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Snow on snow on snow…

23 January, 2016

It’s been an eventful few days. Our intrepid logistics-man, Will Dawes, 36, tells all…

“After a few excellent days in and around Westerly, the group jumped back into our MPVs on Tuesday and headed back onto the I-95 for a mere 8hr journey to DC, We enjoyed the stunning skyline of Manhattan on the way, which reminded us that we’d be back there 5 days later… or so we thought. More on that later!


“Wednesday morning provided a chance to enjoy the touristy side of DC – we were planning to be there for 5 days (again, so we thought!) so most of the group enjoyed an excellent visit to the Capitol to learn about the history of both the building, and the nation. It was a shame that rotunda of the building was under wraps, though perhaps this was some sort of payback for the Brits burning it down in 1812?!


“The day also gave us our first impressions on the National Cathedral in DC. It’s an astonishing building, and dominates the skyline from Downtown and seems to be recovering well from the earthquake damage it suffered a few years ago. We than had the pleasure of meeting and rehearsing with the Folger Consort and Arcadia Viols – a lovely group of people, and the soundworld of Stile+viols brought back happy memories of many enjoyable collaborations with Fretwork.


“However, the whole day was dominated by Storm Jonas beginning to make its presence felt. We always know that any winter tours of the US bring the possibility of plans going astray, and until this point, we’d been lucky to avoid major issues. But this is storm is a real biggie, and Thursday morning brought the news that the Cathedral would be shutting its doors from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, frustratingly meaning that our two concerts – the centrepiece of our tour – would be cancelled. Jennifer from the Folger Library worked incredibly fast and brilliantly, we managed to reschedule one of the performances for Thursday evening, 24 hrs earlier than originally scheduled, and only 8hrs after the concert was announced.


“We’re sorry that we weren’t able to perform as scheduled – the ticket sales for the Friday and Saturday were very healthy, and we’re gutted we couldn’t sing to a full cathedral. That said, many many thanks are due to everyone who worked so hard to make the one performance go ahead, not to mention the extremely relieved 300 or so hardy folks who were able to attend.

cathedral  cathedralnave

“The drama didn’t stop there though. With the concerts cancelled, the storm rapidly approaching, and the group scheduled to perform in NYC on Sunday afternoon, the decision was taken to head to NYC 48hrs early. Changing tour plans so significantly at short notice is no small operation, and my morning was dominated by a multitude of tasks, including cancelling our train tickets for Sunday morning, keeping our agents posted, liaising with John McAdams (part of our US based agency) to arrange hire cars to NYC, being in constant contact with Jennifer to secure accommodation in NYC, keeping the group informed, contacting our guests for the original two concerts to alert them to the new, and now only possible performance, and making the decision with Sarah from Harmonia Mundi to cancel a Friday morning recording session for Sirius XM, to ensure that we could get to NYC and return the hire cars well before any snow started to fall.


“Secondly, a construction accident at our hotel involving a partial collapse of a large portion of superficial bricks meant that a vast swarm of firetrucks/ambulances descended on the building, stopping us from entering/exiting for a while. Several builders were seriously injured, though most of the group were away from the building at the time. However, yours truly was in his room, dealing with the vast amount of admin as detailed above. On the way to the rehearsal for the evening concert (Yup, we hadn’t got that far yet!), a reporter grabbed me to find out more details so I inadvertently ended up being ‘quoted’ in the Washington Post as well.

“So, I’m writing this from our NYC hotel on Saturday afternoon, absolutely surrounded by snowy streets, and with the storm showing no sign of abating. Aside from our trip to Estonia around 5 years ago, we’ve never seen anything like it, and certainly nothing in a city like NYC. We just REALLY hope that our concert here tomorrow goes ahead, and also that we can get home as planned after the concert. Fingers crossed…