Cuba Tour Fundraising Concert - Sunday, June 2nd @ 2:00pm.
Join Stellae Boreales in their final fundraising concert before their performance tour of Cuba.
National Gallery Theatre, 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
Tickets: $15/adults, $5/students.
Cuba Tour Fundraising Concert - Sunday, June 2nd @ 2:00pm.
Join Stellae Boreales in their final fundraising concert before their performance tour of Cuba.
National Gallery Theatre, 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
Tickets: $15/adults, $5/students.
I had every good intention of writing a blog post or two but got so caught up in our tour that I became a bit selfish with my time.
It is difficult to know where to begin so I will start by describing the most wonderful aspect of the tour.
The students of SB were nothing short of amazing. The performance schedule was gruelling but they somehow managed to be perform each and every time with energy, beauty and joy. A concert didn't go by where I didn't have a tear to wipe away! Their manners, stage decorum and passion for their music making was unbelievable to watch. These young people were the best ambassadors for Canada that anyone could imagine! I would personally like to congratulate each and every one of them for bringing their teachers, families and country so much pride!
It was also a lot of fun to watch them interact in the down time and sightseeing. They frolicked and teased and sang and rolled down hills ( literally)! On the bus ride back to Ottawa they were all singing the Icelandic national anthem. The girls shopped for fun fashions and the boys just kept eating. If some parents did get a token souvenir or gift I am partly responsible for insisting that the boys buy some little thing for their mom's! Jae-Won bought chocolates for his mother and kept asking me on the plane ride home if he could eat some of them!
Rosemarie, Kit and Judy were their usual dedicated, hard working and supportive team. They were constantly there for all the students for any encouragement, suggestions or advice that was needed. A tour of this magnitude demands very long hours and dealing with a lot of detail. They went way and beyond their expected roles to be sure that the concerts were always organized and wonderful. Your children were in the best hands possible.
It was great fun for Ed and I to get to know the students better and meet the parents and volunteers. Maria worked so tirelessly for many months and her hard work paved the way for a memorable experience for all. So many others did so much to help and contribute.
This tour was the first time that we added master classes to the curriculum and I am happy to report that it was an excellent idea. All the SB participants had the opportunity to work with a distinguished Icelandic faculty and get another perspective on how to play the violin well . They worked on their technique and musical interpretation and are all better musicians now as a result. They sat for very long periods of time to hear and support their colleagues and were so attentive. I had a lot of fun teaching the Icelandic students and heard some wonderful and talented kids. As you all know, I am passionate about teaching and loved every minute of this part of the programme. We must continue these master classes for future tours.
Iceland is a magical country and quite unlike any other place in the world. The air is so clean and the drinking water the best that I have ever tasted. We loved our trip to the Blue Lagoon and bathing in the warm geothermal seawater. I'm not sure that Ed and I look younger as a result but we sure feel better! We rented a car and travelled to many of the signature sights. The landscapes were breathtaking and in some ways haunting. The volcanic rocks that scatter the landscape make you feel like you are not on planet earth. I especially loved the views of the sea which, understandably, surrounded us.
It is no secret that I love to shop and that I did! The fashion is fabulous and very European. I found clothing and food much more expensive than what we pay in Canada but yes, I was able to add a couple of new frocks to my wardrobe. Iceland is the home of soup and bread and it is probably because of the cool and often damp climate. This was my favourite part of the cuisine and we ate many a memorable bowl with fantastic rustic bread.
Having constant daylight was another fascinating experience and the first few nights I just sat at my window looking outside when my watch read 3:00 am. People were walking, riding their bicycles or just hanging out. Very weird!! I never felt that fatigue that consumes us in Canada when it gets dark in the late afternoon.
Before I sign off I should also mention that the audiences for our concerts were wonderful. The students got standing ovations and lots of bravos. This kind of response thrilled the kids and certainly motivated them to continue to do their very best and work even harder.
I am still in a bit of a daze and hanging on to so many special moments from the trip. I don't want the memories to fade too quickly!
