Oops... I haven't written here in a while. In that time, things have happened! First, the last week of the summer I went to camp! The Interprovincial Music Camp is a terrific camp outside of Parry Sound which I attended as a student in high school. Fraser Jackson, the contrabassoonist of the Toronto Symphony, was on faculty there, and after my first year at the camp I became his student and stayed in his studio until I left for university. Then, last year, Fraser emailed me and asked if I would like to come back to camp as his Faculty Assistant. Every faculty member is allowed to choose an assistant, usually a university-aged student of theirs or a young professional player, to teach with them at camp. So this was my second year doing that and it was awesome! As well as being a great experience teaching, it's also lots of fun because all of the faculty assistants, many of us who know each other from school or summer festivals, live together in two big cabins near the entrance to the camp, with our own fire pit and easy access to the lake. Unlike the camp councillors, who are usually similar in age, the faculty assistants have no responsibilities to deal with the campers other than in strictly musical contexts, whereas the councillors have to take care of a cabin full of kids and-- having been a camper, I can imagine how difficult and frustrating this must be-- keep them quiet at night. (Since the faculty and faculty assistant cabins are well away from the camper cabins, we're allowed to have alcohol at camp and don't even really need to keep ourselves quiet...)

A large an impressive fire built by our resident Prometheus, tubist Eric Probst, on the last day of camp:


And the remains of said fire, still smouldering at 4 PM the next day:


Because there aren't usually too many bassoon students, I also get lots of time to practice at camp, which is awesome since the camp takes place the week before the return to school and thus the auditions for the university ensembles. One of my favourite things to do at camp is practice outside, which you sure can't do in Montreal for most of the year! Here are some of my practice locations at IMC:



I was happy with how the audition at school went, and although this concert I'm only playing one piece (principal on the Ginastera Harp concerto) next concert I get to play principal on Daphnis and Chloe Suite #2-- and at Maison Symphonnique, instead of McGill's Pollack Hall where the McGill Symphony Orchestra usually plays!

Then, two days ago, I did another audition, for the Niagara Symphony Orchestra in St. Catherine's, for whom I'm happy to say I am now principal bassoon! The audition day was a doubleheader in which they hired for both principal oboe and bassoon, and I'm really excited to play my first concert with them in almost exactly a month (they had already hired a bassoon and oboe for the first concert, so myself and the winner of the oboe audition are playing our first show on the second concert of the season.) However, I don't have a contract or a detailed rehearsal schedule yet, so it remains to be seen how much I'm going to have to wiggle out of McGill obligations for Niagara stuff!

Now I can finally take a break from practicing excerpts (except for Rite of Spring-- since the MGSO is playing it on the last concert of the first semester, the McGill bassoon studio is holding a separate audition for the principal part that will take place some time later in the semester) and focus on Bach's 2nd cello suite, which I will play in a masterclass for Nadina Mackie Jackson next week. She is coming to perform the bassoon sequenza in an enormous Berio extravaganza concert next Friday. I actually love Berio, so I'm really excited to hear it! (Check out my colleague from this summer, Sam Fraser, performing a hilarious comedy act entitled "The Lost Berio Sequenza" at the NYO talent show this summer: http://youtu.be/DMUoqpLzqJU )