Today was our last full day in Montreal as tomorrow we hit the road and head back to Fredericton. This was the day that we went shopping, much to the delight of many of the students. Luckily for me, a group wanted to go to Archambault, a fabulous music store, so I got to take them. We took the metro down to Berri-UQAM and the students were excited just seeing the outside of the store. So much bigger than anything we have in Fredericton for sure! We spent quite a bit of time there looking around and then headed back toward where we were to meet the rest of the group. Lunch was a stop in a little place where I had both a smoked meat sandwich and poutine. What else could a person really want? Our next stop was at HMV down on Ste-Catherine’s. Also and experience you can’t get at home!
Our afternoon included a tour of Old Montreal on an amphibious bus, so not only did we drive around the streets a bit to look at the architecture, but we also went out on the water. Our bus driver was 71 and our tour guide was in costume. I am not usually a really panicky person, and I love being on the water, but as soon as the bus was in the water I wanted to turn around and head back to land. It could be that the ceiling around the skylights was leaking. Our tour guide joked that as long as the leaks were above us and not below that we were doing ok. I actually think that it was the fact that the bus did not feel like a boat when it was in the water. The tour was pretty neat other than that. We saw some condos (or at least they are now condos) that were built for Expo 76 for the VIPS. The condos were designed by an architect who wanted to mimic homes perched on the side of a mountain, and I think he succeeded. Sadly, it was a very rainy day today and the windows fogged up quite badly in the bus. We were allowed to go out onto the back step to take a look around, so I spent a fair amount of time out there.
Dinner was at the Upstairs Jazz Club. We had the place to ourselves and had entertainment during our meal. The entertainment was Sara Latendress who was accompanied by a fellow playing 7-string guitar and a pianist. The music was great and in fact I thought she could give Carol Welsman a run for her money. One of the nice things was that she and the other musicians interacted with our students and actually had two of the percussions go up to play on a song with them. They also got another student to go up and sing with them for a song. It is always nice for the students to have that sort of interactive experience. Just so you know, the sign looks like it is upside down, but Upstairs is actually in the basement.
The end of our day was going to a third concert at the Festival Musique de Chambre. This concert featured the extraordinary competition winners; three highly accomplished young musicians. Before the concert we met Conrad Tao who played the piano. He was a lovely young man of the age of 16 who will be attending Columbia in the fall. He was great at interacting with our students telling them a bit about his life and then fielding questions. Also in the concert were Timothy Chooi (violin) and Mehdi Ghazi (piano). The highlight of the concert for me was the final piece (Menhelssohn’s piano trio #1 in d minor, Op. 49) for which Dennis Brott (cello and organizer of the festival) joined Conrad and Tim. They were all fantastic, although Tim’s playing did capture my attention the most. He has absolutely incredible bow control! It was very nice for me to end the concerts off with a concert of classical music.
Now we are back at the dorms and the students are in the process of trying to fit all of their new purchases into their bags. Tomorrow will be a long day of traveling!