Saturday, August 20, 2005

3 Aug 05: Parade Away and the Concert

I am feeling quite mixed up in my perception of time now. It is 10.50 a.m. and I don't feel fully awake as I would usually be. I shall get over this jet-lag soon, I hope.

I shall fight the untimely sense of sleepiness with writing.

Well, to help you folks feel mixed up, whatever dates you will see now (actually, ever since my post for 2 Aug 05) will be according to UK time. I beg you to bear with my unusual sense of being evil as I make you experience how it felt like to lose 7 hours unknowingly.
The quoted passages are entries taken directly from my tour journal, I wrote it a day after the 3 Aug:

"It is 3 Aug 05. In the morning, all participants were scheduled to participate in the Festival Parade of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and that would start at 10.30 a.m.

I woke up at 5 a.m., Aberdeen's time. It is summertime, and even though it was just 5 a.m., it was already pretty bright. It would have been much darker in Singapore at this time in the morning.

Breakfast today started at 7 a.m. On most other days that would follow, it would be 7.45 a.m. I love breakfast and on that day, I was looking forward to it. I was early, so I had to wait for breakfast to be served. If anyone were to attempt to go into the canteen before the official breakfast time, he/she would be denied entry.

While waiting for breakfast to be served, I walked about alone around the hostel's compounds. The air is fresh in Aberdeen. I took some photographs of rabbits running around within the compounds. I also listened in to the voices of the seagulls. They do seem irritating to a light-sleeper in the early morning, but since they were novel animals to me, I could happily bear with their constant cries and enjoy their incessant crying. I had wanted to take photographs of the seagulls but not of much success."

I shall dedicate this photo to Wabbit. Hope it would help put some smiles to her face. The date stamped on the photo reads 6 Aug 05 because I felt Wabbit would prefer this photo of the rabbits that I took on the 6th. The one that I took on the 3rd was not as nice as this one. I end this paragraph by saying: Rabbits in Aberdeen seem so carefree. They run fast too. It was hard to get too close to them. They would have ran far away.

"Breakfast is nice. I had cereals, peaches in syrup, yogurt and croissants for breakfast. Somehow the butter in Aberdeen tastes nicer than that in Singapore. It tastes more fresh."

You bet that in my mind that day was full of concern of what kind of double bass we would be getting. If I were a superb professional player, I might not have bothered as much. But I must stress that a good double bass can really help make playing so much easier.

"At 8.30 a.m., we moved the musical instruments up on the van to the music hall. I was told that I would be able to see the double basses when we reach the music hall. Unfortunately, much to my disappointments, I was not able to gain access to try on the double basses in the morning. I was at most able to see them from a distance because the room in which they were stored was occupied by dancers from one of the participating groups. Maybe I should have been more insistent?"

Anyway, to help me forget those ill-feelings of disappointments and uncertainties, I tried to catch glimpses of the rehearsals for the opening ceremony. The rehearsal was held in music hall of the City of Aberdeen, and the official opening ceremony would take place at about 11 a.m. at the same place.


Just before 10.30 a.m., a bus took those of us who were at the music hall to the East North Street where the Festival Parade would start. We were to walk from this street and then towards a street called Union Street. Then we were to walk along Union Street towards the music hall. The parade would end at the music hall.

There were many people who stood along the entire stretch of the parade. Many waved as if to welcome us. I suppose it would be polite to wave to them too? So I did. Admittedly, I am not someone bursting with energy to wave throughout the entire stretch of the parade. If I had done so, I would have been exhausted till death even before I have reached the music hall.

At about 11 a.m., the opening ceremony began. The national anthem of each of the countries of all the participating groups wer played during the opening ceremony. We were also treated to several other programmes. There were music played by a bagpipe band, and later music played by a fiddler. There were also dance items.

"My worries came a little true, and I only could realise this after the opening ceremony ended. Much earlier, before the parade, I was told that it would be quite difficult to hire good double basses from the music schools and groups in Aberdeen, and that the organisers had expressed sincere apologies for the lack of good double basses.

I only got to test out and play on the double basses on hire at about 12.15 p.m. We realised two of the four double basses allocated to us were faulty. One had a damaged machine-head, and the other a faulty end-pin. I wished I was a little more insistent on seeing the double basses a day before because that might have saved us from doing last-minute remedial work. Maybe I just needed to have my patience tested on handling last-minute unexpected events?

Thank goodness that the staff members of the AIYF have been as helpful a possible to help find replacement double basses for us. Our concert is on that very evening, and rehearsal was due to start by 2 p.m. Yet, finding replacements did take time, and the two replacement double basses only came at about midway the rehearsal.

