If there’s a theme emerging from the five concerts we’ve played to date, it would have to be heat. Ottawa marked the first time we performed Mahler’s Fifth in concert, and by the end of the colossal seventy minute work everyone looked like they had just finished a marathon. The very next evening after the Mont-Tremblant concert, the general consensus was that if we don’t do laundry fast, nobody will come to the next few concerts. Though we’re constantly adjusting to playing in high heat, the concerts have gone exceptionally well, as has the sightseeing we’ve managed to work into our schedules.
We arrived in Ottawa early on Tuesday, and with the concert a day away we had plenty of time to take in the city. I was fast to grab a picnic lunch and go down to the banks of the Rideau Canal with friends, where we watched boats going by, played frisbee, and enjoyed the magnificent view of parliament. A little later we were posing for pictures on parliament hill and exploring the riches of the Byward market. I’ve been to Ottawa many times, and every time I go I manage to find something else that draws me in. This time it was the night time light show on parliament hill, where lasers and projections were displayed on the face of parliament with coordinated music and narration. At the end of the half hour spectacular everyone walked away with a profound pride in being Canadian, and knowing we are getting to represent Canada by playing in this orchestra is truly special.
Our concert took place in St. Bridge’s Centre for the Arts Wednesday evening, and after a scary sound check during which we realized the reverb was almost three seconds and there was a sound lag on stage, the concert went smashingly. There was a packed house with barely a seat free, and from the first note the orchestra poured out everything for the crowd. After a very intense two hour concert, we were more than happy to receive thunderous applause and march triumphantly back to the hotel for some well needed sleep.
As much fun as Ottawa was, our time passed quickly and no more than twelve hours after our concert ended we were traveling to Mont-Tremblant for our first show in Québec. We were playing in another church in the heart of the picturesque town, and during sound check and the show there was enough time to do a bit of exploring. After being in Ontario for a considerable amount of time it was fun to get a Québecois spin on everything, from the foods purchased at the local market to the music playing in all the little shops. The concert went off without a hitch, and though the venue was smaller than that in Ottawa it was obvious the audience really appreciated our music. Sometimes, that small crowd which is immensely pleased is more satisfying than a large crowd whose applause gets lost in all the sound.
Last night we rolled in to Montreal very late and got a few hours of sleep before again packing up the bus, this time to head to the United States for the one concert outside Canada. Rumour has it the orchestra’s been heavily marketed in New Hampshire, so we’re really looking forward to repeating Mahler’s Fifth after such a good first performance. As always, I’m off to go do what we do best on this tour bus: catch up on sleep!
Kilometres traveled: 1,145