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Archive for the ‘tour’ Category

That’s right, I put it right in the title so you’re forewarned.  Here’s Ella, Gordon and David’s lovely little puppy with the broken leg:

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I love how her cast says “Under repair”.

On a completely different note, my post about accidentally eating bugs (Very disgusting: DO NOT CLICK) is one of the most popular and most viewed.  Tell people not to click and they do.  Go figure.

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So on Thursday morning – yes, a full week ago – we got up very early and caught the 7:58 train to London.  Ontario, not England.  I don’t know why we had to be there by 10 AM the morning BEFORE the show, but there it is.

I spent the morning in London trying to reserve a room at the university for us to practice in.  Which we did, but got kicked out by a very insistent group of students – insistent that they had reserved it.  We went to another room and got kicked out of that one too.  There’s always too many students for not enough practice rooms, which is why I practiced at home for much of my university education, but really.  Though I do think I myself once kicked the Canadian Brass out of a practice room when I was in first year.

Anyway, we got as much rehearsing done as we could, had dinner with my parents and my sister (who came down from Waterloo for the show), then did the show the next day.  They’ve got a nice little recital hall at UWO, and they recorded the show, which is good.  The only problem was that the piano wheels didn’t have locks on them, so the piano kept moving away from Ben, which cramped his style somewhat.  We tried jamming doorstops into the wheels but it didn’t help much.

The show was pretty well attended at went well.  My Grade 5 teacher, Mrs. Marentette, came, which was awesome.  She is a kind-hearted, warm, fun-loving lady, and she was a wonderful and inspiring teacher.  Also my old violin teacher was there, though I didn’t see him – he spoke to my parents afterwards.  “I’ve been following Kristin’s career in the papers,” he said, which takes some work, since my media presence is pretty minor.

Afterwards we went out for lunch and relaxed for a bit.  I finally sewed a button onto Ben’s dress pants (hitherto they had been held closed by a safety pin, which didn’t look good when he took his jacket off onstage) and his winter coat.  And at 6:30 we got onto a plane for Toronto.

Now, London to Toronto is about a two-hour drive, and as I already said, we took the train there.  Why did we fly back?  Because we had to fly to Winnipeg that night.

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Reasons to play the Hart House Great Hall:

– Excellent acoustics

– 9-foot concert grand piano

– Verses by either William Blake or Milton (I can’t really tell the difference) in medieval-looking script written around the walls

– Pictures of august-looking Canadians at strategic points, giving you something specific to look at whenever you need to visualize a person when performing

– High ceilings and cathedral-like windows

– Central location

– Organized organizers and a good audience

Ok, now the flip side.

Reasons NOT to play the Hart House Great Hall:

– A long, narrow room, oriented horizontally, meaning that the audience is squeezed into six very long rows in front of you

– The Gallery Grill, a popular U of T restaurant, is situated in the gallery above it, with big open windows in between; not a problem for the 3 PM show, but somewhat annoying during the 12:30 rehearsal

– The troupe of bagpipers that passed by during the first unaccompanied piece (I kid you not)

– It’s made out of stone and kind of cold in this damp November weather.

Well, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t look on the down side, right?  It was a good show.  It’s actually quite a nice room.  My friend Jeff Vidov, who is a kick-ass recording engineer, recorded it, and I will be posting excerpts on the official site when he’s done mixing and mastering.  He found it a bit ringy for recording, but he got the mikes in close and it was just fine.

The bagpipe procession passed by during Alex Eddington’s unaccompanied piece (also called Scintillator), and, though unexpected, it was kind of awesome.  I will most definitely be posting that recording.

The last leg starts on Thursday with a jaunt to London (Ontario, not England, sadly enough).  I have no pictures from the show itself – though an old dude from the audience walked straight up to me after the show, took my picture, then walked away – but here’s a picture from in front of the building:

 

Yes, it IS a squirrel coming out of a garbage can

Yes, it IS a squirrel coming out of a garbage can

See?  Just like I said.  Rats with tails.

After the show we went to the Tranzac to hear Fred Spek and the Toronto Gospel Choir, where my friend Keith confirmed my suspicions that the Ipod Touch is superior to the EEE.  He continued to taunt me via Facebook:

picture-4 That’s all for now.  I will post more of the vampire novel later today.

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Here’s a glowingly positive review from the Lake Superior News:

THUNDER BAY, ON,  — November 4, 2008 — The husband and wife team of Benjamin (piano) and Kristen Mueller-Heaslip (soprano) presented a great concert of modern music at Tuesday’s Lumina Concert. Kristen Mueller-Heaslip is beginning to reap the benefits of many years of dedication hard work.

