2018 Vancouver, BC

TYWO Takes Vancouver!
~by Beryl Macleod

In the spring of 2018 the Wind Orchestra travelled to Vancouver, BC. and gave concerts as featured guests of the Cantando Music Festival in Whistler, BC. This marked the Wind Orchestra’s first ever appearance in Western Canada and the centrepiece for the excursion featured a presentation of Gustav Holst’s masterwork The Planets.

April 26, 2018 found the Wind Orchestra assembled bright and early – well, early, if not bright – at Terminal One of Pearson International Airport, ready to embark on AC 103, destination: Vancouver, BC .. as guest performers at the 2018 Cantando Music Festival in the idyllic resort of Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Arriving in temperatures many degrees warmer than those we had left behind, we loaded bags and instruments on to the waiting bus and drove to Granville Island to re-acquaint ourselves with fresh air, before heading for the hills. A brief stop at Shannon Falls afforded us a photo opp and a chance encounter with the ensemble from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, which was bound for the same destination as us. An hour later, we pulled into Whistler Village where our rehearsal space awaited us. Rehearsal was followed by the welcome arrival of pizza, before musicians dispersed to discover what the area had to offer.

Friday was one of those balmy, perfect Spring days – and no better place to spend it than in a fusion of blossoms, green bushes (not of the Grainger variety!) and snow-covered mountain slopes. Then came the time for a sound check and the concerts that were the raison d’être for the months of planning and practice. Concert #1 was fantastic – a discerning and enthusiastic audience of 1500 cheering music students. They left the auditorium to be replaced by the “second sitting” – an even more enthusiastic and louder cheering audience of another 1500 students TYWO was never more loved and appreciated! A celebratory post-concert supper at the Old Spaghetti Factory rounded out a super-terrific day!

Saturday morning saw us load up the bus for the return to Vancouver and a guided tour of the city before checking into our hotel. The selection of the Rio Brazilian Steakhouse for the traditional last-night-of-the-tour banquet was quite the hit. Rumour has it that Sebastian, our unassuming harp player, won the prize at his table for being the last musician to concede defeat by refusing the 23rd serving of meat! On to the Orpheum Theatre for a performance by the Vancouver Symphony, with a Meet ‘n Greet by TYWO Alumnus Andrew Mee during the intermission, now playing French Horn in the VSO and happy to join the current crop of TYWO horns in a group photo.

All too soon, it was Sunday morning, time for one final stroll through the breakfast buffet before loading up the bus once more, for the drive to the airport and the return flight home. A load of happy musical memories, friendships forged and plans laid for TYWO On Tour – 2019.