The only regret I have in planning this concert tour is not including enough slack to sightsee. It has been solid work: practising, rehearsing, performing, networking, and traveling. We specifically tell our friends that this is not a vacation. Our goal is to break even and survive as classical musicians. So far we have not been disappointed. However, it has taken a lot of work to make it happen.
Over a year ago in Den Bosch, a city south of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, I had asked the director of a vocal competition what it took to go on an international tour as a performing musician. She replied, “Get an agent.”
I did not believe her. Getting an agent is catch-22. You have to be good enough for an agent to want you. And to be good enough, you need an agent. Could we prove otherwise?
I decided to do it ourselves. Instead of hiring an agent to help us plan a concert tour of the USA, I figured out what agents did. Booking concerts requires finding venues and concert producers. The established ones are those that everyone else knows about and compete for. Competition means long lead times. We did not have time. We had six months to use our US visas before they would expire worthless.
Where would we start? What happens first — book the plane tickets before the fares go up or get a concert first?
Apply for funding? That is wishful thinking. We did not have enough time.
As I reflect back, I am amazed that we managed to give more than a dozen concerts as a duo and several as soloists.
On the 33rd day of our tour, we finally gave in. We decided to treat ourselves to an afternoon of sightseeing in San Francisco. The weather was not so conducive — it hovered in the 40’s (Fahrenheit) – barely 10 degrees Celsius with rain and grey skies. On the F tram from Market Street and Civic Center to the Fisherman’s Wharf, we decided to interview each other.