Home again! It’s somehow felt like ages but our whistle-stop tour of Germany is now over. I’m sat on the sofa back home in Brum, and not entirely sure what to do with myself! After five days of buses, trains and planes, four different hotels and concert halls, I can’t shake the ominous feeling that I’m late, or supposed to be somewhere...
Touring is a mad, exhausting, mentally draining but exhilarating process. Although every concert this tour has been to appreciative audiences and full, beautiful concert halls, it was quite an experience to finish the tour in Hamburg at the brand spanking new Elbphilharmonie. “Elphie” to the locals, it is quite simply a breathtakingly stunning building, and to be the first British symphony orchestra to play there was pretty darn cool!
Photos don’t really do the inside of the hall justice, but the best part for me (and most of the band I think) were the backstage facilities. Every section of the orchestra have their own locker and practice room, as well as changing rooms, warm up rooms and a full cafeteria with hot and cold food.
I always try and warm up slightly away from the rest of the orchestra - I know my odd mixture of singing, mouthpiece buzzing and playing far too low and high can really ruin the backstage hush before a rehearsal - so I generally find myself wandering the corridors and broom cupboards of each hall trying to find somewhere secluded and hopefully soundproof! It’s also generally a mad dash between rehearsal and concert to find somewhere to eat, so to have all of your pre-concert needs taken care of in-house is really quite something. The only downside of having such vast facilities is that I did manage to entirely lose the door to the concert hall! Feeling like extras in Spinal Tap, Robin and I nearly missed the start of rehearsal, frantically running around the three floors of backstage facilities opening doors and trying to remember the German for stage entrance!
As some of you will know from our Birmingham shows, our charismatic Music Director Mirga often likes to talk to the audience. This tour was no different; before the encores of every show, Mirga took a moment to thank the locals for our warm welcome (in perfect German of course), and also to invite them to Birmingham - with particular mention given to the Debussy festival next year.
She also very kindly threw both orchestra and travelling supporters a party on the final night, and issued a hilarious challenge - “as we say in Lithuania, if you eat, you must dance!”
So eat, drink and dance we did - thank you Mirga for a great first tour!