We’re officially done with our Shostakovich program! On Sunday we arrived in Brockville midday, and our first stop was finding a bite of lunch. We were excited to learn that the orchestra concert was not the only attraction of the day: there was also Ribfest. While Brockville was one of the smaller stops on our tour, the magic of Ribfest was captivating, and though it was no Montreal we still had great fun looking around. We held our sound check in the town’s lovely little theatre, and we were excited to find that the acoustics were actually quite good for orchestra.
The concert was a lot of fun because the audience was so enthusiastic. For the first time all tour we had the audience laughing during the lighter moments of music, and the applause afterwards were thunderous for such a small crowd. It was great fun, as this late in the tour season it’s a real push to bring energy to the stage. The affirmative response of the crowd and the compliments we received afterwards really made things fun, and put us in good spirits for that night’s late drive to Kingston.
After arriving late at our hotel, we were allowed to sleep in a bit the next day before heading off to downtown Kingston to play in the Grand Theatre. The hall was quite beautiful, built with lots of brick on the inside as well as other slabs of rock that gave the theatre a very natural earthy feel. The sound was equally good, so we were all looking forward to our final performance of Tchaikovsky, Goddard, and Shostakovich.
To say the concert went well would be an understatement. As this was our sixth performance of these works, not including recording the Shostakovich two days prior, at this point we were so familiar with the pieces that they just melded together. It was wonderful to hear the orchestra moving as one big unit; the sense of ensemble that breeds is just amazing. The audience was fantastic; after doing our standard encore pieces the applause kept coming, so to the immense amusement of everyone we did an unplanned encore piece from Shostakovich’s Gadfly Suite, conducted by one of our oboists. The spontaneity of that encore is a good representation for just how far this orchestra has come. Two months ago we’d never even played together, and now you can throw anyone on the podium and the music will come together. It’s absolutely wonderful to feel.
Kilometres traveled: 4,092