by Stephanie Miletic, Operations Manager
We had an early start to the tour with a direct flight to Timmins with Porter Airlines. The “mini”-tour group consists of Patricia Ahern, violin, John Abberger, oboe, and Margaret Gay, cello. The only time I had experienced Porter was seeing the plane while en route to the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute Picnic that always takes place on Toronto Island. We had some logistical challenges when planning this tour. When Tafelmusik tours, the cellos are buckled into a regular passenger seat so they are not checked with the general luggage. For the Timmins route, Air Canada and Porter will not allow this. Luckily, the Conductor of the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, Matthew Jones, is a professional cellist so he lent us his cello, put on gut strings we shipped up to him, and tuned down his cello to A=415 (baroque pitch). The plane was small:
and sounded like we were on the back of a lawn mower for most of the trip. Bless those small planes!
We arrived in Timmins to 7’ high snow banks and many coniferous trees. I feel like we were heading the wrong way in search of spring! Our first educational visit was to St Paul’s Elementary School. The school was extremely welcoming and I was very excited to see the concert for the first time. Patricia Ahern has planned an extremely creative and interactive school concert:
"Maria (John) and Vittoria (Margaret) from the La Pieta orphanage auditioning for vivaldi's (Patricia) orchestra"
In the first half of the concert, the students learned about the different affects of music, dynamics, and ground bass. In the second half, the students dress up and build Handel’s Water Music boat. We have rowers, musicians, waiters, Handel and a Queen all in costume and dancing to the Handel’s Water Music. Here’s heir Handel conducting the musicians:
The response from students and teachers was fantastic and they want us back again. This evening Patricia and John are giving masterclasses to Timmins Symphony Orchestra musicians and members of the Geoffrey James Lee School of Music. Tomorrow we are off to Cochrane for 2 more school concerts.