Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Foggy airports, chamber music and travel woes.

I'm sitting in the Victoria International Airport. Last night at around 8 PM local time I boarded a plane in St. John's Newfoundland, went to Toronto, ordered a double Tom Collins, boarded a plane to Vancouver, sat behind a baby banshee, landed at 1:30 AM local time, slept two hours in a hotel, boarded a bus to a ferry to another bus to the Conservatory, returned their cello, had lunch with Marcy and Trevor, and then got http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifdropphttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifed off where I now sit, sipping a double White Russian, and staring at my computer screen.

The last three weeks have been awesome. I took a red eye to St. John's, via Montreal, and landed midday. I fell asleep on the plane before it landed in St. John's. I'd had a brief conversation with a kindly old man from St. John's. As we made out descent, he tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to open the blind. I looked out into an endless white fog. He asked me if I recognized St. John's, and I certainly. Did.

After landing, I had a quick lunch with our dear friend Jenna whom I was staying with in St. John's(check her blog and her photography, both awesome). Jenna was kind enough to house me for the extent of the festival and then some. She is possibly the sweetest person I've ever met, and I feel really awful I didn't get to spend more time with her. Sadly, I was there for two reasons: to house hunt and to take part in the Tuckamore Festival. I'd say both were a huge success, though my lack of fun hang out times were regrettable :(

With the help of Jenna, I managed to find Josh and I nice a suite beneath Pippy Park, a large nature reserve just outside of downtown St. John's. It's also in proximity to school, but in a quasi-rural area, which means some peace and quiet. I thankfully found if mere hours before the start of the Tuckamore Festival, which took over my life for two weeks. If I hadn't found it at that perfect time, we would have had no where to live because I would have been to exhausted to even look for anywhere.

The festival was pretty regimented in a way I wasn't expecting. We had about three 45 minute private lessons a week, daily 2 hour+ chamber music rehearsals, and roughly three 1 hour coachings per week. In between that was individual practise time, master classes, performances, both by students and professionals, and somehow, time for socializing. I met some pretty awesome people, a few of which are going to be attending MUN in the fall, and others, who will be moving on to other prestigious things on other prestigious cities.

The festival was a huge mix of personal improvement, self deprecation, crying, laughing and other excitement. Our quintet was apparently one of the most gossiped about of the entire festival (mostly because of violin drama....oh violinists...) I also had the stress of an audition for the use of MUN's cello, which I will find out about a couple of weeks into September.

My quintet had the joy of learning and performing all four movements of Schumann's Quintet in Eb Major. Videos of our groups' performance can be found here, here, here and here! It was a shit tonne of work, and we all worked really hard to pull it all together. It was a real treat to work with the folks in my quintet, and I'm really grateful for all of the guidance we received.

Aside from the festival, I had some pretty interesting run ins with people in st. John's, all which were either humorous, heart warming, or both. I'm really looking forward to living there. To give you an idea of what I'm looking forward to, please enjoy this picture of a puffin, and imagine it flying through the intricate tunnel system beneath MUN (otherwise referred to as "Munnels", which sounds like the name of a sect of cave dwelling sub-humans that will hopefully never exist...but I digress...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beouf Borguignon? Great summer food, really.

I feel like I haven't left the coast. It's rained for over three weeks in a row here in Prince George. I came back to enjoy a crisp, dry, gross, dusty, swimming in the river at night 'cause it's so hot sort of summer. Instead, I'm just re-experiencing spring in Victoria. Rainy as all hell. That's not to say I haven't been enjoying being here, I've had a great summer so far, it's just....a let down.

But I've adventured many adventures! Some culinary, some fishing related, some culinary feats with fish! But all with rain.

Last weekend saw Mitch, Jean and I taking a bike trip to Hixon. It's 60 km, and we figured for it to be about a 3-4 hour trip. We were making great time, and a lovely soft rain was keeping us cool as we passed through Stone Creek. All was going well until Mitch unfortunately got a flat tire, and all of us, in our most sincere optimistic naivety, forgot to bring a patch kit. Jess, Mitch's lovely girlfriend, came to the rescue and performed an Emergency Evac. for Mitch. Jean and I continued on alone, weakened from the short pause in the warming sun. The sun continued to warm, and Jean and I had both neglected to wear sunscreen. We managed to be out in the hottest part of the day, on the only sunny day this summer, and we both got horrible sunburns. I feel ridiculous, and am still paying the price as I type this and peel. It serves me right for not wearing any sunscreen, giving my red-haired disadvantage. But we arrived in Hixon in one piece, and enjoyed a 6 km gentle coast for the last leg of the trip. Once in town, we bought beer, burgers and other necessities, and went fishing. Overall great day.

I've also enjoyed busking so far. I've been going out to the Farmer's Market almost weekly with our dear friend Corbin. Today was a planned busking day, but given the pouring rain and a general feeling of impending doom left over from last night's drinking, I'm feeling okay about not going out so far. I really wanted to get some pocket lining for next week's big adventure: NEWFOUNDLAND!

