With a free morning on Monday it was a chance for a lie-in, a wander about town, or, if you were me, a chance to catch up on emails and ponder software systems. At lunchtime I popped out with Chris Verette and Alison Mckay to meet with Bob Fraser from the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. As well as playing with the VSO he also chairs the OCSM, a network of Canadian Orchestral Musicians. Bob took us to a really fantastic (and tiny) Japanese restaurant, where I could counteract last night's cocktails with some super-healthy fish. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the OCSM and also to talk about shared issues such as music director searches and the like.
After this it was time to head back onto the bus for our drive to Nanaimo. On arrival I was thrilled to see I had another great entry for my collection of glamorous backstage entrances!
Before the rehearsal started we had time to sort out every orchestra's top priorities when arriving at a venue – coffee and Wifi (and tea as well, of course).
After a short warm-up rehearsal there was time for dinner in the green room and also time for a meeting with some musicians who are going to be participating in a new project we’re starting in May. This was a great chance to pin down rehearsal times and repertoire in person – so much better than a million emails flying around!
Following this there was time for a little relaxation, with Julie Wedman taking full advantage of the very cosy sofa in the Green Room!
The 30 minutes before a concert are a cacophony of sound backstage with musicians warming up in any spare space they can find. I took a little video just so you could get an impression of the sound and we'll get it posted shortly.
Out in the foyer collecting my ticket, I had a rather nice surprise, bumping into Andrew Clark, who for over 20 years was Principal Horn of my previous band, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He moved out to British Columbia several years ago so it was great to see him and have a little catch-up. Chatting backstage after the show, he reminded me of the time I had dragged the horn section to some random shopping mall to play and to drum up interest in our concert series in that town …
It was great to see yet another packed venue, especially on a Monday, which is never anyone’s favourite day of the week for a concert. Back on the tour bus afterwards my colleague Beth had laid out an assortment of refreshing beverages (i.e. beer) along with snacks. Beer on the bus is something of a regular tour treat, I understand, and a very welcome thing too.
We were entertained on the drive back to Victoria not only by the beer but also by film from Allen Whear’s extensive collection – he is something of a movie buff, and we were treated to a screening of a classic Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday.
The next day I (very sadly!) left the band in Victoria and traveled back to Toronto, via one of the shortest and scariest flights I've taken on an ancient and tiny plane from Victoria to Vancouver. So Chris Verette will be taking over blogging duties. However I will write one more bonus blog looking at some of the logistics and practicalities of putting together a tour like this. Thanks for reading!
William Norris, Managing Director