The taxi driver dumped us off in front of the Memorial University residences at 4:00 am with the assurance that “I’m pretty sure this is the place!” As we unloaded our suitcases and started to search for the door in the dark, I stopped and looked around and took a deep breath of the Atlantic wind. The moon was setting in the west and in the east the sky was lightening with the promise of dawn. The wind was warm and strong and although it was still dark, the white shapes of seagulls floated overhead, filling the air with their longing cries. It was a magical moment.
Welcome to the East Coast!
Singers of Ensemble Laude were beyond thrilled when we first heard we had been selected as a Spotlight choir at the wonderful Podium festival in St John’s! Podium is the bi-annual choral conference organized by Choral Canada which is hosted by different cities across Canada. It was an privilege to be selected by blind audition as the only women’s choir to perform at a Spotlight concert. Ensemble Laude also had the honour of being the first Spotlight choir to hail from Victoria and Canadian choir from the farthest away — west coast to east coast!
Podium was a wonderful experience — it was *thrilling* to get to hear so many fine choirs from all over Canada in real life! In addition, we basked in the warm welcome from the Newfoundlanders we met. St John’s was so beautiful and we took advantage of all the sights, from jellybean row houses to the spectacular Signal Hill. We discovered the very best way to experience Signal Hill was to get a ride to the top then purchase an ice cream to eat on the way down!! 🙂
Ensemble Laude performed in two concerts at Podium — the first was a cameo concert at The Rooms, with floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking St John’s harbour.
The second was our Spotlight concert where we ended up being the last performance of the last concert, and so closed the entire conference!
After Podium, Ensemble Laude piled into the tour bus and hit the road! We meandered our way along the coast through beautiful fishing communities next to cliffs with crashing waves to perform in Brigus, probably the prettiest town in North America, as well as the stunning Terra Nova National Park. Adventures were had, such as hijacking the tour bus in Bona Vista to see puffins in Elliston!
Thank you Podium and thank you Newfoundland! I hope you will find us just as welcoming next time you visit us!