Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • November 2020 • Circulation 5000

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An Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Pop-Up

An ESO quartet performs a pop-up concert in honour of Lindsay’s mother’s birthday. Todd Homan

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, I have been trying to focus on positive side effects that have resulted from having to change the way we interact with one another. One of them has been the way that people have adapted to keep the world moving and sane, resulting in all kinds of new experiences in how we spend time with family and support our local community.

My mom, a lifelong lover of the arts, had a milestone birthday in August. In normal years we would celebrate with a meal out, followed by a concert or play. This year, it was a bit of a quandary how to make it special given the much more limited scope of local activities and social distancing parameters. My mom’s best friend thought it was worth a try to apply to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra to host one of the pop-up concerts they were having throughout the city. And guess what – they said yes!

A quartet (in this case, a flute, bassoon, bass, and violin) arrived at 7 p.m. and set up on the driveway. We let the surrounding neighbours know what was happening, so they could set up lawn chairs on their own properties to also enjoy the concert. The musicians sounded incredible, while also engaging with us and taking the time to explain the context and arrangements of the music they played. They finished their set with a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” which was the best version any of us has ever experienced (and much better than hearing my family singing it!).

If not for the pandemic, we would never have had the opportunity to connect with the ESO on such a small scale, nor they with an audience who may otherwise not have the ability to attend the Symphony under regular circumstances. The pop-up concerts operate on a “pay what you can” model. The donation box appeared to be full, so hopefully it was worth their while. I know for my family, it was an incredible experience for which we are all very grateful.

Lindsay Brommeland is a McCauley resident of 14 years who will try anything once.

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