What do you think happens to all the Choral and Orchestral music we hire from public libraries or other “out-of-house” sources once you’ve handed it in to your librarian at the end of a concert? All that music has to be returned – mostly within a 12-week period – in the state that it was before Trianon received it.

Libraries are more particular about this than ever – I suspect     it’s because their stock is getting older and more used and their budget just does not allow for purchasing replacement copies or new sets.  That cost gets passed on to the hiring group in the form of fines.

Most sets of music from Libraries now include a “Conditions Sheet” – which itemises the state of individual copies – and “woe betide” if those copies or any others are returned in a worse state.  I know, from experience, that they are genuinely checked on return to the libraries.

The loan period has to bear in mind when we start rehearsals, and allow at least a week before rehearsals start and again, after the concert for return – having inspected each copy, erased all the markings, mended (after getting permission from the source), removed our numbering, etc.

As Music Hire Librarian and Choir Librarian -my point is that because everyone hands in their music immediately after a concert, one or two people end up doing this job – and currently that is David and myself.  We finally finished cleaning the April Concert music a week ago.

I have to say that a few people diligently erase their copies on the night before going home – and a “big thanks” goes to them; if everybody did the same, or at least rubbed out any existing markings before they make their own when they are first given their music, and then erase their own before going home after the concert – that would make life so much easier.

I hear you say “get more people involved” – the problem with that is those people then have to get the music back to me within the time constraints set by the loan period.

Years ago we used to have a “rubbing out afternoon” when somebody had a big enough house for 6-12 people to sit around a table and do the job and have food and drink supplied; but no-one, as far as I am aware, can afford the luxury of a big enough house to do that, and hiring somewhere would prove very expensive.

So, maybe we should be asking people who know they have made lots of markings to take their music home and do the rubbing out and return them to me within a few days –  so that I can still return the music within the loan period.   Either that or not make so many markings and allowing time to rub out before handing it in at the concert venue.