Dateline June 22, 2019 Edmonton AB

where was I?

We did a fun side-by-side concert with the YONA Sistema kids to help raise money for the program on Tuesday June 11. Then we dived into the week’s last Masterworks program of the season: Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” Suite, Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini featuring Sara Davis Buechner (with whom I and a couple other friends grabbed a drink, some nom nom, and some hilarious stories post-concert Friday night at nearby Joey Bell Tower), and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” to finish the epic program.

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So that was fun. And a great way to finish the season, at least for me. There was still a weekend of Harry Potter music to play, but I was off the hook because I’d booked out of the services in order to participate in the 2019 Summer Solstice Chamber Music Festival, featuring a week of amateur chamber musician coachings followed by a series of faculty and special guest artist concerts.

It was fun to catch up with Ensemble Made in Canada, who were in town for maybe 36 hours. I caught part of their noontime Mosaique show at the Art Gallery of Alberta, and part of their evening performance of Faure’s Piano Quartet at First Baptist Church on 109th St. I joined them for drinks at LeRonde (rotating restaurant overlooking the Saskatchewan River, or downtown Edmonton, or all of the above), and Robert joined us all as well. Good times!

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And then rehearsals started for the concert I was to play Friday night at the festival’s conclusion. That program? Mozart Kegelstadt Trio for viola clarinet and piano; Weber Clarinet Quintet; and Schubert Trout Quintet. Fellow performers were violinist Mark Fewer, clarinetist Jim Campbell, ESO violinist Laura Veeze and principal cellist Rafael Goekman, and bassist Alex Castili, all along with Festival director Patricia Tao at the piano. Made for a great few days!

Jim Campbell taught at Indiana University for a long time, until retiring just a couple of months ago, so I’ve known of him as an amazing teacher and musician ever since I was a student there 25 years ago. It was awesome to reconnect.

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The concert came and went, and more good times were had.

The other great thing to happen this week was my wife and daughter flew out from Kitchener (all right, Hamilton) to visit for a few days and attend that chamber music concert. I was so glad they had a chance to meet my wonderful hosts, and to visit the pair of schools we’re considering for my daughter for her transfer into the EPSB as a 7th grader this fall. Today, Saturday the 22nd I flew back East with my little girl both to prep for our upcoming road trip to Boston and to leave my wife with some much deserved peace and quiet to concentrate and relax in the last few days leading up to the ESO’s principal oboe audition he’s doing on the 26th.

My host-mom drove us to YEG this morning and her daughter gave my daughter a new-friend goodbye squeeze, and we all had a nice moment of goodbyes before parting ways…

Next up: end of school for the kids and a road trip to Boston to visit old friends and MIT - one of a handful of universities worth checking out for my math&science-y son.

watch this space!