Quebec Tour: Day Four

I have a love / hate relationship with touring. It’s probably the most stressful part of my job – I worry for weeks in advance of a tour about whether buses will show up when they’re supposed to, whether the hotel rooms will be ready when we arrive, what musicians will get sick and who we’ll get to replace them, etc. I have recurring tour dreams about things going wrong. In one of them, I’m leading the orchestra on foot through the dark wet streets of New York City looking for a hotel that I haven’t booked. Oops.On the other hand, there are some nice perks to touring. I get to hear the orchestra in different halls, meet colleagues from other orchestras, and attend some pretty good receptions. Since I started I’ve seen Canada from coast to coast, and gone to some interesting places abroad.One of the best perks is hotel room upgrades. As tour manager, I’m spending anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000 on rooms at a given hotel. So, the sales manager will often give me a nicer room as a thank-you. I’ve had amazing rooms in Chicago, Vancouver, Victoria, Guanajuato, and Hannover. Sometimes the manager will leave something in your room – chocolates, wine, a fruit and cheese platter. Of course, there was also the free adult film channel in Edmonton back in ’99.So, I was quite happy to walk into a Jr. Suite at the Hilton in Québec after the bus ride from Chicoutimi yesterday. King-size bed, tub big enough for two, and a great view of the old city from the 15th floor. Plus, a little assortment of maple syrup products that I’ll toss in the suitcase beside the jar of blueberry jam I got from the Holiday Inn Saguenay.

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