That was a lot of driving: 1800 KMs to be specific.
We left last Wednesday morning (the morning after the election) a little bleary eyed, for our show in Montreal. This was a return visit to the club Upstairs, and my sister Jennifer was able to come to the show. It was nice to have family there because I wasn’t feeling my best. I actually started back on anti biotics for another chest infection: they seem to come often these days. Anyhow, here I was on the road playing manager, singer, merch girl, and nurse again. I think we actually did really well, except that it takes several days before anti biotics work, which meant they didn’t improve my breathing on the tour. My trumpet player Brigham said, “you hid it well on stage.” Kind of him to say since he is also a professional “breather” for a living.
The next day we drove to Sorel Tracy where I spoke almost totally in French to the audience (being in the middle of rural Quebec) and we had our first standing ovation of the tour. It was really fun and the French Canadians were really enthusiastic. (I only wish I’d had opportunity to try their Poutine… although I did have St. Hubert twice ; )
Third day we drove to Quebec City and stayed at the Chateau Laurier. My room looked over the river, horse drawn carriages and the fort. Pretty sweet. Oh, and there is a wine vending machine in the hotel. How civilized! I gave an interview with the CBC Quebec while in town, and enjoyed our second standing ovation of the tour that night. Peter got to play the nicest grand piano ever, which really helped. I loved our show at the Palais Montcalm and it reminded me of when Tom and I went skating there in February (and yes, the skating rink was up and running again.)
For the last event of our mini tour we headed back to Ontario, to Ottawa specifically. I was able to shoot a Remembrance Day video for my twitter followers in front of a WW1 memorial. We did taps plus “I’ll be Seeing You” with just trumpet and voice. Next we made our way to the Swing Dynamite studios for our evening performance for the community who specialize in teaching fast jitterbug/lindy hop. (They dance way faster than the dancers in Toronto). They asked us to play live for their “jitterbug competition” & so we did a very brisk version of Shine while 8 couples jumped around and did aerials and hack saws and showed their bloomers. It was fun! Since the dancers were already standing we didn’t get a standing ovation per say, but they did chant “one more song” until we did an encore.
It was all in all a good trip. We had some lovely musical moments, sold CDs & I proved I could still do it even when feeling challenged. (My band looked after me and I looked after them.) On some nights this meant singing from a stool since dancing around was too challenging (given current infection) but I still did it, as Brigham said, “you’d never tell.” (Well, I bet my Mother could tell. She’s a keen critic of my condition!) It was discouraging, yes, to be sick again so soon, especially as this tour has taken hundreds of hours and two grants (both Factor and Canada Council) to make happen. But it was a success. At times I felt like I was test driving a new weird car on the race track, but as they say, ‘the show must go on.” And it did. And it was fun. I do think my favorite show was in Sorel Tracy: a powerful set, people really into it and applauding and cheering, and me, speaking french, perched on my stool wearing my black gloves from my Portugal trip. One gent said I was “tres sexy”…. even in English I understood that as a compliment!
Singing in Sorel Tracy Quebec.