What a positive adventure the trip to Iceland has been for everyone, children, parents, Icelanders, and tourists in Iceland. Our students were exemplary in both playing and behaviour. Truly any teachers would love to have such a wonderful young respectful group of students enjoying themselves and not only looking out after each other, but celebrating and cheering each other on. Hopefully this deep appreciatation and support for each other will provide a model for what life can be like, as opposed to the typical image of “lack” or “limited resources” that is so pervasive in society today. These students formed a “team”of the best calibre, and even if they are children, I think it would be valuable for experts in human capital and organizational structure to examine what these youth are able to do, as they achieve what is so challenging for adults to accomplish. Childrens' capacities are often underestimated, and they themselves are usually perceived incomplete adults. Why not see students as whole and complete beings as they are, with the gifts of insight and understanding that they possess…that are so often able to pierce the veils and images of adulthood.
Our family members also on the trip were greatly supportive, helping out where they could. In fact, we were more of just one family, with parents and children interminigling in different groupings pending the day or hour. Everyone was welcome. It was lovely to witness the development of friendships, laughter and fun.
Icelanders really enjoyed our musical work…in fact it was heart-felt. You could feel their intention to hear more, as if there was no choice but to play more…it was an interesting experience with a subtle and unique quality of its own. Perhaps this is somewhat like the power of their volcanoes and geysirs, always present and then expressed as needed. Icelanders' love of the arts is well known, and it really showed up at our last concert, as we had many attendees despite it being a beautifullly warm evening. To give you context, there are no “snow” days for Icelandic children, just “sun” days when it gets nice and warm, and students are let out of school to enjoy these are events. So, to have any audiance on such a phenomenal sunny and warm evening was a real testament to the Icelandic appreciation of the arts. It is so rare to be received by an audiance like this, and a real blessing to have experienced. Although different, it reminded me in a way of our reception by the Spanish-speaking retirees who formed the core of a concert last year in New York.
A big thank you to everyone involved, particularly MB, who made it all happen. To all the students, have a wonderful summer break.
Today was pretty awesome!!! Actually, it was GREAT! The most memorable day…yes that’s right! First we got to do more sightseeing in this beautiful country called Iceland. Taking pictures from the top of cliffs looking out to the ocean to bathing in the Blue Lagoon…an experience of a lifetime. All of that to say that it was amazing. The lava rock fields that cover most of Iceland are absolutely mesmerizing…but maybe that’s just me…I found them really cool. The mountains and cliffs gave the most majestic views of the ocean and its waves hitting against the rocks. As for the Blue Lagoon, it makes your skin very soft and does many other benefits to your body as well. The perfect place to relax and indulge in the moment; floating easily in the milky sky blue waters, surrounded by lava rocks. And that doesn’t include how inviting the resort looks…it’s so fancy and very hi-tech! Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. This day, this trip, this awesome experience. Anyway, I had lots of fun with the amazing people who were on this trip. If anyone gets the chance to come to Iceland…DO IT!!!! You won’t regret it! Believe me it’s so GORGEOUS here!!!! Peace ;)
What a lovely end to our week in Iceland! Today it was sunny and warm as we took a tour of the Reykjanes Peninsula. We stopped at a lava field which stretched as far as we could see in one direction and ended at a cliff facing the ocean in the other direction. After eating our lunch and taking a walk to see the beautiful rocky shore we moved on to the Blue Lagoon. Nestled in a lava field, the milky coloured salt water was heated by geothermal energy and divided into several separate pools. We bought snacks and drinks from a bar set right in the water.
In the evening we performed at our last concert of the tour which featured soloists, AT and ET playing the first mvt of the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor and Schindler’s List by John Williams. When the audience clapped enthusiastically at the end of the concert the whole group performed, as our encore, an energetic Hungarian Dance no. 1 by Brahms.
Today was so much fun! There were two activities, riding Icelandic horses or whale watching. I went horse riding. The horses are so beautiful! By the way, don't call them ponies or the horses will be upset! Although they are pony sized, they have a horses' nature. The horses were very friendly and loved all the attention we gave them, I gave my horse my apple core from my lunch so that made her really happy, but don't tell! We rode on a beautiful trail, the view of the houses from a hill was lovely! The horses were all so good and calm. One of the kids said, "This is like being in heaven!" The Icelandic horse is very special, its breed is still pure because once you bring the horses out of Iceland, you can't bring them back in. They were brought by the Vikings. They can also do two extra gaits, the Tolt and the Pace as well as the usal gaits, walk, trot, canter, and gallop. Icelandic horses are awsome!
Evan's Blog of yea...
