Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Crashing the Splash

I had a bucket list for the fortnight of fleeting freedom before the Resident Fan Boy and younger daughter joined me at this summer's house-sit. Not that I'm planning to kick the bucket anytime soon - but who is?

Among my goals was dropping by the Symphony Splash on the Inner Harbour. Although this has been an annual event since 1990, I've never been, although I used to stand on our front walk in our last house in Victoria, so I could hear some of the music. I'm not a fan of crowds, nor of competing for spots, nor of sitting for hours in a deck chair or on the ground.

This is why I wanted to drop by for the period just prior to the concert, just to get an idea of what I'd been missing. Also, a friend and her daughter were amongst the scores (perhaps hundreds) of volunteers managing the crowds and collecting the donations, so I set off in search of them, knowing well that I might not find them in the mob.

And you know, it was a pleasant stroll. Traffic is blocked from the surrounding street. Many people had camped out since the morning and early afternoon. (You're not allowed to set up your chairs a prime viewing spot before 8 am - a result of eager beavers pulling overnighters in the past.) However, many people were just turning up, which is fine if you don't actually need to see the orchestra. The last people in place were the kayakers who paddle up in the water in front of the floating stage - bladders can only hold out so long.

I saw interminable line-ups for the food kiosks, and the many picnic hampers of veteran Splashers. I made my way past the audience gathered on the grounds of the Empress Hotel, and around the larger crowd settling in on the lawn at the Legislature. I carefully descended on to the Causeway which leads to the Marina, paused to snap a photo, and was instructed by a security volunteer to step into the area marked out by tape. I assured him that I was only stopping for the photo, but he was adamant. I turned and beheld my chum and her daughter, made a donation, and recalled an evening more than fifteen years ago when they took elder daughter to the Symphony Splash. The two girls climbed a tree in front of the Empress to watch the Victoria Symphony play the opening music from Harry Potter. The tree was chopped down last year. New management at the Empress.

While I was walking in front of said hotel,I heard bagpipes and saw a kabuki cab occupied by someone all in white. At first, I thought it was a wedding crashing the splash, but the procession turned out to be the conductor of the Victoria Symphony, waving like the Queen, as the musicians, also in white, paraded behind. They were en route to the floating stage.

Me? I got a hot dog at a restaurant further up Government Street, and went home to watch PBS. I felt the guns for the 1812 Overture rock the house after sunset.

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