We love where we live, except that it doesn’t have a symphony orchestra and the sort of high-calibre musical experiences we crave. My sister pulled off a coup in Winnipeg. She informed me that an amazing Canadian violin soloist was playing the season opener for the WSO the day after we arrived. My sister is a professional violinist who subs with the WSO occasionally, and while she wasn’t playing this particular concert, she knew all the ins and outs. Unfortunately due to the wedding we had to leave before the concert.
Well, my sister always finds a way. She figured she’d just talk to The Person Who Makes Things Happen with the WSO (whom Erin happened to have had some coaching from at our little town’s big music school last summer — Erin seemed to make a very good impression with her) and get us permission to attend the dress rehearsal. I’m not sure which had the most effect, my sister’s string-pulling or The Person’s desire to give Erin a little more opportunity than she enjoys in her rural backwater, but I’ll be darned if it didn’t all work out.
We were able to sit in for free on the dress rehearsal and hear the entire performance. It gave the kids a taste of the kind of work a symphony musician does, the banter, the pace, the milieu of a big-time symphonic rehearsal. The repertoire was fun, big and hugely symphonic in scope — the Richard Strauss and Korngold especially. It was stunning. Tickets would have cost us a fortune. We would have paid gladly if we’d been able to attend, but we couldn’t … and this was better. We felt so incredibly privileged to be sitting in our lovely central seats in a sea of empty rows listening to it all taking shape in front of us.