A new day! So many days passed so fast! Breakfast...a bad start. No salmon, salami, or croissants. I only had oranges and tomatoes. The only "breakfast combo" I had was fish and cheerios (just like the first day of Iceland.) I mixed my orange juice with one of the Koolaid sugar packs Jezlyn gave me (thanks Jezlyn!) but after I finished drinking it, I still had sugar on the bottom of my cup. The apple juice had honey in it. Weird lol? Oh well, I was waiting 5 minutes to get my key for my coat. I can't believe so many people didn't come! (Ahemmm, almost no little girls.) I felt bad that Ethan had allergies. I haven't experienced any yet, but I've been having fun with videos like the coffee drinking (Devon can show you.)
(Devon and Jezlyn playing angry birds. Was I supposed to write that?)
Oops, oops, the museum didn't open until 10:oo. Learning about the history of Iceland, seeing human viking skeletons, the Viking still has his bones connected to the body. Devon and Olivier moving 0.1km/hr, Jezlyn tasering me. Good museum though!
Lunch was fine! I came a bit late to get bread, but I really enjoyed the soup. Walking to the master class, me and Devon were laughing louder than the busy streets of Snorrabraut (named that because drunk drivers are snorring.)
Dinner was awesome! There was chicken burgers and drumsticks! I took 12 drumsticks and 6 strips. "Sorry chickens, I was too hungry!"
The concert was just fine. No need to talk about it, unless you want to hear about my dehydration.
The convenience store visit was roger that. I got 2 Cokes and 1 water bottle. Coming back to the hotel, I just made a new video with Devon.
I guess I'm done, because the last statement here is that I am writing my blog on Jezlyn's mom's computer. Good luck next bloggers and next day!
What an amazing concert! This is Stellae Boreales' 5th out of 6 concerts in Iceland and they just keep getting better and better. Today's concert was held at Bustadarkirkja Church and although the concert was not advertised until this morning and the weather was the nicest it has been all summer, there were still many attendees.
As they played through their repertoire, the applause got louder and more intense with each piece, including a standing ovation for soloist Jae-won.
When the concert was over, the audience gave the group a standing ovation which turned into clapping for an encore. The group played Poeme for the cheering and teary-eyed crowd.
All the violinists were so excited with the feedback that they had received that the chaperones decided to reward them with ice cream on the way back to the hotel.
It was quite an evening to remember...
I have an Icelandic hero! He is Oliver, our bus driver, who saved me from the humiliation of forgetting the concert programs. We were all off the bus at Bustadarkirkja and I was walking through the wide wooden doors into the lobby when I realized – no music bag that carried the box of programs that Sherry and I were to distribute to the audience! What to do? Olli was driving away but I ran out and told him my predicament. Dare I ask? Was he allowed? Could he possibly? Take me back to get the programs? “I can do that” Olli smiled and replied.
So I got a solo trip in a 48 seater coach to the FossHotel Baron and after a sprint to my room for the programs back to the church in lots of time to greet our audience.
Thanks to my hero – Oliver!
What a nice day! We started off the day by visiting the National Museum of Iceland. I found it surprisingly more exciting than I thought it would be! Charlotte, Jerry , Bennett, Ethan and me took funny pictures of us in costumes, listened to videos about Icelandic history and played on Nintendos and whiteboards after the museum’s visit . Later, we ate a delicious lunch of fruits, soup, bread and carrot cake and headed off to the masterclass with Gudny. She gave many helpful tips at every single part of the pieces that my colleagues played. I was happy to be there. I found it hilarious how both Bennett and Jerry hurried to reach their cameras to film Jae-Won play Devil’s Trill!
For the past couple of days, I have been a bit stressed I must admit. But after performing solos at various venues across Iceland, I feel great. I’ve learned many useful tips by attending the masterclass es and I look forward to applying my new found knowledge to my future performance. This has been an awesome trip!
Tonight was a brilliant night! We entered Bustadarkirkja to gorgeous organ music reverberating through the church: it was thrilling. We played our music beautifully. The music sounded great not only because of our expert playing but also because there were good acoustics. Simi was our first soloists, and she came up onto the stage looking confident even though she was nervous! She played the melody beautifully, the notes soaring into the church. The superb duet was played by Mathew and Laura, the two parts merging into one gorgeous piece. Jae-won played his solo amazingly. The contrast was superb with the lyrical first part going into the quick exciting second part. The greatly appreciative audience even gave him a standing ovation! We finished with the combined repertoire. Ave Maria and Poeme were stirringly played and I’m certain they touched the hearts of everyone there. The Bach Double was a great contrast to the two slower pieces. The audience began applauding and gave us a standing ovation! They kept applauding and we ended up giving three bows before we walked off. The claps began to get into a steady rhythm and before long they were asking for an encore! We played Poeme again even though many of us thought we should have done Hungarian Dance instead. We stopped on the way back to the hotel for ice cream as a treat for such a stupendous concert. Even though I was the first that got ice cream, I wasn’t the first to finish it! We had a successful concert and we had a lot of fun afterwards. Iceland is a great place to be!
