The orchestra that I used to work for just began a 20-day tour of Western Canada. In the past week, a lot of people asked me “So, are you happy you’re not going on tour?”. The answer is kind of complicated.
Yes, for the most part, I am happy not to be on tour. I found them to be the most stressful part of my job, and in the weeks leading up to the big event I’d be completely obsessed with the minutiae of running a tour – hotel rooming lists, flight manifests, per diem worksheets, visa applications, etc. At night, I’d have horrible dreams about being stranded with fifty musicians at some run-down motel, unable to get to the next concert.
What I do miss, however, is the sense of adventure. For a couple of weeks each year, you get to leave your daily routine behind and embark on something completely different. There’s a sense of camaraderie that develops during the two or three weeks you spend away from home, and I have fond memories of hanging out with colleagues after a concert or enjoying the hospitality of a sponsor or ambassador at a reception. In particular, I’m kind of sad about not making it to Whitehorse, which should be a highlight.
Last night, the orchestra performed the first of two concerts in Vancouver, and I was happy to see it got a glowing review in the Vancouver Sun. At the same time, I was sitting in Southam Hall listening to a really great Feist concert, feeling much more relaxed and content than I would have been pacing backstage at the Orpheum.
It’s nice to see that Canadian orchestras are touring more regularly these days. The Vancouver Symphony just finished a two-week tour to Asia, and they’re heading to Ontario and Quebec for four concerts in the spring. The TSO performed at Carnegie earlier this month, and the Montreal Symphony has been to Carnegie, Japan, and South Korea this year. There’s no doubt that touring is expensive and requires substantial financial support from a variety of sources, but I think it’s also incredibly rewarding for musicians and audiences alike.
By the way, my former orchestra has a tour website up at www.nacotour.ca. I’m particularly interested in the tour blogs – a number of staff and musicians are writing posts, and the results so far make for good reading.
Hey, if you happen to be in Vancouver, Prince George, Kamloops, Whitehorse, Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg, you still have the opportunity to catch the orchestra first-hand. I understand good tickets are still available in some of those cities (unless you’re in Whitehorse, in which case you’re SOL as the concert is SRO).