By Susan Synnestvedt
I get very stressed about what to pack for a tour. I don’t enjoy shopping, especially where I don’t speak the language (which is any Asian country!) so feel I have to bring everything I might need for the upcoming 3-week odyssey. I obsess over which coat, shoes, party dresses, and toiletries to pack. The concert clothes are easy. Management provides each Musician with half of a double wardrobe trunk, a wheeled armoire for two divided in the middle and with individual locked access, which our Stage Crew transports to each concert hall. So, concert clothes and shoes go into the trunk. But there’s space left for other things, so we cram in whatever else could be useful on the tour: food, books, an extra coat, boots, etc. This tour starts in humid, balmy Taipei, Taiwan, where the highs might be in the 70s (if we’re lucky!), and ends in frigid Seoul, Korea, which should feel like home.
I start packing at least a week before a tour. I put things into a suitcase as I think of them, to be transported to the hall and into my trunk. I also start a carry-on bag for things I will need during the long trip: contact solution, medications, reading material, and the like. As a violinist with a finicky, troublesome neck, I’ve found that bringing my own memory foam pillow is very important. I have to bring a suitcase that’s large enough to fit my pillow and some clothes, but not so heavy that I can’t manage it!
Donors and Board Members of the CSO often travel along with us on a Patrons Tour, although on a somewhat different itinerary and in separate hotels. These generous Patrons attend select tour concerts and often want to celebrate with Members of the Orchestra afterwards. Sometimes they want only a small group of Musicians to join them for an intimate dinner, and other times they invite the whole Orchestra for a big reception. Not wanting to wear concert clothes (boring!), I usually pack a couple nice cocktail dresses. I’ve been given inside information that Maestro Muti will be giving a party after the last tour concert in Korea. Maestro often ends a tour with a special dinner for the Musicians and CSO staff, which is always bellissimo! At the end of our 2012 tour of Russia and Italy, Maestro Muti gave a dinner in his hometown of Ravenna that lasted until two in the morning (most of us only slept a few hours before our return to the States)!
Until I board the plane at O’Hare, I will be thinking and re-thinking my tour needs. But once the flight takes off, I will relax and enjoy the start of another exciting CSO tour!
photo by Sue Synnestvedt