The Bouquet Goes…

…right by John Karapandi, as it has thousands of times! This time it’s different. This virtual bouquet stops at John Karapandi and is presented to him with the deepest heart-felt appreciation. 

9/8/17 6:37:14 PM  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 2017 European Tour.  Sound Check and Concert  CONCERT, Manfred Honeck, conductor Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin Enescu, Concert Overture on Romanian Themes in A major, Op. 32 Dvorak, Concerto in A minor for Violin and Orchestra Mahler, Symphony No. 1 in D major  © Todd Rosenberg 2017
9/8/17 PSO 2017 European Tour. © Todd Rosenberg 2017

John is retiring from the PSO on Sept 27, 2020, after nearly four decades of exemplary service, friendship, and his signature “cool calm,” no matter what the issue and angst level.

For most of those decades John has been stationed at downstage left for performances. He was the last human the greatest soloists, conductors, and bouquet bearers in the world encountered before they stepped through the curtain into the magic.

Cool calm. John has spoken to them all, cued them to go, and offered them a towel or water between bows. In addition, thousands of (anxious) flower bearers have stepped out upon John’s cue. 

He had such a knack and calming presence that the artists, soloists and conductors looked forward to seeing John “downstage left”  before and after their performances and at all their return engagements! 

Herding a hundred musicians and all their instruments, wardrobes and personal accoutrements  around the world, in Western PA or just at Heinz Hall can only be accomplished by selfless, patient stagehands!  Did I mention patient? And tolerant. And long-suffering. And cool and calm. John knows the countless idiosyncrasies of us musicians and accommodates us all week after week, without complaint.    

John has kept invaluable notes on stage plots and instrument needs over the years (especially percussion!). He has reminded me of some oddball percussion needs more than a few times and really saved my … bacon. 

His kindness, thoughtfulness, and gift of anticipating and meeting needs (i.e. large percussion instrument placement on tiny, multi-level, poorly lit stages night after night) has truly lightened my load. 

I think John has brought cool, calm and joy to the PSO family for many years. We wish many more happy years to you, John!

Andy Reamer
Principal Percussion PSO