Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Missing Ireland

So after what seems like an eternity of flights and waiting, checking in and picking up luggage I'm finally home. I flew from Dublin Sunday evening, arrived and stayed in the London airport all night until my flight left at 8:30 the next morning. Then flew to Toronto and then to PEI. It's funny how my first flight was about 2 hours long and it went by fairly quickly, then the flight from London to Toronto was about 8 hours but I had movies and an interesting girl sitting next to me so the time passed fast enough. But the flight from Toronto, about one and a half hours, felt like an absolute eternity. I don't know how many times I fell asleep and woke up feeling like I slept for a long time but it turned out it had only been like 2 minutes. I just wanted to be home!
So during my overnight stay in London I decided to stay in the airport since I had all my luggage with me and it was pouring rain. I hung out outside for a long time under an overhang roof where I read and stuff. I took out my violin when not many people were around and played a few tunes. While I was playing a leaf fell off a tree and into my case. The leaf is now my London souvenir.
First thing I noticed when I came home was when we got in the car and we were driving on the wrong side! haha It's funny how quickly you adjust to these things.
So now I'm getting back into the regular swing of things. I played Anne and Gilbert tonight and in many ways it was nice to be back, though in others...well, you know. Back to the Mackenzie theater tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homeward Bound

Last day in Ireland! I can't believe it's over. I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Dublin after a couple hours of liesurely walking around. My camera batteries are dead so no pictures but it's very cool. I've been on Connor Street for a while and it is a very busy place.
The whole time I've been here I've noticed that the parts of Ireland that I have seen are very similar to PEI. Except for the ancient stone walls and crumbling stone buildings everywhere. It will be nice to get home and actually rest a bit though I will miss this very much. I'll miss my roomies and my friends that I've made here. Happily I will see some of them soon in Ottawa but some I'll just have to miss :(

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sick Day

We traveled to Ennis yesterday to perform our Mini Mozart Opera and Benjamin Brittan's "Noah's Flood". It was a beautiful church but it didn't have a bathroom so we had to walk to the nearest hotel to use their facilities.
Noah's Flood is the student opera that they have been working on since the beginning of camp 2 weeks ago. They have a nice set, very cute costumes and spot lights. I'll post pictures later but the little girl that plays the dove is so adorable. She looks like a little angel. I was sitting watching the opera from the audience and I happened to be right behind her parents and they were so proud. At the end of the show she gets carried off the stage on Noah's shoulder and she flaps her arms like a bird. It's just too cute.
I've got a bit of the flu today. I just took a nap for an hour and I feel a bit better but hopefully a good nights sleep tonight will get rid of it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beach Day

We've finally got the internet back up and running. The highlight of the last couple of days was definitely Sunday. We all were planning on sleeping in since it was our only day off of the week. I woke up at 9:30, looked out the window and it was so sunny. I jumped out of bed, ran to the front door and walked out into the most beautiful of days. It was already very warm and it was only early! I was so excited I ran upstairs and woke everybody up. I ran over to the guys house (Fabio and John) across the road and yelled at them through their open windows until they finally both peeked their heads out through the curtains and saw the beautiful weather.
We had a big breakfast all together and then left for Salt Hill which was about a 20 minute walk from town. By the time we got there it was very hot and three of us (Sarah, Nora and myself) laid on the beach while the others went to this big cliff. We had seen similar cliffs on the Aran Islands so we stayed and basked in the sun. Nora and I went swimming in the very cold Atlantic ocean. Not too much different then home.

Went to an awesome concert tonight. David Stewart played this amazingly virtuoso piece that impressed everyone. During the intermission of the concert David informed us that we, the violinists, are playing in a concert tomorrow night. So I better get back to practicing! I'll be playing the first movement of the Ravel violin Sonata.

I'll have pictures up on facebook soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Still Alive

The internet has been down in our flat for the last couple days. I'll update soon when we get back online!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So much music!

Yesterday we went to a concert in the evening at the "grand hall" on the University campus. It is a beautiful old church like building with a huge courtyard and small recital halls that are perfect for chamber music concerts. Before the concert we had a lot of fun taking pictures in the courtyard and on the steps outside the building.

The concert opened with a solo performance of a Bach cello suite, then a contemporary piece performed by piano, clarinet, viola and an alto singer. The second half was a Schuman piano quintet (piano, two violins, viola and cello) and was performed by the String quartet, Contempo, who have been leading our orchestra at camp.

