Profile: Rona Chisholm, Assistant to the Orchestra and Concerts Director
Can you describe your job in 1 sentence?
Difficult one as its such a varied role! My main area of responsibility is booking all the freelance musicians for all operas and concerts that the company perform. I arrange orchestra auditions in both Glasgow and London, set up trial periods for successful applicants, book all hall hires for orchestra rehearsals and prepare the full time orchestra’s schedule. It’s not a job you can easily switch off from as if a musician phones in sick, I need to replace them, so my mobile is always on and I have to be prepared to respond quickly to a whole manner of requests.
What do you love about working in opera?
As my job is office based, you can tend forget about the end product, but when I do go to rehearsals and performances, I feel a real sense of pride that I am a member of the company and that I’ve played a very small part in making it all happen. For me, there is nothing better than hearing a live orchestra perform.
10 years ago, did you imagine that you would be working for this Company?
I’ve actually been with the company for 23 years. I joined Scottish Opera 6 months after leaving school as an Office Junior for the Friends of Scottish Opera. My plan was to go to College afterwards to do a Medical Administration course, but this didn’t happen as I was then offered a job in the Marketing and Press Department which I did for a year, I was then, lucky enough to be offered the a position in the ‘Scottish Opera for All’ team (now known as our Education Department). I really enjoyed this role and stayed there for 4 years, the highlight of my time being our tour to Barbados in 1990. I left the Education team in 1992 to take up my current position and have been in this department for 18 years and can honestly say I absolutely love this role!
If you weren't working in opera, what would be your ideal profession?
I did at one point consider training to be a nurse.
What do you do when you're not working?
I have two young children and a full time job so it’s hard to find time for me, however, when I do, I love going for walks and watching films.
Where is your favourite place to be in the world?
The Isle of Arran – my best friend’s family have a house on the Island and I have been going there since I was 15 years old. You can’t beat collecting firewood from the beach then sitting round a real fire with the people you love.