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    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    CGT/MG3 in Quebec

    CGT/MG3 Rehearsals in Montreal. Photo by Hugues

    CGT/MG3 Photo by Hugues

    11:15am. I am sitting in the back of the CGT Chevy van. Bert is driving, Hideyo is sleeping. The Saint Lawrence River is on our left as we begin the long drive from Montreal to Harrisburg Pennsylvania. It’s a beautiful sunny day, and there are still some bright fall colors, although most of the leaves have already fallen. Life is good.

    We arrived in Montreal last Monday evening and had sushi dinner at a restaurant near the hotel on St. Denis Street.

    On Tuesday morning, I had my haircut (shorter than I wanted!), and then went to the famous Schwartz Deli for lunch. I practiced guitar and worked on music for the shows with the Montreal Guitar Trio.

    On Wednesday morning, we met the Montreal Guitar Trio (MG3) at a rehearsal space near the hotel. We had only met them once before, just briefly, at a music conference in Eugene Oregon where we heard them play, and they heard us play. After introductions, we sat in a circle, tuned our guitars, and began playing together. Wow! The music immediately came to life. It was as if we had been playing with them for years. They learned some of our music, and we had learned some of theirs. Everyone was well prepared and all the pieces came together very fast. We rehearsed completely acoustically, without any amplification. The sound of the steel string guitars blended with the 3 nylon string guitars is amazing. The Montreal Guitar Trio are excellent players.

    On Thursday we played the first CGT/MG3 show in Saint Hyacinthe, a smaller city just east of Montreal. The show was in a really nice arts center, in a theater with cabaret style seating, tables and chairs and a bar in the back. The sound check was a bit stressful, trying to get all the levels set, balancing their microphones with our direct lines. The concert began at 8pm, with the MG3 performing music from Ennio Morricone’s score of “Once upon the time in the West”, and then a very modern sounding piece from Psycho. Followed by an Flamenco sounding piece, and wrapped up thier first segment with a very powerful piece of music inspired by traditional Indian music raga. The last piece slowly worked the audience into a frenzy and they were on their feet cheering wildly at the end. That is a touch act to follow!!! I remember getting ready to go onstage and wondering what we could possibly play that could follow that! CGT played a good set and were also very well received with another standing ovation at the end of our set. After the intermission, both CGT and MG3 played another piece and then we all played together. The pieces that we played all together sounded great and the audience responded really positively. It was a great first show together.

    On Friday morning we drove from Montreal to Quebec City. It had snowed the night before and there was snow on the ground. The ice rink next to the venue was open with quite a few Ice skaters already enjoy the winter-like weather. I did a radio interview on CBC radio and then over to sound check. The Palais Montcalm is an amazing venue; perhaps one of the best of it’s kind in the world. Sound check was difficult. The sound is a bit more complicated with 6 guitars, especially when 3 of the guitarists use microphones only. Sometimes it happens that when the sound check is really bad, the concert can be really good. And fortunately this was the case for this show. The audience was on their feet cheering at the end of MG3’s first segment. It was difficult to follow such a strong set! Bert, Hideyo and I decided to begin with the Bach Prelude Circulation because there was really nothing else we could follow the MG3’s very rocking Indian piece. The CGT set gradually built up and we received a very enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of our set. During the last half of the show, we added one more piece of music for the CGT/MG3 to play together, so we played a total of 5 pieces together. I could feel a big wave of positive energy coming from the audience. CGT and MG3 played very well together. I was actually really surprised at how well everything went with the spectacular response from the audience and the powerful combination of music between CGT and MG3.

    Photos by Hugues

    Click Here for: More photos by Hugues of the concert in St. Jerome.

    On Saturday morning, we drove through the rain back to the Montreal area for the show in Saint Jerome, which is just north of Montreal. It was a smaller show, but again, we the response from the audience was extremely positive.

    Sunday we played a private house concert for some friends of Marc of the MG3. It was really small, with about 25 people there. They made an amazing dinner for us, and treated us like kings.

    Click here for: More photos by Hugues of the house concert.

    I look forward to playing more shows with MG3 next year!!!

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