So during the concert there was a lady sitting beside me who was obviously very interested in seeing this concert but also very obviously falling asleep. I really wish I could have gotten a picture of her while her head was hanging about an inch away from my shoulder. Then the music would end and the sudden applause would jolt her out of her awkward slumber in she'd sit up very suddenly and vigorously rub her face, cross and uncross her legs and then slowly fall back to sleep with the next piece. So I don't have a picture of her sleeping but Simon took this one...

We have orchestra rehearsal every day at 1:30 and our conductor, Paul, always has this huge clock on the floor beside him so that he knows exactly when to start and when break is and everything. So today Paul looked down to check the time while we were playing a bit of the Dvorak Symphony and couldn't see his clock. So while we were playing he squatted down and started rummaging through all the papers and sheet music on the floor around him trying to find his clock. Eventually he stopped the music and asked if anyone had seen his clock. Meanwhile the principal cellist had a very devious look on his face and as Paul looked closer he saw that the cellist had taken his clock, put it on his own stand and hid it under his music. We all had a good laugh and then Paul discovered that the time was turned forward so that we could all get out of rehearsal early, which unfortunately didn't work. Then when he went to fix the time he found that the batteries were missing. Bogdon, the concert master, then pulled the batteries out of his shirt pocket. Great moment.

More to come!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 1 of Music Camp

There is a yellow bus that takes us to and from the residence university campus where we spend our days at the camp and back home to the Glasan Residence. Now that the camp has started all the students have arrived and many of them (those who aren't locals) are living at the residence as well. So this morning when we got on the bus at 9:00 it was so full with people and instruments that there were many people standing in the aisle. They decided that it would be helpful to have the bus run twice to the University in the morning, one at 9:00 like usual and one at 8:15. I can see why then would do that but I will be very surprised if the bus is any less crowded tomorrow morning at the 9:00 run...I'm not taking the 8:15! No way!
The first day of camp was a little unorganized while we (the teachers assistants) were struggling to find a place to be helpful and productive. Now at least we have an idea of what a day will entail and we're organizing our days so we all have something to do and also have time off to practice our own solo stuff for our lessons with David and coachings with Elise, our Pianist.
We played another orchestra concert tonight that went well. We did a Strauss horn concerto, there was a couple of brass ensemble pieces, a Vivaldi piccolo concerto and Mozart's 29th Symphony. The most interesting part was when we played through the first page and a half of the piccolo concerto when the soloist stopped everything and announced that she didn't have the right music on the stand! So she ran off the stage to find it. While she was gone the principle cellist stood up and told a funny story that he said was about this particular concerto though I think he may have been pulling our legs. It was something about a flutist playing this particular concerto for a nudist colony and they required her and her accompanists (string quartet) to be nude as well. So they decide it's worth the money and strip down to play some Vivaldi and then the curtain comes up and everyone in the audience is dressed in long black dresses and tuxes. Everyone was laughing and the ice seemed to be broken well enough when the piccolo player came back out with the right music and it all went well after that. She even got an encore and played a cute little celtic tune with a lot of trills and fanciness involved.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aran Islands

We (David, Elise, Sarah, Nora and I) got up very early this morning and three hours of taxi, bus and ferry rides later we were on Inish Moor Island, the largest of the three Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.
As soon as we arrived we went straight to the bike renting shop. David and Sarah paid extra for electric bikes which the rest of us were jealous of but we were also happy for the exercise since all we've been doing is sitting a playing music for days. We rode straight (after a couple of stops to fix my bike chain) to just below the fortress which was at one of the highest points of the Island and then walked the rest of the way up a rough stone path. One there, we saw the most beautiful views of the very steep cliffs which are apparently very similar to the cliffs of Moor. We laid down right up close to the ledge to get pictures straight down the drop. It was pretty exciting!
We sat up in the fort on the grass, surrounded by the cobblestone walls, basking in the sun and being blown around a lot while eating our lunches.
When we got back down we met a boy who lived on the island and was taking his dog, Ruben, for a walk up to the fortress. On the way down we also met them at the beach where the sand was incredibly white and fine. It was a beautiful day, though quite windy at times, but there were some women swimming at the beach. We chatted with them for a few minutes and as we walked away they began to strip off their bathing suits right there on the beach and we got a nice view of more then we would have liked!
We stopped at a pub about five minutes away from the pier where we needed to meet the ferry and got some refreshments. I've tried the famous Guinness beer but I can't say that I'm much of a fan. Though I don't like any beer I've ever tasted so that say much of anything about the Guinness.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sunny Day!

It's actually a beautiful day today. It started off cold but now the clouds have parted and the sun is shining! Better go enjoy it while it lasts.
Plans are to go to the Aran Islands tomorrow, rent bikes while were there and check out the very old fortresses and the crazy steep cliffs.
Had a lesson with David today, he gave me a big so called "kick in the butt" to get back into shape. Shouldn't take long since all the things I need to work on are things we've figured out before.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away...

