I'm writing you from the train - somewhere in the middle of Manitoba en route from Vancouver to Montreal. Now, I have hopped from coast to coast across this country so many times, but never traveled from the coast of BC to points east via the ground. It's a whole different experience to watch the topography change - from the Fraser Valley through BC and the Rocky Mountains and the fields of Saskatchewan to the rolling green plains of Manitoba. Well, that's as far as I've gone so I have no flowery descriptive words for the rest. All I can tell you is - I'm feelin' the love for Canada! Cue the emotional patriotic music. Truly. As a person who chose this country, to experience it in this way is very moving. Pun intended. WHY am I taking 4 days to get to Montreal when I could get there in five hours you ask? Well, Via rail has developed a brilliant program for providing musical entertainment for passengers by trading travel for artists on the Vancouver-Toronto run and the Toronto-Halifax run. So it's win win for all. The passengers love it - it's a wonderful way to get across the country, and the artist makes all sort of new friends/fans from around the world. I'll be honest...it is one of the stranger performance settings I've ever experienced - sort of like playing in a small room that's bouncing around wildly, with the occasional group of folks walking across "the stage" on their way to the next car. It definitely requires some adjustment in professional expectations but hey - I'm a bendy gal, and have had some of my favourite experiences as a performer in the less cushy scenarios. I feel very fortunate to get to have this experience and have loved every minute of it.
I was a bit concerned before I left about spending 4 days without getting any exercise, but I needn't have worried. The train is 22 cars long, which translates to about 1/3 of a mile from end to end. Sometimes I play at either end - which also means 40 doors to open en route while careening from side to side carrying instruments. Yee haw! It's a workout! But the people...both the crew and the passengers are wonderful. And it's very relaxing. There's a lot of napping involved. But I'm loving every minute of it. Viva la Via!
So...congratulations to us for making it through winter! Canada IS going to get closer to the sun! I know it's real when I feel compelled to power wash all the green slime off my decks, and my groundhogs - the goldfish - come out from under the rocks in the pond. Just before I left, four fish appeared and I'd been thinking all winter there was only one left. Awww. Now, if only our pond wasn't on the Herons' flight path.
When I arrive on Montreal Julia and Ted and I begin a month of touring around Quebec and Ontario leading up to Julia's graduation from McGill on June 7th. Her Dad, his wife Holly, and brother Mike are all going to be there. It'll be one big slumber party in Julia's tiny apartment! As it turns out, this is NOT Julia's exodus from Montreal. She was just selected as one of seven students chosen for the Masters Program in Sound Recording at McGill, so she'll be in Montreal for two more years! Wow. Did NOT see that one coming!
The schedule for the Ontario shows is below. The trio will be doing shows in BC as soon as we get back - I haven't finished booking but I'll list what I have confirmed, and the Pied Pumkin will also be touring in July (maybe for the last time?) and then back to trio shows until Ted and Julia head back to Montreal. So....BUSY summer!
Till we meet again my friend. Stay safe and healthy and don't forget to breathe. (Advice I must remember to take myself!)