The Great Canadian Symphony: A Community Orchestra’s Musical Advenure
This is not just a story about an orchestra. It’s a tale of friendship, music, and exploration that takes place in the heart of Canada. Last year, we, The People’s Orchestra, had the privilege of hosting our dear friends from the Orchestre Philharmonia Mundi de Montréal (OPMM) right here in our home town. This year, it was our turn to visit them in their beautiful city of Montreal, Canada, and what an adventure it was!
Our expedition was not merely about the music; it was a week filled with shared laughter, stories, and unforgettable experiences. To truly encapsulate the essence of our journey, here’s a day-by-day account of our trip from one of our saxophonist:
Thursday (25 July): Woke Up At The Crack Of Dawn, Got Excited, Grabbed My Suitcase And Rucksack And Bundled Myself Into A Taxi To Digbeth. One London Coach Journey Later And I Was Boarding A Plane To Montreal. At The Other End, I Was Greeted With A Big Hello From Dean, Neville, Isabelle And Other Members Of OPMM. That Night We Headed To Isabelle’s House And Slept Like Logs.
Friday: The Day Began With A Group Brunch And The Welcome Sight Of Lots Of Musicians And Lots Of Food: Pancakes, Maple Syrup, Potatoes, Bacon, Watermelon… The Plates Were Not Big Enough. Dean Then Took Us On A Walk Around Old Montreal And The Breath-Taking Basilique De Notre Dame. After A Surprise Organ Recital, We Headed To Rehearsal Under The Baton Of Jean-Pascal Hamelin; Practising Music From James Bond, The Planets And A Well-Known UK Theme Park (Hall Of The Mountain King).
Saturday: A Trip With Our Host Isabelle To The Stunning Mont Temblant, A Panoramic Gondola, A Small Lake Town And Conversation About Family, Friends, Culture And The Best Places To Catch A Good View. Flawless Scenery And Excellent Company!
Sunday: A Day Out With Dean To The Botanical Gardens, A Wander Round The Site Of The Olympic Park And A Drive Out To Lachine (So Named After The Country Of China By A Very Mistaken And Not-So-Bright Explorer). Definitely A Day For Ice Cream, Cacti And A Bit Of Park History.
Monday: Our Host Started A New Job So Our Group Took Ourselves On A Small River Cruise Down The Riviere Des Mille-Iles. After A Bit Of Wildlife (And House) Spotting, We Returned Chez Isabelle And Went For A Winding Country Drive To Some Maple Orchards. After Learning How The Syrup Is Made, We Decided To Make Something Of Our Own And Cooked Posh Fish And Chips For Our Host.
Tuesday: A Whole Group Journey Back In Time Around Le Village Quebecois D’Antan – The French Black Country Living Museum. The Group Experienced Life In Old Quebec, The Start Of A Storm And Poutine. Our Group Were Then Taken To Visit The Lovely Family Of Natalie From OPMM And Got A Good Chance To Practice Our French.
Wednesday: After A Hike Up Mont Royal To Soak Up Some Excellent Cityscapes, We Headed To A Barbie Expo In A Department Store. Every Pop Culture Reference And Film Character You Could Think Of Was Displayed And Every Country Was Represented In Doll-Form. Following This, We Headed Home To Begin Preparing Spritzers For A Garden Party At Isabelle’s. Members Of The People’s Orchestra Were Treated To A Traditional Folk Song And A Huge Buffet Of Food And Drink. It Was Thursday By The Time Most Of The Musicians Left, Let Alone Got To Sleep…
Thursday: A Gentle And Lazy Day Visiting The City Observatoire. Unsurprisingly, After The Night Before, We Did Very Little Else Before Rehearsal That Evening.
Friday: We Finished Our City Explorations In Style At Parc Jean-Drapeau. The Day Included A Biosphere, A Park And A Beach. Several Excellent Walks (Or Swims In Some Cases) Later And It Was Back To Rehearse The Finishing Touches Of Our Concert Programme. In True TPO Style, This Was Followed By A Bar Visit Until The Early Hours…
Saturday: Concert Day! An Amazing Concert With Amazing Musicians! It’s Difficult To Put Into Words What A Phenomenal Experience This Performance Was For Us All. Holst, Grieg And Tchaikovsky Would (We Hope!) Have Been Proud. What An Evening. Several Hugs, Returned Instruments And Bittersweet Goodbyes Later And We Were Back On Our Way.
Engaging in an exchange with another orchestra is not only about creating music together; it’s about immersing ourselves in a different culture, learning from one another, and building lasting relationships. We believe that the bonds formed through these experiences enrich our music and our lives, creating a truly global community orchestra.
Question: Will The People’s Orchestra participate in another exchange trip?
Answer: We certainly hope so! We had such a fantastic experience in Montreal that we’d love to do it again.
Are you excited about our journey and want to be part of the next one? We invite you to become a member of The People’s Orchestra! Visit our membership page for more information.
Do you love what we’re doing and want to support us? Consider making a donation to our orchestra. Every contribution helps us continue to make beautiful music and have amazing experiences like this one.
Intrigued by our trip and want to know more? Visit our blog post about our trip to Montreal to get more detailed accounts of our adventures.
We’d love to hear from you! Share your favorite orchestral piece in the comments below.
We can’t wait to embark on our next musical adventure, and we’d love for you to join us. Whether it’s by becoming a member of our orchestra, making a donation, or simply enjoying our concerts, you’re an important part of our musical family. Let’s keep the music playing together.