Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Winnipeg is always a fabulous event, and much of this is thanks to the tireless work of Janelle's wonderful parents who treat us like rock stars. We are shuttled from the airport in a limousine, have an amazing relaxing stay at the Inn at the Forks, a world class resort/spa hotel, and the group dinner this year was incredible.

We had a limousine ride to Hermanos, a Uruguayan restaurant which is over-the-top wonderful. There is definitely a Latin-American vibe to the place, and Janelle's parents Brian and Rachelle had made special arrangements with the owner to have an elaborate all-you-can-snarf barbecue, with amazing creamy mash potatoes, three different types of salad, wonderfully moist and strong garlic bread, and heaps of sausage, pork, chicken, and beef, done on a coal grill by an expert in the art of the barbecue from Brazil. All of this was washed down with brilliant Chilean reds, and finished with outrageous chocolate and cheesecake desserts.

Janelle met up with an old friend:

Back at the hotel we all turned in for the evening, it having been a day of some energy expenditure. To paraphrase a line from one of our past readings, "we slept like slumbering wintering bears. Twas noon before we came downstairs." This was literally true in almost every case.

As for me, I had a leisurely morning, consolidating some luggage, having a very late lunch, and writing heaps of emails.

We arrived at the theatre at 3:30 p.m., and fortunately Brian had the foresight to have our instruments brought to the stage the day before, so everything was well acclimatized at this point, and tuning issues were minimized. I can't speak highly enough about the crew at The Pantages Theatre, a stately edifice from the turn of the century which is very reminiscent of Vancouver's opulent Orpheum Theatre. There is a peculiarity to these old theaters; the acoustics are invariably excellent, and the sightlines for this near sold-out audience are also very good; there are few bad seats. Clearly something has been lost in the art of theatre design, not to mention decoration. The gilded columns, painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and elegant lobby belies the fact that this is a very state-of-the-art theatre, with excellent sound, lighting, and fly technology.

Special thanks to our sound and light men, Gary and Bernie, who make us shine and sing on stage, literally. The boisterous standing ovation we received at the end of the concert also belongs to the masters of sound and light at this majestic theatre!

The flight home the next day was by way of Calgary, where we had a two hour stop over. With the expert tutelage of Jeff, Laurie and Janelle I learned a new skill; the art of playing cribbage! This may well become the official pass time of Winter Harp lay-overs and pre-concert Green Room waits. There is a bit of irony in playing with a deck of cards that includes images of people in costumes similar to what we wear on stage.

- Posted from my iPad

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