Thursday, August 16, 2007

Playing in the Rain

On Saturday Aug 11th, the Broken Consort played at the Summer Muse garden concert at Boxwood Cottage here in Powell River. We played last year's Summer Muse too, and enjoyed fine weather and an appreciative audience. This year the audience was just as appreciative, but the weather was.... challenging!

The day itself was grey. When we arrived at the garden and brought our instruments, stands, and other stuff up to the "green room", we realised that the grape arbor being used as the green room had no roof. Just grape leaves. We hadn't noticed this last year, under sunshine, but this year as it began to sprinkle it was brought forcibly to our attention that things were getting wet. Violins and cellos, natural skin drums, and wooden recorders don't like this, not to mention sheet music! Instruments had to stay in their cases till the last minute, a few things got tucked under a metal shelf for protection, and we armed ourselves with clothespins against the wind.

The stage itself was covered by a large nylon parachute. This worked well for keeping the rain off, so we settled ourselves in when our turn came, and started playing. The audience, huddled under umbrellas and with jackets pulled over heads, ignored the wet and gave us their attention. Then.... splash!

Because of its shape, the parachute overhead had a series of dips at the edge, between the guyline attachment points. These dips had been collecting water and they now began to overflow at intervals.

Splash! That was Master Stephen's left leg. Splash! That was my bow hand, and some of the music on the floor in front of me. We huddled closer under the parachute, as far away from the edges as we could get.

Splash! That was my fiddle case. Good thing it was closed.

Things got wetter, and then windier. In spite of multiple clothes pins, my music blew away and I had to switch to following off the part of Lady Cassandra, next to me. The drum skin was damp and made a distinctly muffled sound.

We persevered, right up to the last piece. Several splashing cascades and a wind gust brought us to a just slightly premature end as I cut off the last repeat.

Luckily the next performer was a single individual who could sit right under the middle of the parachute! Being already damp, I sat in the rain to listen to the following performances and enjoyed fiddle music from Kathy, a flute-and-string trio (Ann, Faye and Janet), and Ethnic Junction, a womens vocal and percussion group performing world music from many places.

Then I took everything home and laid it out to dry!

PS: no criticism of our hosts, Anthony and Diana, is intended - the garden was as delightful as always and everything well organised. We just don't expect weather like this in the middle of August!

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