Toronto Tour news

Wow! What a whirlwind weekend we just had! A mix of rehearsal, concerts, social time, and wandering the streets of TO made for a busy but rewarding tour and really set us up well for our Ghana trip in just a few weeks. Thanks so much to the five parents who came along and filled the roles of drivers, chaperones, stage hands, CD sellers and scouts whenever needed.

We arrived at the beaches area in the east end (I know I know, its called the BEACH now but when I was growing up just east of there,  it was just the beaches…sounds just a little pretentious now). We walked the boardwalk, checked out shops and had dinner at the Green Eggplant where Kofi Dunyo made an appearance to greet all the group. Later that night we arrived for the dress rehearsal with the Jubilate Choir and their conductor, Caroline Spearing where we went over the whole concert program and spent loads of time working on the logistics to get it just right.

The Baobab Youth were hosted by members of the choir that night (thank you!) and returned with them the next morning for our performance at St Christopher House, for a small but appreciative audience. Our group of 30 split in to two at that point and half went to the Eaton Centre and half to Kensington Market where we had a great time shopping, eating vegan tacos, thai noodles, other fast food and generally just absorbing the great vibes.

We checked into the dorms at Glendon College in the late afternoon, and grabbed a bite in the dining hall. Glendon has beautiful grounds, and it was a good chance for the youth to get a taste of dorm life.  We  headed to the show which went REALLY well.  A very enthusiastic audience, including some friends and family of the group that reside in Toronto. Some wonderful repertoire from South Africa and West Africa, as well as a couple of pieces by  Canadian composer Stephen Hatfield. Small groupings of the youth got to accompany the choir for some of their pieces. Not an easy thing to play drums in collaboration with another group (especially with only one rehearsal) so that was a terrific experience for them and it really worked out well.

After the concert we returned to the dorms for a party in the common room and then to bed…..everyone was tired for the ride home but a stop at DQ made the last leg of the trip bearable. Here is a note from the choir’s conductor:

I hope you returned to Ottawa safely and that your young people had a good party after a wonderful concert. I can’t thank you enough for the effort and energy that you put into this venture. You have such beautiful teenagers in Baobab …the sparkle and professionalism they brought to Saturday’s concert made it one of the best that the choir has ever done. We are so grateful.
-Caroline Spearing,  Conductor, Jubilate Singers

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