These trips lead to meeting wonderful people, making new friends, and amazing opportunities for music collaboration for Haley. For me, the opportunity to watch entire shows put together from the moment the musicians meet until the last run of the show is the best and always fascinating! Though so much work and planning goes into a show before we even arrive, I will never cease to be amazed by what can be accomplished by talented musicians who enthusiastically work together. They go from not knowing each other to putting together an entire show in a few days.
Last spring, Brian O'Donovan invited Haley to be part of A Christmas Celtic Sojourn 2017. These Christmas shows are larger with a much longer run than the St. Patrick's Celtic Sojourn Haley did two years ago...three days of rehearsal followed by fifteen shows in various venues around the Boston area all within a two week period!
Haley and I arrived in Boston two days prior to the start of rehearsals. We decided to do a couple college/conservatory visits while we were here. So we came up on the train and stayed with our friends, the Coynes, for a couple days. Brian knew we were arriving a few days early so he also asked Haley to participate in a fundraiser for the Summerville Homeless Coalition at the Burren Backroom on Wednesday evening when we arrived. It was a fun night with singers, storytelling, and instrumentalists in a variety show format.
We had scheduled one college visit for Thursday and one for Friday but at the last minute Brian asked Haley to do a short interview/performance slot on WGBH Boston on Friday so we rescheduled Friday's tour for Thursday and got them both tours done in a day. The schools were within walking distance to each other so it worked out perfectly.
Friday morning we checked into our hotel early and were delighted with the beautiful room on the 17th floor with an amazing view of the city!
We didn't have long to take in the view because we had to walk to the Boston Public Library (whoa, what a fabulous library I hope to someday have longer to visit) for Haley to do the live radio broadcast on WGBH.
We spent the rest of the afternoon stocking up on groceries and shopping...it was Haley's day to do what she wanted because the next two weeks will be very busy for her! She finished up her Christmas shopping then we found a vegan restaurant and took food back to the room to veg out the rest of the night...literally.
Morning came and along with it...a snow storm!!! Thank goodness we had only a 10 minute walk to the rehearsal venue.
They began the day with introductions then started right in with learning and putting together the music for the show. They had provided some music ahead of time but most of the numbers were assembled and arranged the first couple days of rehearsal. They rehearsed each number on separately and in no particular order.
The show opened in Rockport, MA on Tuesday. The entire cast was transported to the Shalin Liu Performance Centre early in the day where they rehearsed, sound checked, and blocked each number then performed two shows. I watched the shows from a balcony seat and loved seeing all their hard work come together. The music was incredible. The singing heavenly and the stories beautiful and heart-felt.
A few pics of rehearsals in Rockport...
Wednesday was another day of rehearsals but because everything had gone so well in Rockport, the call time was 4pm for rehearsal, giving us most of the day to ourselves. In the morning, Haley finished up the last couple assignments for the two college classes she had finishing that day. Haley's friend, Quinn, had seen a post on social media about her being in Boston where he goes to school, so we met up with him in the middle of the day and they had some tunes in a pub then Haley and I picked up some groceries. It was sooo cold and windy that day. Rather than walk back to the hotel, we called an Uber to take us back with our groceries.
The production staff had watched the shows in Rockport, which was a sort of dress rehearsal, and decided to rearranged the order of the show for opening night at the beautiful Cutler Majestic Theater. (Each night of the show, Brian likened the theater to being inside a Faberge egg...a perfect analogy.)
They performed shows at the Cutler, Thursday, Friday, and two shows each on Saturday and Sunday before going on the road for shows in Worcester, MA, New Bedford, MA, and Providence, RI. Each day on the road, we'd have a late morning bus call, arrive early at the theater with a bit of time to take a walk around the town, then sound check/rehearsal, dinner, and the show.
Haley and I found a number of funny signs during the run of the show...
|Haley was treated as trash accordingly.|
|Someone was very confused when putting up this sign in New Bedford.|
|We never did see a tiny kitten...or find out his purpose.|
We had invited our friend Kira to come to Boston to see the final show. She arrived mid-morning on Friday the 22nd. We all took a walk to see the Christmas Village put up near the Boston City Hall and get lunch then we dropped Haley off at the theater for the matinee show while Kira and I did a little more shopping, walked through Boston Common to dinner at an Irish pub, then went to see the final performance.
I had not seen the performance at the Cutler complete with lighting and the sound (what you hear backstage is nothing like what is sent out to the audience)! It was amazing and brought tears to my eyes! Every part of the show was just perfect and beautiful. Here's Haley's solo from one of the nights I watched from backstage.
After the show there were heartfelt goodbyes and a small after party where some of the musicians just had to get in a few tunes together...
It snowed Friday during the day and then rained with ice through Saturday. Kira drove Haley and I home through the icy mess. We were sad to be leaving after such a fun couple weeks with incredible people but happy to be heading back home to the boys and the pups.
I posted a photo of the icy roads in Connecticut as we drove through and our dear friend, John Whelan, messaged asking if we were close to his home (he recently moved to Seattle but was "home" for Christmas with his boys). We stopped by his house for a quick break, a cuppa tea, and some tunes then finished our journey home for Christmas.