Jazz invades the PEI Symphony, and Anne throws down the gauntlet!

This past Sunday was the PEI Symphony’s pops concert featuring jazz pianist Doug Riley (along with Chris Mitchell, sax; Jamie Gatti, bass; and Alan Dowling, drums) in Doug’s own “Concerto” for jazz piano and orchestra, The PEI Suite. Doug and the guys were amazing; it was a great concert. We also played John Fenwick’s Charlottetown Festival Suite which, of course, contained selections from Anne of Green Gables-The Musical. Now, I have played in the orchestra for the Charlottetown Festival’s production of Anne for 17 years, and have logged well over 1000 performances, so you’d think Fenwick’s Suite would be a piece of cake for me. Oddly enough, it ended up being the hardest thing on the program, not because it was difficult per se, but because it was a different arrangement than the one I am used to. I have the “real” show memorized, and am so conditioned to playing that arrangement that my mind and body can almost not cope with having to play different notes. We’d be playing along, and I’d have a few notes that were “right”, but then I’d see the next note and would be hearing another. I’d find my slide moving all on its own out to 4th position when it should have been moving in to 1st. What a weird sensation. It required my highest concentration – it was worse than sight reading! In fact, I had to pretend I was sight reading – to pretend I had never heard the music before – in order to make it work. There is such a thing as knowing something too well.

Incidentally, if you live in PEI and want some fruit (apples, oranges or grapefruit), why not buy it from the Symphony. The annual PEI Symphony Citrus Sale is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year (details here). I bought a bag of grapefruit myself the other day, and they are delicious. I might have to go buy more, because the kids seem to like them too!

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