Saturday night's alright ....... for live music.
A dreary and still cold Saturday night in Durham region. The winter that just keeps on bringing more snow and bitter winds. It's not a terrible winter, but it's less than hospitable. Not the type of night you'd really want to have to leave your glowing fireplace and drive along Taunton Road to find a church you've never been to... And the resurgent Leafs are playing too, with their new found belief and muscle. You need to, or at least I need to remind myself that there are people out there doing great things, challenging and inspiring things and we should all take part in it no matter how unreasonable the weather is.
The drive is actually smooth and apart from one minor detour easily solved with an illegal U-turn, I get there in plenty time. Lots of time to see parents arriving with their offspring nervously clutching violin cases and trombone gig bags and music stands. Their journey has been much longer than mine. This is the culmination of lessons upon lessons - doubts and triumphs - the growth of a young musician.
With ticket in hand and no bar insight I locate a seat certainly not at the back but nowhere near the front either. Those are for the doting parents who've been to most if not all of these performances.
I'm reminded of minor hockey or soccer tournaments of all things. It's a similar journey: Driving to practices and rehearsals when time is unnaturally early, or late. Purchasing instruments or equipment that seem unnaturally expensive. And supporting and encouraging your athlete or performer to shoot for the stars and revel in the experience.
The type of encouragement does differ, of course. There is very little cheering before the concert and certainly no screaming or chanting. Naturally. In fact, the conductor reminds the assembled patrons that the symphony is in four movements and to please refrain from clapping in between to avoid disrupting the flow. I get it, but I'd have loved to have 'encouraged' the members of this Youth Orchestra that "Hey, we're really enjoying this so far. Keep it up will ya"? It might be uncouth, but it's a beef I have. I mean, it's not unheard of for the audience to blurt out and stamp their approval if they've been particularly moved. It's like your team has just scored a goal. For me it'd have been a bit of a release from stifling the nasty cough all night. Dvorak can do that to you.
As it was the flute fantasia was excellent - Full of confidence and a reminder that spring is not too far away. The soloist and 'supporters' satisfied with the performance and result. They had good reason to be pleased.
An introduction of adult talent to the Youth Orchestra complemented the final 9th symphony. Like an injection of seasoned pros beefing up the line-up, they added support and experience to the younger players. It was great to see the blending of mentor-ship and youthful exuberance on stage controlled and guided nicely by conductor and players alike. It is that blend of youth and experience that wins the Stanley Cup, after all.
The crowd cheered. A standing ovation. Quite the show.
I managed to congratulate a few players whilst sampling the baked goods and some type of fizzy ice tea I think. Only one thing left to do: Find the nearest bar for the third period of the Leafs - Senators game. I arrived just in time to see my revitalized Leafs lose the game in the final 20 seconds. Rookie mistakes all over the ice and even from the bench. That didn't happen on stage earlier. Distraught, I left for home disappointed by that result, but inspired by the other team I had seen.
It's fun to go out on a Saturday night.