Going To Any Orchestra Performances?

A friend asked me today if I planned on attending any orchestra performances, while I’m in the Seattle area this fall. I didn’t even know if Seattle had an orchestra.

Some digging later, I find myself in the possession of a ticket to see Ben Folds with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra on October 20th. I’m so pumped.

Ben Folds with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Here’s a bit of background. Back in early high school, on Prince Edward Island, I was introduced to Ben Folds (Five) by a good friend, during a time when listening to punkish/cut-yourself music made one appear as though they were in touch… and so deep. A factor of the time and the age, I’m certain. In any case, the first song I heard, Fred Jones Part 2, was pretty slick (I mean, where was Part 1?!). It’s about a guy who is let go from the job that he’s had for many years at the local paper. It details his last moments at the company. Emotional stuff.

Fast forward to high school graduation: Ben Folds’ Still Fighting It was the graduation song, chosen by our class. I was a pretty big fan of him, loved the piano tunes and all that. Let’s just say, Ben Folds holds a special place in my heart, being the nostalgic that I am.

So, I was justifiably excited when I saw Ben Folds’ name appear in the Seattle Symphony Orchestra schedule. Cue the mystical destiny music. What are the chances I’m to travel half-way across the continent, to the West Coast, only to see the one artist that holds the strongest connection for me back to Prince Edward Island? Well, those odds could probably be calculated (seeing as I’m studying Queuing Theory for ECE 418 right now), but I’d rather not, and leave some of the mystery.

Woo! Ben Folds!

Photos From My First Ballgame

Last week, I went out to my first baseball game, to watch the Toronto Blue Jays face the Florida Marlins. I have very few friends who actually enjoy baseball; the majority dislike it as a boring, lengthy game. I have to admit, I’ve done my share of baseball bashing in the past without actually having seen one, so I certainly didn’t help. I was half excited for the game and half excited to do some sports photography.

7th inning stretch

Okay, so the bus ride and the tickets combined were $8, so I didn’t expect good seats, but the 500 level isn’t actually that bad. Sure it’s a bit high up, but the view of the field is still fine. Next time I go (yeah, the game was good enough that I definitely plan on attending more games), I’m going to pay up to sit in a lower level, but factoring in the price, you can’t go wrong with the cheap 500 level tickets either.

Homer

The start of the game was terrible. By the bottom of the 4th inning, the Florida Marlins held a 5-0 lead. I was getting a little fidgety. But as my baseball-loving friend often told me, games swing quite easily. Unlike many sports, which are time-based, it isn’t altogether rare for a team to get a bunch of runs over a small number of innings. And Toronto did just that. Of course, the mascot took advantage of this and got the fans pumped up.

The Bluejay

I’ve seen some baseball highlights on television before, and one of the most unnatural things I’ve ever seen is the angle of some pitchers’ elbows. It’s not surprising that injuries are fairly common among the group. Janssen, seen here, injured himself a couple games later.

Unnatural

The Jays ended up losing 6-5, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall. Rios was (if I recall correctly) the second last person at bat. Here’s him getting a strike. He went on to steal to second, but was then caught trying to steal third. The last batter for the Jays struck out swinging and that was that for the day.

Strrrike.

Luckily, I made it out to the only game with the Marlins that wasn’t a blow-out. The game on Sunday turned into an 11-3 rout. I’m glad I wasn’t there for that game, or I might have been turned off from the sport altogether.

I wrapped the day up in Toronto with dinner at an Italian restaurant. While sitting on the patio, I noticed this squirrel chomping away on his own dinner. I pulled out the camera and got a couple shots before he scampered away.

Snacking

Martin Brodeur – Winningest Goalie

Martin Brodeur earned his 552nd win tonight over the Chicago Blackhawks in a home game at the Prudential Centre in New Jersey. The win made him the winningest goalie of all time, surpassing my childhood idol, Patrick Roy. Fantastic game, fantastic goalie, and fantastic guy. He even cut the net as a souvenir as is often done in other sports. I’d be surprised if he isn’t part of Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

More than one record was broken tonight. Patrik Elias also became the record holder for points in the New Jersey franchise (702), by assisting on a goal by Brian Gionta.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Mahler 3rd

I went out for dinner with a couple people and then to a Toronto Symphony Orchestra rendition of Mahler’s 3rd Symphony at Roy Thompson Hall this past Thursday. What a blast! The TSO is without a doubt the most accomplished classical music group that I’ve ever heard live. Now I can’t pretend to be a Mahler aficionado, but with my limited knowledge of the 3rd, I was very impressed and entertained. I’ve played in several different bands and orchestras, but all at the amateur level. I guess it’s in my naiveté that I was so amazed by the absolute clarity and proficiency with which they performed.

The hall itself was magnificent and even at the very back of the main floor (tickets which I purchased for $12 mind you, via tsoundcheck), viewing was unimpeded and the sound was in no way negatively affected. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I think all those who’ve attended live concerts can attest to the fact that regardless of how flawless a studio recording may sound, the experience of a live concert just can’t be matched.

I’m already seeking out the next concert to go to. I think it would only be appropriate to attend something I can relate to more, Lang Lang at the piano. I’m still trying to decide whether I can swallow the $80-100 for a decent seat, but I figure it’s not every day that I’ll get a chance to hear a world class pianist in concert.