Surprise symphony

Dave Stewart
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Musicians for tonight's performance arrive on P.E.I. without instruments, formal clothes

National Arts Centre Orchestra Summer Institute.

“One way or another, the show will go on.’’

That promise came from Shannon Whidden, manager of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, this morning as more than 80 musicians prepared to depart St. John’s, N.L., for a performance tonight in Charlottetown.

The orchestra performs at the Confederation Centre of the Arts at 7:30 p.m. in what will be one of the more unique concerts in NAC history.

The orchestra’s instruments, the scores and a lot of its equipment is stuck in Newfoundland because the ferry has suffered a mechanical failure.


The ferry was supposed to leave Port-Aux-Basques today en route for Sydney, N.S., but was cancelled. And, at this point, there isn’t enough time to transport everything, even if the ferry started moving.

Rosemary Thompson, director of communications for the orchestra, said they’ll be borrowing instruments from musicians all over P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. The P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra is lending their timpani and the music scores were emailed to P.E.I. Symphony and they are now printing off PDF copies.

Conductor Julian Kuerti told The Guardian this morning that he has his music on a memory stick.

“We’re taking this all in stride,’’ Kuerti said. “But it certainly will be the most unique concert we’ve ever done.’’

To top it off, there won’t be any time to practise and the musicians will be in street clothes rather than tuxedos because their clothes are stuck behind.

There’s only so much they can fit on the airplane.

But, the show will go on -- even if it isn’t quite as polished as the other performances.

However, none of the musicians The Guardian talked to this morning by phone seemed overly stressed about it.

“There may even be an encore,’’ laughed composer John Estacio.

Organizations: National Arts Centre Orchestra, Charlottetown.The orchestra, Confederation Centre NAC history.The orchestra P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra

Geographic location: P.E.I., Newfoundland, Sydney Nova Scotia

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