I'm flying over on Wednesday for house hunting, and to play in the Tuckamore Music Festival. I'm really excited about the festival, but not so excited about house hunting. I hate house hunting. Another note of excitement is being reunited with Jenna, our kind Couch Surfing host, and dear friend. I will be sure to post many updates from my travels. Need to keep on the blog train, only way to do that is by updating! It'll be an exciting three weeks, so I really should keep up to date.

Anyway, until then, keep dry, where ever you are.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

She's bonafied!!

I got my diploma in the mail today.

For those of you who have checked my blog about as frequently as I've posted, I've been living in Victoria for two years doing a diploma in classical music performance on the cello. And let me tell you, the last two years have completely flown by. I've met so many incredible people, and learned so much. I thought doing the long distance thing with Josh would be one of the hardest things I've ever done, and it was in many ways, but I feel like it went through without many problems. We're still together, which a lot of people thought wouldn't be the case, and we're both done out educations! The challenges I faced and overcame with music and performance were incredible, and I'm so glad I went through with the program at Camosun. There are so many people to thank that I can't even begin. The fact that the audition panel there saw the potential in me that even I didn't know I had fills me with so much gratitude.

I feel like I should have more of a sense of accomplishment after this, but I'm honestly so surprised that it's over. I feel like I have so much more to learn, and I will be learning more when we move to Newfoundland at the end of the summer. Big move. I love Newfoundland, and I am so excited that we're going to be living there soon. Just us and our cats. Wow. I'd better get back to cataloguing my possessions and drinking beer.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

ATTN!! New blog for tour updates!

Hey so if anyone cares about tour updates, check this out from now on: http://thearbitrarys.blogspot.com !!

It has all of the old posts, and all future tour related posts!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Whudddya mean the ferry's fugging broken?!

So the show in Charlottetown wound up being pretty great. We were the only band that played, so we did a bit of an extended set. Sold a fair bit of merch, and the sound guy/bar tender Mike was pretty awesome. I'd almost feel okay about finances if the ferry to Newfoundland wasn't busy screwing us over. Turns out the boat we needed to take tonight to Argentia is being fixed, the next one doesn't sail until after our shows. The only options are to either take the other ferry to the opposite end of the island and drive through an endless expanse of moose and truckers, or to fly. Both cost approximately the same, both are terrifying to me, but one saves us a 12 hour drive and a longer boat ride!

Here's the view we woke up to from our camping spot just outside of Charlottetown two night ago:

We'd slept in the car three nights in a row, which was okay I guess, but my Mom took pity on us and put enough money into my band account to rent a hotel room for the night, which was nice.

Here's our steed:

And this picture goes out to anyone who has been to a B.A. Johnston show that doesn't know what a couche-tard is:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So you're saying this island is really just a giant pile of red sand?

PEI is beautiful. I have a fair bit of updating to do as I have been slacking off like a real slacker. To start, we stayed a couple of nights in Quebec City. It was really beautiful there, and we spent a great deal of time wandering around the old city like a couple of tourists. We caught a few soccer games in pubs, and made delicious sandwiches in parking lots. e played at a venue called L'AgitéE with a wonderful band fronted by Jessi Homenick. The turn out wasn't great, but it was nice to meet such wonderful people. We were also in town for most of the festival for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. After feeling a little bit too anglophone we hit the road.

That evening we drove to the Quebec/New Brunswick border and spent the night, then continued on eastward. We'd originally intended to spend another night around Shediac, but figured we might as well just go all the way to PEI since it was so close. We definitely haven't regretted our decision. PEI is a very nice place, and we've enjoyed exploring it and meeting the nice people in Charlottetown. We've been busy the last day with busking and doing promo for our upcoming show at Baba's Lounge! If you're in the neighbourhood, come check us out on Sunday June 27th with locals Low Lights, and possibly more guests!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

When it comes to Continental Breakfasts, Josh is a tough critic...

So last night in Montreal was pretty awesome. We had the chute pulled on a show here, so we were sort of humming and hawing about what to do about it. After some internet sleuthing I wound up finding an open mic at a place called the Yellow Door Cafe. Turns out this place is now the oldest cafe in Canada...and it's not so much a cafe as it is a humble basement venue run by a really interesting and talented fellow named Marc. Apparently many great Canadian musicians have graced the venue with their presence (apparently Leonard Cohen MAYBE attended some performances there).

When we first arrived, Marc informed us that he was very pleased that we wanted to play, but felt that there may not be a roaring crowd to play to. We were happy just to have a stage, and after a while about half a dozen people showed up to perform and listen. It wound up being a really cool jam and we had a great time. Almost everyone there was from another city, there being a couple from Regina, and a young guitar player and his sister from Toronto. It was really fun.

Today we've just bombed around town. I went to some of the University campuses here to look at potential schools to transfer too. I'm definitely going to audition at McGill, but I'm getting really interested in audition at the University of Quebec campus in Montreal. I met with their department heads, and am gearing up to do some serious learning of French. Josh also wasted most of the day by buying a new fancy cell phone that has a map in it andwill allow internet access mostly all the time. Anyway, we're heading to Quebec City today in preparation for our performance tomorrow at L'Agitee with Jessi Homenick!
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