Hello, readers! What a beautiful day to be writing. Not only has the vibrancy returned to Luther’s luscious lawn, but Symphony’s Spring Break Tour Homecoming Concert was this evening. After 8 concerts in 9 days, traveling through 6 states and performing in 4 of them, everyone was glad to leave the bus but not the experience. Southern hospitality is a cliche for a reason!
Our audiences and venues varied every evening, from churches, to middle schools to college campuses. With our program including Verdi’s Overture to the Sicilian Vespers, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Professor Tarn Travers, our audiences were kept on their toes, so to speak. Most days of tour consisted of driving for sometimes as long as 8 hours, setting up at our new venue, dining together and then performing. It was always a relief to get off the bus, help out your assigned crew and play some music.
Another component of tour is home stays. To keep tour costs low, we often stay with families from the church or community where we play. Staying with complete strangers will definitely hone your chit chat abilities, and the p’s and q’s were minded. Our host families ranged from retired B&B owners to families with young children, all hospitable and keeping us well fed.
Speaking of cuisine, Southern cooking is delicious. There was no shortage of fried food on this trip, including dill pickles, my new favorite. The best food was consumed during our three days in Tennessee, one of them being our free day in Memphis. For those who haven’t had the privilege of visiting this music-filled city, Beale Street is the tourist and blues club destination. Most of the Symphony ate at B.B. King’s Restaurant and Club on this street, its food tasting as good as its namesake’s music sounds. Going back to Caf food after last week was an undesirable switch, but unavoidable, I suppose.
Tonight we finished our ninth and final concert for a home audience. I was pleasantly surprised to see a fairly full CFL, and my parents watched from home via the live stream. The music went as well as it possibly could and it was the perfect end to tour. The intimidating beginning to the Verdi was overcome, the technicality of the Firebird was achieved and the lively and lengthy Brahms was shared. We are moving on to new repertoire at our next rehearsal and I am thrilled to complete my second year with this wonderful group.