25th September 2019 – 29th September 2019
The end of September was a very exciting time for everyone involved in Universal Orchestra as it meant the first time everyone would be together in the same room, and more importantly in the same country.
Everyone traveled on Wednesday, and despite a couple of hitches in the airports with wheelchairs, and one suitcase going missing, everyone arrived safe and well. The first thing we did was check into the wonderful Clarion The Edge Hotel in Tromsø with gorgeous views and then settle down for dinner for the first time as a group.
The first day of rehearsals was very exciting, and everyone very quickly settled into working with each other. We had the iPad Quartet from Drake Music Scotland, Flame Wheels from Tromsø and some musicians from Resonaari, who we have now heard have formed their own band. There was also LEAGUS who are our collaborators for this first leg of Universal Orchestra.
Day two brought everyone together more. In the break, Emma from Drake Music Scotland played on the lovely Steinway piano with Herborg from LEAGUS, and later Karen was doing some jazz improvisation with her iPad alongside Einar from Skug, and Petri from Resonaari while Clare and Anttoni were dancing away in the background in their wheelchairs. It was a great morning of fantastic music making, and everyone was getting on brilliantly.
In the afternoon after rehearsals had finished we were treated by everyone at Skug to a fantastic trip up the cable car to be met with absolutely stunning views at the top of snowy mountains. How fantastic!
It was such a magical day, as that evening we all experienced the Northern Lights which was a first for the majority of people in the group, and everyone was so excited and having a fantastic time.
The third day of rehearsals was getting us ready for the first ever performance of Universal Orchestra. We had an audience, and everyone seemed to really enjoy the collaborative music. We couldn’t believe it, the music making was over and it went by so quickly! We hadn’t finished seeing everyone yet but we knew that we’d miss them when it was time to go home.
That evening we went to a lovely restaurant in Tromsø and a good laugh, and proper social time with everyone. It was clear how much everyone was enjoying themselves, and a number of the performers offered speeches. Varg was first, then Emma, both presenting their speeches not in their first languages. We were having such a great time we didn’t want it to end.
Unfortunately our time in Tromsø did have to come to an end, but we have such great memories of a fantastic week away. Plans for the next leg of the trip in Helsinki were still being made at 2am!! We can’t wait until we see each other again in Helsinki in 2020.