And I don’t mean Carlos the Jackal. I’m referring to our guest conductor this week, the thoroughly enjoyable Carlos Miguel Prieto. We had a very unusual start to our first concert with Carlos in Portland tonight (we played in Salem Friday evening). As the lights came down, who should stroll out on stage instead of the usual presence of our president Elaine Calder? It was music director Carlos Kalmar who gave the greeting and introduction (and the sinister warning that he would be watching the patrons in case a cell phone were to ring during the concert). He departed the stage, and then the other Carlos came out, instead of our associate concertmaster Peter Frajola, and proceeded to tune the orchestra and sit down in the first chair. By this point the musicians in the orchestra were already laughing, and the audience was slowing getting the point that something was up. Then Peter came out, baton in hand, and traded off with the Prieto. It was a bit of hijinks that rarely happens at a symphonic concert, and was a lot of fun, at least for those of us on stage.
I won’t write anything in detail about this series of concerts until Sunday night, but I will encourage you to get a ticket if you haven’t already done so. Our guitar soloist, Sharon Isbin, is absolutely phenomenal – you will kick yourself if you don’t get to hear her. In addition, the Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition will knock your freakin’ socks off. No kidding. If the Schnitz has a roof left by Monday night’s concert, I’ll be seriously surprised (and maybe a little bit disappointed, too).