Mission to MOLA

As I creep towards decrepitude (I'm nearly 56!) I look back at at fabulous 40 year professional life as a bass player, and I have seen some amazing places and met some incredible people, including being privileged to meet and shake hands with Ella Fitzgerald.

Since 2005 I have been in a "day job" as well, as Performance Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly known as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) where I manage all performance material and advise on copyright and associated institutions (PRS, PPL) as well as doing lots of gigs at night.

Right now, I'm pretty excited as I've flown out to New Orleans for the MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarian's Association) Conference which is happening over the weekend of 11-14th May.

It is great to get the chance to meet people doing the same job as me, as there is normally only one in any institution, so one tends to be a bit "out on a limb"! At the conference there will be many interesting sessions, on new media licensing and Latin American orchestral music, to name but two. Also as part of the agenda, I have the chance to attend various concerts taking place in the city, and one that I dare not miss is the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra - a name to be reckoned with!

I shall be doing a daily update to this blog whilst in the USA, and let you know all of the news and events as they happen. This will include any gigs I attend, especially if I get some good traditional Dixie Jazz.

The fun started when I flew into Louis Armstrong International Airport - as the great man himself said often, "and that's Jazz!"

Friday, 11 May 2012

Day one in the Big Easy

Like I said last time, my room is fab with a bed so huge one can actually sleep in a completely circular fashion without falling over an edge anywhere! I'm on the 28th floor, with an amazing view over the city, and in particular up Canal Street (anyone want to take a 12 bar chorus ?!?) As I slept like the proverbial log, I am having breakfast (caramel frappuchino & cookies - blow the diet!) in the hotel Starbucks and then I'm off out to explore. The weather forecast is warm, humid and a 20% chance of rain and/or thunderstorms. I have a Tilley hat, and I'm not afraid to wear it! Will update this later with news of the Crescent City and the first meetings of the conference. No, I hadn't forgotten that's why I'm here! Oh, and thanks to Susan and Karen for comments - very gratefully received.

Well it's now the end of the day here so it's the wee small hours at home. It has been a busy but fun one - this afternoon I was sight seeing on my own and had a great time. Within about 5 minutes of leaving the hotel I'd decided that this would not be my only visit to New Orleans - why? I went into a shop called Voodoo Market and the 'house muzak' was playing "Down by the Riverside" and then "Sweet Georgia Brown" both classic Dixie/ Trad charts. Wow - I was well impressed!

After recovering from that I set off on safari into the French Quarter where there seemed to be live music on every street corner, ranging from a 6 piece trad band to a fella with a guitar and a lass with a painted on moustache playing a saw with a cello bow. I resisted the temptation to tell her she would get a better sound with a bass bow!

The French Quarter is an area that reeks of local history as well as seeming to be a magnet for all things cultural, abounding in galleries, antiques, curios and of course the ubiquitous trinket shops with a fair sprinkling of tat amongst some good stuff. My afternoon snack(reward) was a visit to an ice cream/ gelato shop. I picked the one that sounded the most interesting (and yes, Stuart, it was the most expensive) called Afagato - it turned out to br a large ball of chocolate ice cream in a cup with a shot of freshly brewed espresso poured over it. Fabulous!

The 20% chance of rain really should have been about 85% as it "fair chucked it down" but unlike British rain it was warm and didn't hurt - a distinct plus. So I've now bought an umbrella - now it won't rain again!

This evening saw the first conference function with a reception held in the Historic New Orleans Collection, in a very elegant "chambre" lined with wonderful artwork mostly from the early to mid 1800s. It was also an opportunity to sample some local cuisine...... Oh yes, meet and chat with fellow performance librarians from as far aparts as Texas, Canada, Spain and discuss copyright, editions of operas, and many other librarianly delights.

I also spent time with a lovely young lady who works in the HNOC, named Ashley. She is considerably younger than I, but we seemed to strike up an instant kinship, enhanced by the fact we discovered that we both had the same odd shaped thumbs! Weird or what?!? Tomorrow brings many topics and for me a highlight may well be an educational break-out session where I shall spend time and swap thoughts and ideas with colleagues doing pretty much the same job as me. 'Twill be interesting to know their thoughts, feelings and practices. So I wind down the day with a bottle of Budweiser and then it's off to sleep. Bonne nuit!


  1. Your room sounds great and with a fantastic view. Good job you don't have a fear of heights 8-P. I hope the sun stays out and you don't get rained on. I assume you will be wearing more than just the Tilley? We don't want to attract the attention of the NOPD, do we, hehe?
    Glad you are getting the comments, cos they don't seem to register on the blogsite at this end?!? Or is that just me?? 8-) Sx

  2. No it was my fault. I've just leaned how to do it! L x

  3. What a shame about the rain - I thought the sun always shone in America? However the brolly should do the trick, as you say, hehe! It's great for you to meet like-minded people from all round the world - will you line some of them up as holiday swaps? You could get a few nice trips out of it 8-) Sx

  4. Yes it's been a great conference and I do hope to stay in contact with a number of people. I feel as though I have learned a lot and made friends to boot. By the way the umbrella is doing its job well and happy Mothers Day from the USA! L xxx


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