Another early start today (ha, ha...) with a 10am - 2pm final rehearsal for the two shows. It all passes off without any real hitches other than the odd technical problem, what with so many bits involved - special tracks, head microphones, a sixty foot video screen (one of the largest if not the largest in Europe) and countless lights, cameras, monitors etc..
And so to the first show.....
Hall packed with a sellout crowd of around 5,000, a sea of smiling faces many not knowing what to expect (and that's just the orchestra), but non the less excited all the same. It truly is a magical thing to be able to watch an audience (once you've come on stage as a musician), who may just be at a gig like this for the first time - wouldn't that be cool to have again for us all despite the passage of time. That sense of sheer wonderment and joy at experiencing live music as a new and all encompassing experience, simply brilliant.
Anyway, we aim to please as ever and my awesome, and I really do mean that, colleagues of the Irish Philharmonic are ready and definitely up for joining me on this enthusiastic roller coaster of musical festivities and quite literally launch into the most fabulous performance of the Christmas Festival Overture by Leroy Anderson at the top of the show that we have ever played together.... as a conductor one can't ask for anything more, no matter what the repertoire. Before the show is out we will have run the gamut of all things Christmas with oodles of audience participation (kids coming up to join us on bells for a performance of the Sleigh Ride - with one unsuspecting parent, who comes up just to chaperone their little ones suddenly finding themselves, with a little help from yours truly, becoming the 'Maestro' for the tune), all the tunes you'd wish for on your 'Crimbo' playlist then capped off by a full performance with film of the evergreen Snowman....
Perfect holiday season opener for any family!
Ah but wait, we finish the 3pm show showered with applause and cheering and laughter and joy but then realise we must muster it all up again with the same gusto for the 6pm show.... pressure on with my 'Mam and Dad' in the audience after all. We do manage to pucker up again of course because this is what we do as I said in my very first blog back in October - we cannot, as musicians, save your life but for a little while we can make life seem infinitely better than it may seem on the surface.
I have had yet again, it has to be said, a wonderful time here in Dublin with all of my friends, for that is what they are, who have given as generously from the very first down beat to the last in the pursuit of making music that will make people feel better and may I say long may that tradition keep going Here's to the Snowman 2014.... I'll be back!
ps thanks to the lovely person from the F.A.C.T School of Performing Arts who posted the above action shot from the rehearsal.