A Recap of our Mini Tour to Florida and Georgia!
(Better late than never, right?)
February 14, 2013
Touring in February can be a little tricky with unpredictable weather in Chicago (where Chris currently resides) but this was the only time when we both had enough days available for a tour. Luckily, we didn't have any weather related issues! We left our significant others at home and started our tour on Valentine's Day. We met up at the Jacksonville airport, rented a car and headed to Rhonda Cassano's house. Rhonda was our kind host at the University of North Florida where she is also the flute professor. Rhonda and her husband violinist Philip Pan were kind enough to let us stay with them for a night as well.
There was no time to waste on tour since we don't live near each other. After an epic A/B Duo company meeting we went to UNF to meet with the percussion professor Charlotte Mabrey who was kind enough to allow us to use many of the school's instruments AND rehearse in the awesome UNF percussion cave.
February 15, 2013
Woke up early. Chris met an old friend for breakfast while Meerenai did a little bit of teaching. Our first performance of the tour was at Noon for the UNF music students. The energy in the audience and on the stage was amazing. Thank you UNF for helping us start our tour with a bang!
Energized from the first show on tour, we started the 6 hour drive to the Atlanta area where we would be staying with percussionist Caleb Herron of Chamber Cartel fame.
Driving from Jacksonville to Atlanta was mostly uneventful. We didn't even get pulled over for speeding! :) You might be surprised (or disappointed) in our driving music selections but we share the same taste in terrible pop music. (Exception: Chris does not approve of Meerenai's affection towards Clay Aiken.)
Our next show wasn't until Sunday the 17th so we spent some quality time with Caleb and pianist Amy O'Dell (also of Chamber Cartel fame). Some awesomely terrible Karaoke may or may not have been sung and some awesomely terrible alcohol may or may not have been consumed but we know for sure that we had a really fun time.
February 16, 2013
We spent some time putting into motion the big plans that we made at the company meeting we held on the 14th. We started contacting the 10 composers that we chose for our commissioning project. We held skype or phone meetings with the composers who were available.
February 17, 2013
We packed up Caleb's truck and our car (luckily we got a free upgrade from subcompact to an SUV) with Caleb's many percussion instruments and headed to Poem88, an art gallery in Atlanta.
The concert at Poem88 was great and we were so happy to be a part of the Chamber Cartel show that night. If you're in the Atlanta area, you should definitely check out the new music insanity offered by Chamber Cartel.
On tour we were performing Janice Misurell-Mitchell's piece The Art of Noise, which requires over 20 percussion instruments. Even though Chris brought his own small instruments, he had to improvise and make some changes at every venue based on which instruments were available to him. Meerenai also had to make adjustments on the fly with small complications with her electronics setups. We learned a lot on tour and have a better game plan for the next tour!
February 18, 2013
We woke up too early and started the drive down to Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. We made it to the school in time for Meerenai to teach a couple lessons while Chris checked out the percussion instruments. Thankfully Andrée Martin and Paul Vaillancourt, flute and percussion faculty at CSU, were very organized and wonderful hosts. We had ample rehearsal time in the beautiful Legacy Hall at CSU and all the percussion instruments were ready to go thanks to Paul and his awesome students!
We had a couple more Skype meetings with composers before having dinner with Andrée, Paul and their kids. By the time concert time came around, we were tired but happy. Just being on stage at Legacy Hall will make any performer happy! (It sounds just as amazing as it looks.)
The concert went well and we were very satisfied with our first tour. We had a great time hanging out with Andrée and Paul after the concert. Meerenai also got to catch up with a classmate from DePaul. Many thanks to the Vaillancourt kids for letting us take over their bedrooms for the night!
February 19, 2013
On our drive to the Atlanta airport we made plans for the next tour. We were so tired but so excited. Performing and touring is what we really want to do. We didn't even get on each other's nerves after 5 days.
What a great experience. We can't wait to do it again in March 2014! Stay tuned...