Montreal モントリオール

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Although I was so looking forward to the Montreal organ festival, I almost canceled my participation.  My husband, Neil, broke his ankle in the spring, and his recovery was way slower than expected.  We were planning to visit Montreal together, but he needed to cancel the trip entirely.  I felt so crushed….what am I going to do?  Shall I just leave him home starving while I enjoy attending the festival?  Shall I forget about my professional development and focus on being a good wife taking care of my poor helpless husband?  Into my confused head, an angelic voice came from my youngest daughter who works in Vancouver.

“You should go, mommy.  I will come every night after work to feed Neil…!!”  Thus, I did shorten the schedule to be a considerate wife, but attended the four days of the festival.

I flew by red eye from Vancouver to Montreal on Sunday night.  The first surprise at the Montreal airport was when I saw a line of electric vehicle taxies waiting to serve.  I always wanted to try an EV, so I got into a Tesla taxi, enjoying its smooth ride and a peppy conversation with an English speaking driver to the downtown Sheraton Hotel.

On day one, my shoulders were puffed up with eagerness trying to listen and absorb every line of music and all the lessons. I made a point of attending all the workshops or master classes and all the concerts I could possibly manage.  I am well aware that it is my very weakness.  I just cannot relax and take things easy.  Let me describe a day as an example. It started  with an early morning church service, and when it was over I searched for the next venue on the map, following my iPhone GPS instruction, walking and taking the subway, getting lost few times in the unfamiliar city, attending the workshop, then, immediately running to the next venue for the masterclass.  By the time I arrived there, most of the seats were occupied and I ended up standing for the entire duration of the class.  When it was over, I ran to the next venue hoping to get a good seat for the concert….. After 10PM, collapsing in my hotel room, I noticed that I was hungry…having never had the chance to eat dinner.

What a hard schedule it was!  What a dense, intensive, and inspiring week it was!

I have to admit, while some workshops and master classes were interesting and informative, some classes needed better organization and preparation, and some English sounded too French to me and I had hard time understanding.

All the concerts were amazing.  The venues and the pipe organs were exceptionally beautiful, and the choir music was heavenly.  I felt grateful that I get to study such a grand instrument, and learn such glorious music.  Listening to the concerts, I felt I was in a truly miraculous space and time, sharing together with hundreds of organists from all over the US and Canada. I will never forget that feeling.

My introduction to pipe organ was late. I was already 50 when I first touched the instrument.  Although I had an extensive training in piano, I had such difficulty learning the foot pedals and am still struggling with my coordination. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could enjoy one day playing one of the most magnificent pipe organs somewhere, in a beautiful sacred space.  Well, that means I need to keep practicing, keep my body in shape, keep my brain super active, and build up my stamina……

Lord, please grant me more time…..!








Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

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