By Laine Sulz
Beneath Powell Hall's foyer, in a dimly lit hallway, lives the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Library and its dedicated team of librarians. This small treasure trove of orchestra parts and scores houses thousands pf pieces of music, all patiently waiting to be prepared and played.
This year, the library has a new, yet familiar face joining them. Aaron Wolz, a violist in the SLSO's Youth Orchestra works as the first YO Library Intern.
Aaron's role is to prepare the sheet music for each of the musicians in the YO. His day typically begins by checking what his supervisor, Amanda Tallant, Assistant Librarian, has ready for him to prepare, copy, and bind.
The preparation begins by studying the piece and checking for markings made by SLSO musicians. The markings, which indicate dynamics, phrasing, and which direction to bow, must be transferred to the parts curated for the YO. Once the markings and bowings are transferred, the music is ready to be scanned and copied for practice parts. Aaron then uses a binding machine to tape the music together in a book-like fashion, making for easy page-turns on stage.
The entire process involves hands-on care and focus to ensure each musicians part is properly marked, copied, and bound.
Aaron explains how this opportunity allows him to see the true inner workings of an orchestra. "I now see how much works it takes to have music readily available for any situation," he says. "I also never realized how heavy paper can be!"
Aaron plans to become a professional violist in the future. With this internship, he says he'll be much more aware of how music is treated. "I used to not care and just shove it in my backpack—not anymore. There is a lot of work that goes into each piece, work that someone has to be there to do."
Amanda marks Aaron as a highly valuable member of the SLSO's library team. "He knows exactly what questions need to asked and has a great understanding of the role," she says. "Aaron is thoughtful and meticulous when it comes to markings, bowings, and finding discrepancies."
Throughout the busy days at the SLSO library, Amanda appreciates Aaron's commitment to the team. "He is a fast learner and is genuinely excited to be here. I think that is the best part, that he wants to be here and learn and work. Whoever comes after him will have some big shoes to fill."
Aaron adds that this internship will provide him with experience outside of being a performer. "If I break my arm, or a finger, or just cannot play my instrument anymore," he says, "it is important to me that I I will still be able to work with music. My work here allows me to do that. I get to be a part of what makes the YO run and that is a special experience."
Laine Sulz is the SLSO's Communications Intern.