My first concert, my high school graduation stage, and my first “big girl” job all have one thing in common – SPAC.
So for a place that fulfilled so many of my milestones, it feels only fair that I pay homage to its special milestone, the 50th Anniversary.
As a Saratoga Springs native - you know that it’s a special place.
As a little girl, I was mesmerized – twirling in a little pink ballet tutu – the first time my mom took me to a New York City Ballet matinee. As a tween, ecstatic, when I scored balcony tickets to Britney Spears. My big brother, who previously was way too cool for “Baby One More Time”, quickly volunteered to take me. And earlier this month, as an adult-in-training, I admittedly attended the Phish show, and of course it’s legendary “Shakedown Street.”
However, despite growing up at SPAC, it took working behind the scenes to be able to fully appreciate what makes it tick. The dedication of the small staff to present a full season to the public is astounding. You need to give up your life – and sleep -- for about 4 months of the year. Seriously.
The phrase “the show must go on,” while likely overused, rang true quite literally.
From an intern dressing up as “Dorothy” to promote the upcoming Wizard of Oz presentation with The Philadelphia Orchestra (and getting caught in a rain storm while staging promotional photos) to handing out American Girl doll raffle tickets to anxious moms to quickly tidying my notoriously messy car before picking up The Philadelphia Orchestra President – each was a once in a lifetime experience.
Meet and greet hundreds of Russians from the Bolshoi Ballet in the Price Chopper parking lot on a Sunday night? No problem. Smile and welcome them to Saratoga while they groggily exit their Upstate buses and navigate the foreign aisles containing 50 brands of cereal? Sure.
The New York City Ballet Gala and Lawn Party, always one of my favorite events, was subject to many near crises. At “The British Invasion,” we counted 32 tent rentals set-up. There was supposed to be 33. Can we get another tent installed ASAP all while not disrupting the current matinee performance? We must. Where are the eight missing high-top tables? And why don’t the linens fit?
And then the curtain rises to Balanchine’s Union Jack – and you remember what it’s for. Wait – where is the male arm bouquet Marcia is presenting on stage after the first Act? It’s not backstage with production?
Ah, yes, it’s in the wrong office. Roger. And the second act continues.
To borrow from Bill Dake who coined a popular SPAC motto (printed as a required desk adornment): instead of admiring the problem, look for the solution. And don’t answer the phone – “can I help you?” It’s “I can help.”
This philosophy has followed me to New York City where I now work at a public relations firm. Sometimes when I speak, my former bosses come out. And I’m proud of that.
The amazing thing about SPAC is that it has always had the most loyal “fans” – rivaling that of even Phishheads, and classical aficionados – who care about the venue, its history and its future.
And while we all know the show must go on, it’s nice to reflect on the place that we natives are lucky to have in our backyard.
Kristy Godette is a Saratoga Springs native. She served as Executive Assistant to the President and Public Relations Associate at SPAC and now does public relations for DKC Public Relations in New York City.