and it’s stage manager John Demick’s job to move the Boston Symphony Orchestra back to home base in Boston.

“Normally this truck would be stacked from the nose to the tail, but we have to leave so many instruments behind,” Demick says.

They're packed into a 53-foot climate-controlled truck. But up until the final concert Sunday, Tanglewood is still going to be swarmed with people.

“We will be sending stuff back in waves this year, as opposed to all at once,” Demick says.

On a recent morning, workers are putting extra chairs and music stands on the truck. They’re dropped, and tossed, moving from hand to hand. But right now, stage hands are methodically and carefully at work.

“Currently, we are packing our cellos and our basses,” Demick says.

It’s like a really expensive game of Tetris, all on the back of an 18-wheeler.

“They have values up to $2 million,” Demick says.

There have been some accidents during Demick’s 17 years. And this year…

“There better not,” Demick says. “That’s all I can say.”

Lighting and sound equipment are eventually brought through the back of the Shed, bound for Boston. The violinists, violists, many of the woodwinds and brass section will pack up their own instruments and take them home.

“One this truck is packed, actually the entire stage will be cleared. The chorus risers will come down, the stage risers will come down. We are going to send all that stuff to storage at Ozawa Hall because after today there is not more activity there,’ Demick says. 

In an interview before the move, Chris Ruigomez, director of Concert Operations and assistant director of Tanglewood, reflected on summer’s end.

“Well, I was in the Army. It’s more like the end of basic training, because it’s so busy,” Ruigomez says. “Not that basic training is bad, and Tanglewood is great, but it’s very busy. It’s actually much busier than the normal season at Symphony Hall. We are so running around so much it doesn’t feel like summer camp.”

Ruigomez and BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe run a tight ship. By the end of the summer, all 100 orchestra members, a handful of administrative staff and 30 other employees get ready for the fall.

Volpe spoke with WAMC’s Alan Chartock this week about the last hurrah.

“The good news is we are coming back next summer,” Volpe says. “And next summer we will be celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, culminating in a massive TV show that will be seen throughout the world. So we will be taking the Berkshires not just through the PBS network but through Europe and Asia and all of that with the celebration of one of the most iconic in the Berkshires: Leonard Bernstein.”

Diana Ross plays tonight at 7; The Avett Brothers on Friday; Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia’s Saturday, and the Boston Pops and Melissa Etheridge close the season out Sunday.

The BSO resumes its Boston schedule September 22nd.