After two weeks spent in Puerto Rico, The International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico (ICOPR) completed 8 concerts, several master classes, and reached out to many students, young children, and adults with disabilities.
The local community we visited appeared fascinated because they had never seen classical music instruments before. At rehearsal breaks the children would be paraded around the orchestra to look at our instruments. It was funny and it was almost as if we were, “animals in a zoo”. They were delighted and in many cases the students came up and touched the instruments. It was sweet!
We also had a chance to see the developments after Hurricane Maria. The people were so kind and warm. We heard stories of people without phone and electricity for seven months! Some people had to sleep in their cars at night. The only thing they had was a car and gas. No phone and no computer for that long! (Maybe that would be good?) The gift of music to the Puerto Rico community was really appreciated.
Throughout the weeks the principal players of the orchestra were giving master classes to the young aspiring musicians of Puerto Rico at each city we performed in.
On the odd off day, we visited beaches throughout the territory of Puerto Rico. There was a gorgeous surfing resort town called Rincón where we saw some super interesting waves. Some of us rented paddle boards, enjoyed the beach, and enjoyed the local dives. The visit inspired me to think I may want to move here for part of the year.
While in Toronto last week, Joseph and I rehearsed together for the first time for an upcoming premiere concert in Auer Hall on March 31 for a piece written by Chiel Meijering scored for bassoon, clarinet, accordion and string orchestra titled “Tribulations of Modern Love” James Campbell, clarinet IU faculty member will join us as well as strings from the Jacobs School of Music with David Jang, conducting. Composer, Chiel Meijering will attend the premiere.
It was great and rather exciting to be back in Toronto to play acting principal bassoon. I played one performance of Rigoletto with no rehearsal and it was a blast from the past as I was a member of the Canadian Opera Company from 1989-93. It is nice to work with old friends and hear the orchestra as I sat in the middle of the pit. It is always a nostalgic feeling to return to orchestra life for a brief moment in time.
This performance will include a premiere of bassoon concerto “Perpetuate Transmigration” by Cheil Meijering. After the performance there will be lecture about the several bassoon concertos written for Kathleen McLean in 2016 and 2017.