Blogging from A to Z Challenge: N is for… (#AtoZChallenge)

Welcome to my April 2023 Great and Powerful Blogging from A to Z Challenge!

I’ve revealed my theme (My life in first drafts), but this year, instead of pretending there were ever plans, I am unashamedly blogging my theme letters on the fly.  So, here goes nothing!

So, without further ado, N is for National Youth Orchestra

As I mentioned in B is for Bass, I played in the NYO for three summers in a row. But my recollections are fragmented and each summers blends into the next and back again.

I remember it vaguely, fragments of scenes and feelings and scents. Muggy hot summer in Kingston, sitting on busses going on tour. I was so young. It had only been a year and a half since I started playing bass and switched my major in university from pre vet med to music. What do I remember? A trunk for my bass that was ridiculously big and heavy, and bright scarlet red. My suitcase was was also heavy and red. It was going to be a long summer that first summer – eight weeks I would be away because of the tour.

Iwish I remembered more details, but as I write this things are flashing back to me. Here are some things I wonder about and remember:

There were two of us women in the bass section that first year, but I really don’t remember much about Janice. She was much younger than I was. Audrey was the lone female percussionist and became my friend, and I ended up hanging out a lot with her and the other drummers.

We played concerts in the Queen’s University hall before embarking on any tours, but we didn’t just play. We also sang madrigals as encores which I loved, since I was also a singer.

The bass players had rooms assigned to them in the same building as the concert hall so we had room to practice (dorm rooms were pretty cramped) and also didn’t have to constantly haul our instruments over for rehearsals.

It was hot in Kingston – a damp heat which was miserable for someone from Saskatchewan. I was sometimes lonely, but I think it was an important time.

What did I use for money? The days before Interact, and certainly before I had a credit care (or did i?)

Phone booths – no cell phones back then. How much easier would things have been if I could have texted people back home.

The pub on campus – pretty vague memories and I don’t think I hung out there until my second summer.

Dorm rooms. A single bed, a desk, probably a dresser and closet. My room was right next to the bathroom with toilet and showers and even tubs.

Practice rooms. I think they might have been classrooms – they were big and had high ceilings in an old building where the concert hall was.

The cafeteria, where we ate all our meals. The low point was the day the vegetable was boiled celery. But in the cafeteria in New Brunswick I encountered fiddleheads for the first time.

Writing long letters to my best friend at the time and getting long letters back, and calling her sometimes in those aforementioned phone booths, but I don’t think as often as I though, and how did I pay for that anyway?

No computers or iPads to pass the days away, but I must have had books with me because I always had books. What did I do when I wasn’t practicing?

I must have had a camera of some kind cause I have some pictures from that time that I obviously took myself – the old film kind.

Bass in Lace. In my third year in NYO we had four women (me, Jessica, Marjolaine, Janice) playing in the bass section and we formed a quartet playing some fun tunes, including Johnny B. Goode.

Dad wrote me and Audrey a bass percussion piece that we performed at NYO in my second year there.

During one performance, with appropriately thunderous music during an actually thunderstorm, we were swooped by bats in the hall.

There was a main room in the residence building where we hung out on couches sometimes and was there a TV? I remember we watched movies there sometimes…

Once I had a day off and walked a very long way to a local mall by myself. I discovered that the concept of blocks in Kingston was very different from Regina. Numbers didn’t change by short blocks (meaning in Regina, one block was 100s, the next 200s, etc.). In Kingston every building had the next number up…the mall was much further away than I was expecting.

What did I wear? I have no recollection.

During that first year’s tour, the women stayed in a Convent in Quebec during one stop-over.

One of the bass players had a scroll on the top of his bass that had a lion’s head on it.

Ah the things I remember. I can see this topic could take a long time to break apart. More fodder for memoir! 

Thanks for visiting my 2023 A to Z Challenge – Letter N.  You can find links to more blogs participating in this challenge at Letter A, A to Z 2023 Challenge Master List (Google Docs).

Guess I’m kind of a rebel too…although I do like using the “official” letters…

Posted on April 17, 2023, in A to Z Challenge, photography, Photos I took, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. That was interesting. Some things that happened years ago seem kind of dreamlike, you know you did them, but memories are hazy and come back piece by piece. Glad you are noting all these down. 🙂

  2. I love this! So much fun hearing about your earlier years … looking forward to the next, my friend!

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