 

For many, graduating from the University of Toronto Department of Music would be a life-time accomplishment, but for Kristin this is just a step along the way. The present concert tour is part of the prize for being an Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition winner. The concert tour will take her to some 11 venues across the country.  Winning the competition establishes her and her music as champion material. (more…)

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Yes, people, I am back again from a whirlwind trip to the lovely Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Thunder Bay is really quite a nice smaller city on the northwest bank of Lake Superior.  It’s a good sixteen-hour drive from Toronto, yet only a 30 minute drive from Minnesota.  Weird.  Anyway, we flew there yesterday, stayed with the fabulous Glenn and Trisha who, though they don’t have a dog, were very hospitable and fun to hang out with.  We did the show today at Lakehead University. A little-known fact about Thunder Bay: When the two towns, Port Arthur and Fort William amalgamated in 1969, a referendum was held to pick a name for the new city.  These were the choices:

a) Lakehead
b) THE Lakehead
c) Thunder Bay

No, I’m not making this up.  Of course, even though most people referred to the area as “[The] Lakehead”, the vote split and Thunder Bay won.  Anyway, the weather there was crap yesterday but beautiful today – really stunningly beautiful, sunny and surprisingly warm, and Glenn and Trisha live more or less across from a mountain range that had mist swirling around its base this morning, looking very Lord of the Rings – and the show went very well.  I almost made it through the high note at the end of my Stravinsky aria (I’ll get the full 12 beats at least one of these shows, dammit) and yes, I’m rushing this a bit because HOLY SHIT, McCain just conceded.  Wow.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I was expecting something more along the lines of a three week Supreme Court battle.  

Anyway, go out and have a post-election beer, whether to celebrate or drown your sorrows.  Here’s a photo of Ben, myself, Glenn and Trisha:

 

I'm the one in purple with the nose ring

I'm the one in purple with the nose ring

 We nearly missed our plane home, since it left less than two hours after the show ended…but we made it to the airport in time, and our bags even made it onto the plane, and we watched as much of “Indecision 2008” that CTV showed.  Here’s Gus’ reaction to American politics:

 

I feel that way too sometimes

I feel that way too sometimes

Well, America, I’m proud of you.  Goodnight.

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My apologies for the lack of pictures in this entry.  The camera was out of batteries and I didn’t think to get anyone else to take pictures.

Anyway, our jaunt to Kingston (Ontario, not Jamaica – about a 3 hour drive from Toronto) started rather later than it should have on Thursday, but was enlivened by the presence of Karl Mohr in the back seat.  Have I mentioned Karl before?  Dark-wave electro-goth performer extraordinaire?  Check out his music if I haven’t.  Ben and I played in his band once upon a time, but he’s been in Scotland for the last little while.  He just came back to Canada a few days ago, so we gave him a ride to Kingston to visit his mom.

Anyway!  The next day (Friday) we played a lunch hour show at Queen’s University.  They don’t have a proper recital hall, so we played in the band rehearsal room – REALLY, WE DID – which was not a great acoustic but had a nice intimate feel.  It was very well attended (I later found out that music undergrads have to attend a certain number of concerts per year, so perhaps some of them were there under duress), and very well received, judging from the applause and the complimentary comments afterwards.  I had originally toyed with doing the show in Hallowe’en costumes (I have a kick-ass sexy French maid outfit; I forgot the fishnets, though), but we settled for a ghost headband for me and some devil horns for Ben. Insert your own imaginary picture here.  Ben enjoyed playing for all of his old professors (he attended Queen’s a decade or so ago) and proving all their dire predictions about him wrong.

Afterwards we spent a relaxing day on Howe Island with Ben’s parents, who had been very kindly looking after our dogs (Madeline and Gus) during the Eastern leg of the tour, and I single-handedly finished a very difficult jigsaw puzzle.  This is where the camera would have come in handy, but oh well.  I will charge up the batteries before we go to Thunder Bay on Monday.

I have to include a picture of some kind.  Here’s me and Ben after a Karl show.  I think it’s from 2006:

 

We look so young!

We look so young!

Yes, I AM wearing a leather dress with binder clips on it.  

Anyway, I will charge up the batteries tomorrow and take plenty of pictures of Thunder Bay.  I’ve never been there before and am looking forward to it.  I’m also packing my mittens, but it’s that time of year. 

Don’t forget: spring forward, fall back.  Daylight savings ends tomorrow.

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I considered buying an Ipod Touch instead.  The EEE seemed more flexible and like a better deal.  But…

a) it lost its ability to read memory cards at some point this week, and

b) it lost the ability to sign onto WordPress.  Seriously.  Every time I tried to sign in I got a weird error message.  I think I have to re-install Firefox, or find a new web browser.

So that’s my excuse for the lack of updates.  Or pictures.  But I’m home now, so here they are.

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