Scott illustrates the proper technique (borrowed from subway pushers in Tokyo) of loading two harps and assorted gear into a mini-van.
Conditions are always challenging in Vancouver, because of the size and age of the venue, it does suffer from cross currents and drafts. Besides making the candles flicker dramatically and thus necessitating a change-out at intermission, it makes tuning continuously (sometimes even between numbers) a necessity.
During sound check, we also are always looking for sight lines. Here is typically what I would be seeing: Janelle and Lauri through a forest of harp strings.
It is always such a pleasure to perform in Vancouver at St. Andrew's Wesley Church, as the setting is so beautiful with the stained glass, and massive stone arches. It always makes us feel as if were are in Medieval Europe. And the snow falling outside after the concert, as people left, made it especially magical this year.
Our final concert of the tour was in Maple Ridge at The ACT with its beautiful setting.
During intermission, we all usually have to go back on stage to tune and I have noticed that the bass psaltery always draws a great deal of attention. It is a very unique instrument due both to its Gothic appearance as well as to it's ethereal sound.
Winter Harp co-founder and former narrator Alan Woodland was at the Maple Ridge concert. He joined Lori Pappajohn on stage for a brief, but wonderful reunion as they did the free CD draw. Alan is a well-known figure in Maple Ridge, not only for perfoming with Winter Harp, but also for his popular column in the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times newspaper. The audience loved seeing Alan back on stage -- even if only for a brief moment.
- Getting to meet James Ham and having a brief talk about the future of musical instruments.
I think as more and more luthiers realize the potential of 21st century materials, we will start seeing traditional instruments of such an amazing quality that they will rival the best that has ever existed. In the past these would only have been available to the best performers in the world. Imagine a world where every violin, even student models, is as good as a Stradivarius, and the best are even better.
-Dinner with Janelle's parents' and the members of Winter Harp.
-All the amazing meals at restaurants on the tour.
Leo's Tapa's and Grill in Gibsons is typical Greek fare, exactly what you would expect in BC where we are spoiled for almost everything. What is unique about Leo's is that the waiters, and I really hope they are also the owners, have a great quirky, almost edgy, sense of humor.
Special mention goes to the restaurant at the Inn at the Forks, The Current. I had the pleasure of having breakfast and a wonderful lunch there. The food is stupendous and meticulously prepared. The staff is very attentive and polite, as well as transparently efficient. Every meal was a treat.
In Courtney, Titas never ceases to please. Great portions, and can Mexican food ever be anything but festive? The tortilla chicken soup especially hit the spot. Just the ticket before playing a concert in winter.In Victoria, Futaba Japanese Restaurant was exactly what was needed to satisfy our troupe's cravings for all things Japanese and "get us to the church on time" - it is across the street from the Alix Goolden Concert Hall.
The veggie burgers on B.C. Ferries are quite nice. The French Fries are made by White Spot, and are delicious, but Janelle, Lauri and I once spent an afternoon feeding these to the sea gulls by hand who I'm sure thought they were doubly delicious.
-The Amazing Disappearing Harp Dolly.
After we played our last concert in Maple Ridge, we were packing up and Janelle discovered, much to her horror, that her harp dolly was missing. It had been left back stage right next to Scott's almost identical harp dolly. A quick inspection of the stage did not uncover anything. So a search was made in all the offices, cars, and even the front of the house. Still nothing. The entire stage was now packed up and there was absolutely nothing on the floor, yet still no harp dolly. My first thought was that it had been stolen, but that didn't make a great deal of sense either; there were far more valuable things back stage to steal. Everyone was rather annoyed at this disappearance because it would be a huge inconvenience to Janelle plus a lot of money to replace. The theatre staff were equally annoyed at something this strange. As I searched the snow drifts outside for tracks (and finding none) it occurred to me that I was only thinking in two dimensions. Perhaps the missing dolly had not in fact rolled away. Sure enough, I looked up and there it was hanging from the ceiling. The long horizontal bar that raises and lowers the sets had caught the strap on the cart when the curtain was down. At the end of the show, when the bar was raised up to the ceiling, the dolly cart went sailing up in the air with it. There it was, dangling precariously 30 feet above us (click pictures for greater detail).