April was a very busy month for me! Here’s some of what I’ve been up to since I last wrote:
As I mentioned in my last post, I was hired to play with the Sudbury Symphony again at the end of March. Although my carpool hit some heavy snow once we near Parry Sound, luckily this time we didn’t have an accident!
Ironically, this weekend’s concert program was spring-themed, including the first movement of the Nielsen flute concerto, Grieg’s Two Elegiac Melodies, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, also known as the Pastoral Symphony. Beethoven’s sixth symphony has always been my favourite out of the nine that he wrote, mostly because it is featured in Disney’s Fantasia. When I was little I used to watch a segment of Fantasia almost every night before I went to bed, and the Pastoral segment was one of my favourites. I think I mostly liked it for the colourful horses and ponies in the sequence, but I have since grown to love the music as well.
The Sudbury Symphony usually tries to feature at least one Canadian piece in each concert. This time, the Canadian piece was Kelsey Jones’ Miramichi Ballad, a three-movement work written in the 1970’s about the titular New Brunswick city. I had actually played this piece a few years ago with Symphony New Brunswick, and I hadn’t been expecting to ever play it again, especially in Sudbury of all places!
I also played in a small string ensemble for a Palm Sunday concert in Toronto, where the featured piece was Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G major. This was a gig that I found through a Facebook group for Toronto-area freelance musicians. A few weeks ago, the music director at a local church posted a call for string players to perform a Schubert mass. I replied to her post and ended up being hired for a rehearsal and concert. Social media often gets a bad rap, but it really is a great tool for networking and finding gigs.
It had been a while since I had played for a choir concert. I used to play in choral concerts fairly frequently back in Moncton at my undergraduate school and also around the community. I really enjoyed playing in this concert, and it gave me a chance to meet some other string players from Toronto.
I had a very interesting gig a couple of weeks later, where I was hired to play for what was described as an “art party”. The couple hosting the party had invited about fifteen of their friends, and they had also hired two modern dancers. The dancers improvised to my music while I was playing, and the party guests practiced figure drawing. The couple was very kind and welcoming to me, and even fed me a barbecue dinner.
Coming up in May I will be playing with the Sudbury Symphony again for their final regular season concert. Their principal violist will be missing the concert, so I was asked to come sub in as principal. It will be a great opportunity! Hopefully this time around there will be no snow!