Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Walking through the streets of Zadar one gets the distinct feeling that the city has had a rather mixed history. For over twenty-five hundred years Zadar has existed under threat from the outside interests. From the Romans, to various barbarians, the Venetian Republic, the Kingdom of Italy, and most recently to the Yugoslavian People's Army this ancient city wears its scars well.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Through the Pyrenees

As we take the long and winding road to Andorra from Puigcerdà I can't help but feel a strong sense of nostalgia. The route through the Pyrenees is one surrounded by hills below tree line, and it is only occasionaly that we get a glimpse of the great rocky peaks carving out the horizon. Though there are many differences in vegetation and soil, I can't help but see the Pyrenees through a lens.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Lying near the top of a mountain, Puigcerdà's old city centre overlooks a vast valley in Catalonia. The air is fresh, the temperature perfect. The inner city is a mix of old and new; the narrow streets carve themselves out from the mass of edifices so tightly knit that one gets the feeling as they walk through the town that they will soon turn the corner and find themselves on Diagon alley. The new parts of the city spill out down into the valley to the east and west. The division is met by elevators to help those who wish to avoid the sharp incline up to the shops.

EUBO Takes to the Skies

Zefira passing time at the gate.

Wednesday morning. An early breakfast, a quick double-check of our hotel rooms and then the orchestra headed to the bus for Luxembourg airport. Leaving exactly on time at 8:15 (something, I gather, worth noting) we have had an uneventful ride to Barcelona. Except for Hilla being caught at airport security with a knife in her bag. She said she wanted to be prepared for anything...

As we passed Cadaqués in our Luxair Bombardier Q400 (a Canadian aircraft!), Roldán exclaimed that Cadaqués was the birthplace of the Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Roldán might be wrong, he says, but he's 100% sure I spelled Dalí's name correctly.

From Barcelona we took a rather long bus ride to Puigcerdà but we were happy to be welcomed by a swimming pool at the hotel.(!)

Wheels Down in Barcelona

Monday, July 22, 2013

2 Guys, 3 Sandals

Guillermo, cello, and Roldán, violin, went down to the river yesterday evening for a swim. We had all learned from previous trips to the banks of the river that the rocky bed wasn't very comfortable to walk on barefoot so the dynamic duo decided to wear their flip flops into the river with them. Guillermo's sandals have a slippery lining on the inside and he was worried that they might fall off in the water. So, he asked Roldán if he could borrow one of his.

Picture two guys in their bathing trunks hopping on one foot into the water. Right.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Missing in Action

Rafael, one of Eubo's three violists, came to Luxembourg by plane this past Monday. Unfortunately for him, his luggage was lost and he had to cope for the first day of rehearsals with what he managed to carry with him on the plane. Yesterday, Wednesday, a suitcase appeared for him at the Hotel des Ardennes with someone else's name on it. No one was registered at the hotel under the name on the delivered suitcase and the airline didn't seem to be able know what was going on when Raf called them. Lucky for him, he will be reimbursed for up to 50€ worth of clothing per day until his luggage is delivered.

To add to the airline troubles, our principal second violinist, Roldán, had his first flight of the day cancelled yesterday in Lannion, Brittany. After taking a taxi to Brest, he managed to get an evening flight to Paris and then took the train the rest of the way. Arriving to Echternach on the last bus of the day, Roldán looked pretty pooped when he waltzed into the hotel bar close to midnight.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rehearsing in Full

After a full day of strings-only rehearsals, the orchestra was joined Wednesday evening by its three reed players. Lucky for me, I managed to arrive to listen to the tail-end of the final rehearsal and meet the group as they headed out for a picnic by a picturesque lake not far from town. Though the distance between the Trifolion and our destination was not, as we discovered on the return journey, very far, the gang's team-building exercise in geography (map and compass frequently changing hands) may have extended the trip enough to warrant a leap at the food and drink upon arrival.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Packing for EUBO

Basel, July 14, 2013.

Packing for a three-week tour takes quite a bit of planning, especially if it's your first. This Monday will see the first assembling of The European Union Baroque Orchestra of 2013 at Echternach, a village in the Duchy of Luxembourg. Following six days of rehearsal, the orchestra will head off to Spain, Andorra, Croatia, and Belgium clocking 6 performances by the 4th of August.

Though tours are a fact of life for the large majority professional musicians in popular genres, by comparison orchestra tours are much more of a case for celebration to classical musicians. More so for the gang at EUBO as many of us will be on tour for the first time. Despite our keenness, however, I fear the honeymoon will soon be over.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

EUBO and The Heckeler on Tour

On the 16th of July I will take up my position as bassoonist for the European Union Baroque Orchestra with which I will be going on a series of five tours across the continent. Over six months, the ensemble will take on a number of different programs for a variety of forces (from concerti grossi for strings to a full orchestra and choir for Handel's Coronation Anthems) and present public performances from London to Istanbul. Some concerts will be broadcast by local radio and others we hope to record for posterity.
Look for the Flying Saucer for articles on EUBO on Tour
During the weeks I will be on tour, The Heckeler will be publishing a travel diary with behind-the-scenes bits as well as a few other gems like this doodle. You'll be able to keep track of us through the EUBO FB Page, theheckeler.ca's FB Page, or through the tag EUBO on Tour.

So get a lot of sleep this weekend because I'm sure you'll be awake for the rest of July waiting for the next update from the European Union Baroque Orchestra.

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