Behind the Scenes with Ben Harper

What takes place to make a Mobile Symphony Orchestra concert happen?

A LOT. Ben Harper, Education Coordinator and Stage Manager, is one of our full time staff who plays an essential role in making everything run smoothly. Among other duties on concert days, Ben is the official photographer before, after, and during the show.  Here is just a glimpse of what his job looks like in action (pictures and quotes compliments of facebook):

Ben’s Saenger Backstage Tour:

The first stairs on our tour, up to the Phantom of the Opera spot


One of my favorite spots to shoot the stage, I call it my Phantom of the Opera spot. Second floor dressing rooms. I think it freaks the musicians out when I pop up here.


This is the Stage Manager spot. Put on the Headset and call the show.


These Guys! Joshua Murray (sound) and John Bridges (lights). They help make sure the show runs smoothly and on time. And they’re funny…but only those of us on the headset know it.12967493_10207214274488577_5065614663418299685_o 

Show’s started, time to get shots from the House. Quick run through this scenic alley…


Through the empty lot…………through the Symphony office………through the Saenger Lobby


Stop and take a few pictures. I get asked this at least twice a show but “Yes, I shoot through the glass in the lobby doors” and “Yes, the pictures come out”….


Heading for the highest point in the Saenger

steps…more steps…more steps…


Steps leading into the top balcony, careful, these steps are unbelievably squeaky. Remember there’s a concert going on you don’t want to be seen or heard…


Wait for a break between movements and then climb the steps briskly into the Spotlight booth. I shoot the full orchestra shots from here. Yes, I shoot through the glass. It takes me exactly 200 steps from the Stage Manager spot to here… I’ve counted…


Scheherazade is ending, quick, get backstage…

The alcove in the Loge for a few shots…


Behind the alcove hides Barry Little, recording today’s show…


more steps…


And you’re backstage….


Many guest artists take pictures of this backstage bathroom sign…25.12998151_10207214273288547_961832096653988146_o

The Steinway crammed backstage, waiting to be played…


To get the piano on stage, these risers, chairs, and stands have to be moved out and then reset… 


All the Guest Artists enter through this door… I can identify all of these autographs, can you? The newest one is on the top left –  Conrad Tao….


 I hope you’ve enjoyed our little tour, B’Bye

And here is one of the many money shots that Ben is able to capture…


Ben is one of the individuals you rarely see or notice –  but without him, pictures aside, our concerts would not be possible. THANKS, BEN!