Allen Whear, violoncello
This would be the perfect title for this blog, apart from the fact that we are flying Delta, which has absorbed Northwest, but hey.
Wednesday & Thursday
Up until today, our band, crew, and equipment have traveled in bits and pieces, joining together at the various venues and hotels. But this morning we are all together on the bus for the first time, a veritable armada: tour manager Beth Anderson, our technical crew Glenn Davidson, Rick Banville, and Raha Javanfar, 8 crates each ranging from 70-80 lbs, 17 musicians with at least as many instruments and bags, not to mention some accumulated “tour baggage” which comes with eating airport food. The bus groans as we thread our way back to JFK airport for our flight to Seattle. Somehow all of this gets checked in and we leave the east coast and the threat of Winter Storm Saturn (which would have been more appropriate for the Galileo show).
Seattle greets us with typical drizzle, but we are welcomed warmly by everyone we encounter. At least three times strangers have apologized for the weather, wistfully recalling the brief blue skies of a few days earlier. We are lodged in the vibrant downtown area, halfway between the Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Seattle is robust yet relaxed, with wonderful local food and wines, a beautiful harbor, and the prospect of mountain vistas on clear days.
Our concert is in Meany Hall on the verdant UW (University of Washington) campus. Twice the size of any venue that has witnessed House of Dreams so far, we are surprised by the warm acoustics. Glenn is pleased with the lighting facilities, which permit a more fully realized tableau than has been possible up to now. Best of all, the twelve hundred seat hall is nearly full, and the audience is truly responsive. So vast is the space (without a center aisle) that when darkened as we play an intimate piece on stage, the exit sign behind the top balcony row seems as far away as Venus.
The second half of House of Dreams, set in the Palais Royale in Paris, begins with a Marais tambourin. As most of the orchestra takes up positions among the audience, Aislinn gets the beat going with a drum on stage. Then the narration introduces the Alcyon story from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and the drum again fires us up for a march. But tonight there is a “drum fail” as the head comes loose, leaving nothing but a faint kazoo buzz. But we don’t march to a different drummer. With perfect calm, she puts down the drum and joins in on the violin. Ceyx boards his ship as usual, and the really big drum, operated by John Abberger, scares the living daylights out of everyone during the storm scene, just as the Gods ordained. By a stroke of luck, our US Coachways bus driver Sam is a professional drummer with his own band. He cheerfully fixes the injured drum after the concert so all will be ready for percussion provocation in our next concert in La Jolla.
Sam (the bus driver) coming to the rescue and fixing the drum!
Lots of early music colleagues and relatives of the orchestra greet us backstage, and some of the orchestra join the presenters for a special post-concert dinner on campus. Overall, it has been a lovely and all far too short visit. I think it’s unanimous: WE LOVE SEATTLE!
Gentle Reader, give me some credit for never using the word sleepless in this blog and indulge me by singing along to the theme song from
“Here Come the Brides,” --an early 70’s TV show set in Seattle during pioneer days—with a slightly altered text. (Gen-X’ers are excused)
The bluest sky you've ever seen, in Seattle.
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.
Like a beautiful child
Playing Bach, free and wild.
Full of hopes and full of fears,
Full of laughter, full of beer,
‘House of Dreams’ you’ll have to hear