So we went for a walk to find a grocery store tonight since, for once it wasn't raining, and because for breakfast we only get bread and cereal. We went to one place but it was closed by the time we got there so we ended up walking for about 35 minutes to get to a Centra grocery store where we bought eggs and cheese and juice and a bunch of other stuff.
It was so funny seeing brands that I know but with a different look. (see pic of Rice Krispies)
We missed the bus this morning, I don't ever know the time because my phone is not working and so I'm thinking I'm going to pick up a cheap watch tomorrow.
We have an orchestra concert tomorrow of all Beethoven rep, it should be fun. Rehearsal tomorrow morning at 10:30 am, then lunch, coaching at 1:30, lesson with David at 2:15, then shopping for a watch.
All we've been doing is practicing so I only have pictures of that so far! That and the grocery trip...
I also got attacked by some kind of bug while I was sleeping and woke up with many red bites on my neck! It's not very pretty...I won't post pictures of that.

Getting warmed up

Adam and Nora at rehearsal

Myself and my very professional teacher, David

Funny Rice Krispies

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Irish Pubs

After orchestra rehearsal this evening some of us went out to a pub. We saw a few "sessions" which is just like a ceilidh and saw some really great fiddlers, Irish whistlers, mandolin, guitar, drums, and this weird mini bagpipe thing that I'm not sure the name of. Our plan is to go to the Aaron Islands on Sunday for the day. We'll drive to the coast, take the half hour ferry and see the sights.

Finally Here

As soon as I arrived at the Montreal airport the final boarding call was being announced for my flight to London. So I ran down the seemingly endless hallway of terminals starting at 1 and having to get to terminal 56. During my rush I got a nice glance of what looked like seconds after a guy hurled all over himself and the seat and floor around him. When I ran by I got to see the expressions of total disgust on peoples faces yet they did nothing. When I got to the desk they told me I was the last person to board. I was expecting to get much more stink eye then I did but luckily people were still settling in so I didn't look like too much of a dweeb and didn't notice any glares coming my way.

I sat beside a pleasant man, Alan, who I chatted with for a while about many random things. I find music is always an easy topic to build upon and we talked about that for the magority of our conversation. I had a very unpleasant ear ache while descending on all of the flights and I can't say that I looking forward to the flights home in that sense. At the moment my right ear is plugged and I can't hear much. Apparently I just need to wait for it to pop...I've tried plugging my nose and blowing air "out my ears" but it only pops my unplugged ear. I didn't really sleep on the flight because of my ear discomfort but I slept pretty well on the 3 hour bus ride to Galway.

I am now sitting in my little private room. It looks like I will be sharing a 6 bedroom house with a bunch of girls who have not yet arrived other then Sarah and Nora who just walked in the door. I am on the ground floor where there is one other room, bathroom, kitchen and tv room. Mom was right about the plugs, BUT Nora was smart and organized and brought a converter!

My phone doesn't seem to work here so I may not be doing the texting. Stupid Bell. Always a disappointment.

Pictures to come...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Charlottetown Airport

Looks like I'll have no problem getting on the plane with my large carry-on bag and my violin. Thank you AirCanada for being slack in your rules and regulations. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ireland tomorrow!

I'm starting to feel the traveling jitters. I hope I catch all my flights and arrive with all my luggage and not lose anything and be able to find the bus and find a place to exchange my canadian money for Euros and get off at the right stop in Galway and take lots of awesome pictures and make lots of beautiful music and meet awesome people and...too much to ask?
Since I only have about 40 minutes between my arrival into Montreal and my departure to London I'm going to try to get away with taking two large carry on luggage. I don't want to be totally stressed out about waiting on getting my little bag at the baggage claim when I could possibly just zip from one terminal to the next. This seems like a much less stressful plan to me.
Once in London (seven hours of, hopefully, mostly sleeping later) I'll have about three hours to kill before my flight into Dublin.
Sarah Williams, another goer of this trip, is arriving in Dublin about five and a half hours before me so if she decides to hang out in Dublin until I get there then we may take the bus to Galway together to meet Nora Pellerin, who is presently on a plane on her way there.
Havn't heard anything from Adam yet, not sure when he will be arriving but I guess we'll meet up at the residence.
I fear I've practiced more fiddle music then my own classical rep...I'm just too excited about the Irish pub music to be able to practice my Ravel Sonata and Barber Concerto!

Packing time... :)