Ed, Knowing that youâ€™ve recently moved into a new hall at CalArts and seeing MrCleanâ€™s avatar from his first outing in the new Disney Hall last season, I thought you would enjoy my story about my orchestra moving into the brand new Mesa Arts Center. Itâ€™s been a very long time since my last orchestra concert and for that matter playing with any organized ensemble in performance (March!). The orchestra that I play with had some serious financial problems at the end of last season and we lost our music director and executive director. The plan was to move into our â€œnew homeâ€ beginning this season, and I was wondering if it would happen at all. I typically play 3rd trumpet and looking at the schedule, it didnâ€™t look like I would be needed until the New Years Eve concert. I received a call last week, and the 2nd trumpet player had a conflict, so I was now venturing into new waters (who would be conducting us, what would the hall be like, etc.). Wow! I was absolutely amazed at the past week that I have had. Our guest conductor (Cal Stewart Kellogg) was one of the best that I have ever worked with. His background is in opera and he has worked with some of the best groups in the world (Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, NYC Opera, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and a host of others). This guy was amazing! He really held us to demanding standards, and the group responded very well. I think this is the best that I have ever heard the group! We were doing Beethoven 3 (Eroica) and Mendelssohn 4 (Italian). I love playing 2nd trumpet on these pieces. Following the interpretation of the conductor to the letter was extremely fun. Iâ€™ve had big issues with the principal trombone in the past regarding intonation (he sits right beside me), and I was so glad that based on the literature selected I didnâ€™t have to endure a week of intonation torture. Itâ€™s nice to present a really good musical product without having to worry about one person muddying the waters. Saturday morning was the dress rehearsal in the new $94 million Mesa Art Center. Wow! This place is beautiful. The main hall has 1600 seats and has two balconies. I wish I would have taken pictures to post here, but youâ€™ll read why I didnâ€™t. The acoustic was incredible, and I could really hear everyone on stage. The ring coming back from the hall was great. I would easily say that this is the best hall that I have ever performed in (clearly on par with Gammage). The orchestra was playing very well and our conductor didnâ€™t let up at all, holding us to demanding standards. This would have been a perfect week if it werenâ€™t for a bad case of the stomach flu thatâ€™s been going around. My 5-year-old had it on Wednesday night. My 3-year-old got it on Thursday. My Wife was sick on Friday. Yep, you guessed it. About 5:30 PM on Saturday (after passing on dinner) I started feeling bad. After many trips to the bathroom I threw on my tux at 6:30 PM and drove to the hall (with a bucket in the car). When I got to the hall, I quickly surveyed the bathroom situation. There was ONE toilet back stage (male / female)!!!! I went on stage with my horn, played a few notes and told the first trumpet player that this was going to be a very interesting evening. About 2 minutes later, I quickly exited the stage, and headed for the bathroom. There were 6 people standing in line! I made my way outside and found a bench by some bushes in a secluded area of the new facility. After I did my business, I came back in and found the 1st trumpet player in the hall. He was sweating (literally) and said he wasnâ€™t feeling well. What a pair we were! At this point I was feeling much better, but not having had any dinner or anything to drink, I was feeling really weak. Itâ€™s amazing what your mind can accomplish when the odds are in favor of a less than stellar performance. Based on my thorough preparation, I could have played this concert on autopilot. Well, thatâ€™s just what happened! I didnâ€™t have to think about anything. I just played with the strong sound ringing in my head. I had to sit on stage with my head down for most of the concert because I was literally drained of all my energy. But when the horn came up, there was my familiar resonant sound. The first trumpet player ended up playing very well too, and it was a good first outing in the new hall. I wish it had been under different circumstances, but itâ€™s nice to finally be back into the orchestra season with a positive outlook for the year!