Dateline: Kitchener, Ontario. May 8, 2019
I was granted tenure today by my colleagues in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. I've been a member, as their Assistant Principal Viola, since I won the audition in May 2017.
I was also granted a 12 month leave of absence today so that I’ll be able to move with my family to a new job in either Edmonton or Ottawa over the summer.
The NACO trials are all completed as of yesterday, so we're all (three of us, and all our friends and family) awaiting the results of a vote, whenever that happens. Now, NACO has just departed today for an 18 day European tour, so I'm not sure when this vote will happen, but it's gotta be soon. No?
So it's been quite a year. My second season with KWS, my wife's first substantial string of freelancing work with KWS and, over the past summer, with the Toronto Concert Orchestra at Casa Loma and this unique (and rather infamous) “Mandle Phil” experience that so many Toronto freelancers have taken part in over the last few years…
I've made a few trips west to Edmonton to get a headstart on working in the ESO, while my 16 year old son works his way through the 11th grade in an International Baccalaureate program and my daughter makes her way through 5th grade in a French school in Waterloo, and my wife keeps everything running at home while preparing for auditions that have been coming and going throughout the season.
And all the while we've been putting off confirming for anybody what our plans are for everything beyond June 2019. While we wait. And now the waiting is almost over.
I am fortunate to have these options in front of me, whether Ottawa ends up being an offer or only an almost, it's a good set of possibilities by any measure.
Family is in Waterloo and Gatineau. New friends and colleagues-to-be eagerly await us in Edmonton. The KWS family is already sad to know we're heading out, and I am thankful for their support and encouragement as we all wait for news from NACO.
My competitors for the section job in Ottawa are talented and accomplished, and nearly 20 years my junior. My friends tell me NACO would be lucky to have me, but I know they're already lucky to have the three of us to choose from.
So I'm waiting. Two more days? Three? We'll see.
But March! What happened in March? I played some recitals with different friends in different places. Jamie Parker was my Sonata partner in a noontime concert at U of T on March 14.
On the 16th I shared a repeat of the program with my KWS colleague Jody Davenport, with Wilfred Laurier University faculty pianist Beth Ann de Sousa accompanying each of us and a few fun viola duos thrown in for good measure.
Then on the 24th I drove down to Kutztown Pennsylvania where my friend (and past collaborator from my days in the CSQ) Daniel Immel is a pianist on the faculty, and we played back-to-back recitals there on the 26th at KU and on the 27th at Lebanon Valley College in nearby Annville, where my other good friend Hannes Dietrich teaches violin and viola, and had for many years welcomed the CSQ to campus to spend a week at a time almost every season in residence working with LVC students and performing concerts there and in neighboring communities. Hannes’s wife Marie-Aline Cadieux teaches cello at KU, and another old friend and collaborator Kurt Nikkanen teaches violin there... the whole week was full of wonderful reconnections.
And April? It’s a blur, mostly full of KWS services - a “Baroque & Beyond” program with our music director Andrew Feher at the helm (usually it’s a guest conductor involved); our retiring principal oboe, the legendary Jim Mason’s final Signature Series performance conducted by great violinist-turned conductor Joseph Swenson - brother of longtime San Francisco Conservatory faculty violinist Ian Swenson; and a crazy choose-your-own-adventure program of Hollywood Hits that the audience votes in real time for their favourites out of three options per category (musicals, sports films, John Williams scores, etc.) conducted by Cincinnati Pops’ own John Morris Russel, aka “JMR”.
And my son had a youth orchestra concert, and a youth concert band concert, and a high school music concert, and I taught my last lessons at U of T, and my students had their juries... Plenty of stuff to keep me busy and my mind off the stressful waiting for my upcoming NACO trial.
But because the trial is happening so late in the season, when I finally know the deal, there won’t be a lot of time left before summer hits, to get organized for the move in one direction or the other. Yikes!
Watch this space!