Fork Lightening is slicing through the sky on the afternoon of our second day here at the Florida International Festival in Daytona Beach.I hope that we have not brought the great British summer with us!We arrived here on wednesday night after an eventful days travel.The words “Virgin Airlines welcomes the London Sympathy Orchestra” greeted us at our check in desk at Gatwick airport-I wondered if this was a good start to the day.However after a two hour delay we were bound for Orlando.It was all going terribly well until we were greeted upon landing by some spectacular thunder and lightening.This put the baggage ramp out of action so we sat around at baggage reclaim for what seemed like an eternity.Thank heavens Tom Norris had an emergency bag of minstrels in his hand luggage-things may have turned ugly!
The orchestra has been on tour so much this year that it is a real luxury to stay in the same place for twelve days.I packed in such a hurry-I was interested to see what on earth was going to come out of my suitcase.Probably the right shoe of one pair of shoes and the left shoe of another……….
The first LSO concert takes place tonight so we are all looking forward to that.Marin Alsop is conducting Stravinsky Firebird Suite and Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade.Carmine Lauris solos sound absolutely beautiful.Nicolaj Znaider is performing the Mendelssohn violin concerto so it promises to be a wonderful concert.He is one of my favourite violinists so I am particularly looking forward it.
However the first concert LSO mini concert took place last night involving none other than my good self!A great way to beat jet-lag is to organise a stressful concert on the day after you arrive.There is simply no time to think about feeling tired!Gareth Davies,Malcolm Johnston,Rebecca Gilliver,Neil Percy and John Alley were the other players involved and it was a concert featuring music from the Bitish Isles.Gareth also did all the arrangements and I thought that they sounded wonderful.Is there no end to his talents?The concert took place at the Elizabeth Hall at Stetson University which has the most beautiful acoustic.This was however a concert with a difference-we were also reading poems from England,Ireland Scotland and Wales!!Although we perform on stage nearly every day the thought of standing up in front of a hall full of people filled me with absolute horror and I was not the only one.Backstage before the concert began, we were all wandering around reciting poetry.It was all very strange.John Alley had us all in stitches as his impressions of famous actors became more and more ridicuolus.He does a great Lawrence Olivier by the way.
So we agreed that we all just had to go for it and after Malcolms brilliant rendition of “Coming thro’ the Rye” the standard was set.Gareth also read in Welsh and I read in Irish which is something that I have not done for such a long time.I have started to feel quite homesick!Neil Percy excelled on the bodhran-he would not be out of place in any Irish pub.I may be biased but I thought that it was a fantatstic concert and we were all thrilled with the immediate standing ovation at the end.Well deserved I thought!