Rehearsal was tiring. It started at about 2 p.m. and only ended slightly before 5.30 p.m. I felt quite drained by the end of the rehearsals. It was as if I had worked very intensively throughout the entire duration of the rehearsal.

I looked around after the rehearsals, and saw many of the orchestra members with looks of lethargy on their face. I suspect that could be jet-lag.

After the rehearsal, all of us gathered in one of the dressing rooms. 3 August happended to be our conductor's birthday, and several cakes were being bought to celebrate this occassion.

As the concert were to start by 7.30 p.m. and all of us have to be back by 6.45 p.m., we were really running on very tight schedule for dinner. We were supposed to buy our own dinner and then the organisers would reimbursed us later.

Before getting our dinner, QH, XM, LL and myself went to the railway station which was about 5-10 minutes away to buy train tickets to Edinburgh for our trip the next day. SY, one of ex-orchestra members who had came to Aberdeen to support our concert led the way for us to the railway station. We got our tickets alright.

We bought food from a kebab selling shop. Time was tight, so we ended rushing back to the music hall even before we could eat our meals. When we reached the music hall, we sat nearby the doors of the backdoor to have our dinner. It was just too hot inside the hall with all the heating devices. Outdoors, it was cold, but we were wearing warm clothes so that helped kept us warm. With warm clothes on, most of us would rather stay outdoors to get ventilated air than to stay indoors to bear with the heat and poor air circulation.

Concert started at 7.30 p.m. I was more used to the double bass that I was using after the rehearsals. Thank goodness. I know 'my dear husband' and even 'my boyfriend' (both double basses which I call them affectionately by these names) felt better to play own but the best I could do is to make the most out of what I have. Although one part in me would still like to whine my disappointments away. I wish my feelings could have been better heard back then but I have learnt that if I had expected that, I may end up more disappointed."

Actually, I think I am awfully not understood well many of the times. I don't expect people to solve problems for me, but it often adds to my hurts when I complained about the problems and no one seems to bother to tell me they have heard my underlying feelings. But I have learnt to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone experiences the world as I do. People are trying hard to be as helpful as they could, and for some, being helpful means highlighting the realistic and practical side of the matter, i.e. to tell me that the matter was not much within my full control. It was, and I know. But I was actually asking to be understood! How interesting to know how different people respond to one single situation.

Double bass section

Anyway, before I quote further from my tour journal, here is the double bass section who participated for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. We took this photo backstage on the day of the concert.

By the way, our orchestra's concert was the opening concert for the festival. It is an honour to play for the opening concert, I suppose? Thanks to the organisers for gracing us this honour.

"Our rendition of Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave felt a little shaky. I played a wrong note for one particular bar, and it felt obvious. That was the first and only time that I had made a mistake for that bar so that mistake caught me unexpectedly.

The audience seemed to enjoy the Butterly Lovers' Concerto, and I felt it was certainly well-received. Maybe the audience's ears needed an oriental flavour of music to balance those familiar tunes that they have so often heard in their lands? My guess, and I could be wrong.

As for the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, I felt we were a little not-too-steady at the beginning of the first movement. I felt a sense of being hurried when I was playing. I like the way the second movement for this concert. It sounded much better in general than our rehearsal on that day and it sounded better than our pre-tour concert held on 27 July 2005. The third movement was alright but we could be more spontaneous, I was admittedly feeling more reserved. The fourth movement felt messy from the point of the player. And the entry for the fourth movement came in faster than most of us would have expected. It was a good thing that I was prepared for such an unexpected entry.

After the concert, we headed for the Hillhead hostel after spending time to clear up. It did not take too much time to pack up because the festival's staff helped us with the packing up and the transporting of the double basses.

By the time I was back in my room, I was feeling dead exhausted. I was looking forward to journey to dreamland to have my needed sleep. I slept before midnight that day as early as I could."

(For more related photos, please refer to this post on my other blog: Streets of Aberdeen and the Festival Parade.)


mistipurple said...

i saw the pics in your other blog. very touching, all the people lining up the street to welcome the participants in this music festival. i noticed alot of them are elderly too, all the more touching.

oceanskies79 said...

Mistipurple: Thanks for sharing the experiences of the trip with me.

By the way, I edited this post a little along the way. anyway, i suppose you won't miss much. Have a good weekend.

mistipurple said...

thanks for posting a reply. i read through once more, in case i missed on what you have edited.

just wanted to add that, yes, people sometimes choose to highlight the practicality and sensibility of a problem to us, but all we actually want is for them to understand. i get that too. *wink*

Wabbit said...

Thanks for the pic :) sure made my day... sorry i am kinda bysu with work so i dont reply fast enuff

oceanskies79 said...

Hi Wabbit, thanks for visiting

oceanskies79 said...

And to dear Mistipurple, thanks for being supportive and encouraging. And for seeking to understand.