And so we crossed over into Canada!
When we arrived in Montreal, the first thing we saw was snow. Snow in the streets, snow on the sidewalks (apparently they don't shovel in Montreal? Although I can't say I blame them...they'd be there all day) and of course snow falling from the sky. It was quite beautiful, although it did mean that we would have to trudge through the slush to find our "lunch on own." I was expecting it to be cold--but wow! Canadians must be made of some tougher stuff to brave those winters every year.
After eating lunch we met at the Notre Dame cathedral, where we got a tour of the church. The exterior was modeled after the famous Notre Dame in Paris, and the inside was absolutely gorgeous! Here are some photos of the interior and the altarpiece.
Anyway, moving on! After skating we headed back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep to prepare for our rehearsal and then concert the next day. We took a bus to McGill University, where we rehearsed our repertoire before rehearsing the Brahms with the McGill University Chorus director, Francois Ouimet. Our hosts provided us with a free dinner from the university cafe, and then it was time for the concert! It was such fun to sing with the McGill choir, who gave us a taste of what the Brahms would sound like with all of the supernooms. (Supernooms are either past Glee Clubbers or other Yale students who sing with us for larger works) We had a great concert, and were happy to see some familiar faces--thanks again Ashby Cogan '14 and Marissa Karchin '14 for coming out!
The Yale Glee Club and McGill University Choir rehearsing the Brahms with Francois Ouimet
After the tour we continued on to Burlington, where we broke off into groups and had lunch on our own before heading over to our concert venue, St. Michael's College. We rehearsed for a bit, had our traditional pep talk, and were shocked to hear from Nathaniel Geoffrey, our host and a Yale Glee Club alum, that the concert was completely sold out! We ended up bringing all of the chairs from the choir room where we'd been rehearsing to the lobby right outside the auditorium, where at least thirty people had been standing hoping to at least hear the concert. It's always great to sing for an audience that is excited to hear you--but excited enough to stand outside? Wow! It was a reminder of how special the music that we make is, and it also added an element of pressure to impress the audience. But of course, with Jeff conducting and dozens of hours of rehearsal under our belts, there was nothing to worry about. It was a great concert, not only musically, but in terms of the general enthusiasm. The lights were quite bright in the concert hall, and audience members were crammed right up to the stage, meaning that we were much closer to the audience than we usually are. And I must say, there's something truly special about seeing the expressions of the people in the audience, whether it was watching someone tear up at the climax of the "Agnus Dei" or others laugh at the witty poetry of "Telegram." It is at moments like these that I remember why we sing. This is why we spend all of those hours rehearsing and all of those months planning our tours. Because, in the end, it's not just about making beautiful music with each other, but it's about sharing that music with others and making an emotional connection with someone that we may have never nor ever will meet. There's something really special about that, and it's easy to forget that when we're just worrying about the next entrance or getting the cut-off exactly right.
Our concert in Burlington was a great end to our short three-day tour, and served as a teaser for our longer tour to Spain coming up in March. (I'll be doing lots of Facebook updates and some video blogging for that tour, so look out!) I just want to end this post by thanking everyone who helped make this tour possible, especially Jane Strauch, Emma Hathaway, Francois Ouimet, Nathaniel Geoffrey, T Sean Maher, and of course, our amazing conductor, Jeff. I hope you all had as much fun as I did!