What an activity packed day! I managed to sleep in until 8:35am! When I got up I quickly threw on some clothes and went downstairs to the amazing breakfast buffet. In the morning from 7 - 10am the hotel always has a ton of stuff laid out (smoked salmon, waffles, fruit, boiled eggs, bread, cereal, yogurt and more) and you can pick and choose what you want! After a scrumptious breakfast, I went upstairs to pack. We wouldn't be coming back to Hotel Baron, so we had to pack a set of casual clothes, your muisc, your violin, your stand and your swimsuit and towel! We left in our concert blacks. My grandma, Arlene, Michelle, Jezlyn and I went on a rather unsuccessful shopping trip before we had to meet in the lobby. The one benefit of that shopping trip was that I changed my money into kroners. After that we all got on a bus to Hallgrimskirkja because it was raining. At Hallgrimskirkja we played a very short concert. I thought that the concert went very well! It was an amazing experience playing in such a huge and beautiful church! The acoustics were okay but not brilliant. We ended up with quite a good turn out! Since Hallgrimskirkja is such a big tourist attraction many people who came to go up in the tower watched our concert first! After the concert we were given coffee, juice and cookies! We then got back on the bus and went to Hotel Lind for lunch featuring smoked lamb on pita. After lunch we went to a music school to meet up with other Suzuki students. We had a practice for the concert that we were to play in the park. We watched the blobbly seals get fed before we headed to the tent where we played the concert in. The seals were so cute flopping and blobbing from the land to the water! It was amazing to watch! They made funny sneeze-snort sounds! We played the concert. On the last piece we couldn't find our music and everyone else started. So we had to play it by memory. We then went back on the bus to go to the swimming pool. It was a little awkward in the change rooms because we had to shower naked. We had to wash thoroughly with soap before getting into our swimsuits. It was awkward to us who weren't use to it. Swimming was great fun! There was a water slide that was very fun! It started like a normal water slide then it was dark, then dark with white bands, then dark, then dark with multi-coloured stars, then it becamse normal again and you popped out into the pool! My friends and I did that quite a few times then we did some baskets with a ball and a net that was hung above the water. This experience was very pleasant even though it was an outdoor pool because the water was quite warm! After our swim we went to Hotel Lind for dinner, then back to Hotel Baron for a well deserved rest!
today was a very long, fun day :) the best part of it, was that we got to sleep in until 9am. At first we had a concert in the Hallgrimskirkja church, and we had a very large audience. after that we went to have lunch at Hotel Lind, and after that we went to a waterpark, and it was really fun there as well.
Today, we finally got the chance to sleep in, and it felt great. Our day started off with a short concert at Hallgrimkirkja with our largest audience yet. Following lunch at Hotel Lind, we had a joint rehearsal with the Islandic Suzuki group and a joint concert at the family zoo. After the joint concert, we had the option of going swimming or attending Elaine's masterclass. I choose to attend the masterclass and heard works by Haydn, Bruch and Viotti. Overall it was a great day!
Today was a full day. It started early this morning with a tour of a Viking garden in Borgarnes, followed by a quick trip to the largest hot springs in Europe and finally ending with a spectacular waterfall. It was chilly but sunny and our day ended with a concert after dinner which was much enjoyed by all who attended. I even saw one of the music students that we played with us on Friday in the audience. Our day was full of fun with good friends. This trip has been great and is only going to get better!!!
Today we went to the largest hot spring in Europe, a waterfall, and to a very beautiful garden. The steam that came out of the hot spring smelt horrible, but it felt refreshing! The lunch after that was scrumptious, and hilarious. Evan had gotten coffee instead of hot chocolate, and Sara had added way too much milk in that! Ethan also had coffee, but on purpose. They were both hyper after all that caffeine! After the concert, most of us were hungry, so we ate pizza around 12am and that tasted good!
