This past weekend (February 10-11), I was asked to play with the Sudbury Symphony for their chamber orchestra concert. On the program was Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, along with Haydn’s Symphony No. 101-“The Clock”. I eagerly said yes – I’d never been to Northern Ontario before, so I figured this would be an adventure.
I was one of two violists hired from the GTA to drive up to Sudbury to play in this concert. We rented a Toyota Yaris for our journey and left around lunchtime. There was snow in the forecast for the afternoon, but at the time it sounded like it would be worse in the south than the north. Growing up in New Brunswick, I really should have known better, but I suppose I got spoiled by the snow-free winters I had in Victoria for two years.
About twenty minutes outside of Parry Sound, our car hit a patch of slush or black ice and we ended up spinning off the road and into a snowbank on the righthand shoulder. Miraculously, neither of us were injured or killed, although it was probably the most terrifying five seconds of my life. Hitting the snowbank probably saved our lives, preventing us from rolling over the embankment by the side of the highway. The car didn’t fare too badly either, all things considered – the only real damage was to the front bumper, which broke completely off. When it comes time to buy I car, I will definitely consider a Toyota!
Upon seeing us in the snowbank, several people pulled over to check if we were okay. One person gave us a ton of hand-warmers, and another gave us bottles of water. A cop came by too and let us sit in the back seat of his squad car to keep warm while we waited for the tow truck. When the tow truck came, the mechanic drove us to his workshop in the middle of the woods, and then had one of his workers drive us to Parry Sound so we could get a another rental car. The area reminded me a lot of rural New Brunswick. Luckily for us, the car had full insurance so we didn’t have to pay for the damage, and the rental company gave us a replacement rental car for no extra charge. This car was a Hyundai Sonata, a very appropriate car for musicians! It had no snow tires, but it was larger than the Yaris, and therefore more secure on the road.
The accident gave us a two-hour delay on our journey to Sudbury. The roads were becoming more and more snow-packed, so we drove much slower than we had earlier. We didn’t end up arriving at our rehearsal until nearly eight-thirty, but at least we were safe and alive. The rehearsal went on so normally that it was almost hard to believe that we had had a car accident a few hours prior – it seemed very surreal to think of now.
The following day was much less eventful in terms of weather and accidents, with a dress rehearsal and the concert in the evening. The concert was completely sold out, and there was even a waiting list for tickets. I guess the people of Sudbury really like classical music! Even though I’ve played the first movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik countless times at wedding receptions, it was fun to play all four movements in a concert setting. I really enjoyed the Haydn symphony too. I’d played a few Haydn symphonies before, but this was my first time playing No. 101, nicknamed “The Clock” for the tick-tock rhythm in the second movement.
We headed back to Toronto the next morning. It was snowing again, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been on the Friday. We didn’t have any particularly scary moments, and I was home at my apartment by 7:30PM. All in all, it was a successful weekend in Sudbury, and I’ve since been asked to play in their next concert at the end of March.