On the 2nd of July we got on the bus right after breakfast to go on the Golden Circle Tour. First of all, we stopped at the waterfall "Gullfoss" where we also had lunch. Then we went to the hotspring "Geysir" and "Litil Geysir". It was a very fun day!
Today we went on the Golden Circle Tour, but our guide said that it was more like a triangle because there were three places that were the most visited and their locations formed a triangle. First, we went on a walk in the mountains and we got a great view of Iceland. I got to take lots of pictures. We went to see a waterfall second. It was amazing watching the waterfall when I was standing right above it! Last, we went to see the geysers. We got to see one erupt three times in a row! It was a lot of fun watching the gyser erupting; the guide told us that it was really rare for one to erupt three times in a row. I had a fantastic day today and I hope I can have a chance to come back again!
The jet lag we are all feeling is slowly wearing off. Thank goodness! This morning we went to walk around the neighbourhood sights, which consisted of a lot of walking in circles plus a really cool church. Lunch was delicious (PASTA!) and then we went off to play with an Icelandic chamber group. That was pretty awesome, considering they spoke limited English and we spoke no Icelandic. Now, after supper, it's bedtime. Just another busy day in Iceland!
Today, on Canada Day, we woke up to see the picturesque and breathtaking mountains of Iceland on the horizon. We shuttled downstairs for a scrumptious breakfast, and then proceeded to walk over to a gargantuan Lutheran Church situated in the heart of Reykjavik. The architectury was masterful and intricate, and we were able to see and hear an immense, but stately organ.
We thoroughly enjoyed this visit and thought it really exemplified the presence of culture and refinement in Iceland! Afterward, we sauntered down to Iceland's boutiques and browsed the unique selection. We were scrutinizing some truly spectacular shoes, in varying colours and designs, but unfortunately the prices were far from affordable. Finally, we were bused to the Nordic house, where we participated in a joint concert with an Icelandic chamber orchestra. Their music was exotic, feisty, and expertly executed. We were able to play a mixed performance of the Bach Double, which unified us in the ubiquitous language of music. We socialized with members of the Icelandic ensemble. It was a monumental day in the scheme of our tour.
Today (the 1st of July), we had breakfast in the morning and headed to a church called "Hallgrimskirkja", which is the tallest church in Iceland. It was really, really tall and we took the elevator to the top. After lunch,we also met with the Suzuki chamber orchestra of Iceland. It was a fun day!
Today, we landed in Keflavik at about 6:50am at the airport lan. We picked up our luggage and took a bus to Reykjavik. The bus took us to our Hotel where some of us got our rooms. We had breakfast, it hit the spot. Evan says, "Cheerios are great, but Cheerios and fish are even better." And then we took a bus tour around Reykjavik. When we got back from the tour we had a nap which we all needed. At about 4:30pm a bus picked us up and took us to city hall where we had a concert for the Canadian ambassador. It was really fun. The bus took us back to our hotel where we changed and walked to Hotel Lind where we had lasagna and garlic bread. Yum! We returned to our hotel where we got a good night's sleep.
The sun never actually set while we were on the plane. Maybe that’s why we’re all so tired. Actually, I slept for an extra hour on the bus, and completely missed a tourist attraction, which is all right because I needed some sleep to fill in for the 0 hours of sleep I got during the “night” on the plane. On the plane, we actually got to see part of Greenland. It was illuminated by the sun, which I was not used to because the time was 2:30 AM. My0 AM. My first site of Iceland was of a volcanic glacier, and it actually looks like this all around Iceland.
It was an early morning for many when we all gathered at the Tichbourne's house, preparing for our 7 hour bus ride. People once believed a sore throat could be cured by hanging a potato around your neck, was a quote on a NYF box from one of the stops on our way to Toronto. Everyone was getting tired of travelling when finally we got onto our airplane for a sleepless night.
The long trip to Iceland was possibly the most tiring thing I have done; people sleeping and yawning every way you look. The worst part is that I haven't slept more than 5 minutes since 7:00 a.m. on the day of our departure. When we arrived, we went on a tour to the capital city, Reykjavik, which pointed out the many interesting features of Iceland. On the tour bus, many people were trying to catch up on some sleep. After our tour, we went to hotel and had much-needed break. Following, we performed in our first concert, which took place in the Embassy of Canada for Canada Day. The food that we were served was amazing, I must admit. To our surprise, the former president of Iceland attended. Overall, I believe that we had a fantastic start to our trip, enough though I am DEAD tired right now. Looking forward to tomorrow!