Cancelled flights. Finicky digital pianos. Dangerous ice roads. Heavy Canada Goose down jackets over concert dress. The Gryphon Trio is discovering the challenges of touring the Northwest Territories, but the benefits far outweigh the icy reality.
Jamie Parker, pianist with the Gryphon Trio, spent 13 hours getting from Toronto to Edmonton before taking a packed flight north to Yellowknife. CBC Radio 2’s Tempo caught up with him while waiting on a delayed flight in Toronto.
“So here I am — sitting on the floor in Terminal 3, with my laptop and phone charging in a wall post, capturing the events of the day. I’ve been travelling nowhere for over eight-and-a-half hours now — at least I’m dressed well enough that I’ll be the last guy standing if the power goes out at Pearson.”
Once Parker made his way to Yellowknife, he joined the other members of the Gryphon Trio to travel to their first gig in Norman Wells.
After a windy blast of snow on the tarmac, they loaded their gear into the open back of a pickup truck and set off for the hotel. There was just enough time to enjoy a “Norman Wells burger” and wrangle with a particularly frustrating electric piano before the performance.
Thick boots and woolly socks were traded for concert attire, and the concert began. One audience member stuck out for Parker.
“There was a young teenager named Alfred hovering at the entrance, who clearly wanted to go watch the pickup hockey game at the rink next door. Marie [Gryphon Trio’s tour guide] offered, ‘If you help put a few chairs away, you can come in for free — it’ll be a one-time chance to hear this group live!’ Alfred hummed and hawed and Roman [Borys] and I both started talking with him. ‘You know, I’d rather be watching hockey, but I have to play this concert now — just check out a bit of it.’ So he stayed, and gave us the biggest ever compliment at intermission: ‘You know, that was pretty good, actually.’
"He stayed for the second half, too.”
Watch this space for more from the Gryphon Trio as they tour and perform across the Northwest Territories. You can hear them on today’s Tempo. Don’t forget, you can keep in touch with Tempo on Twitter, Facebook or by email.
Gryphon Trio’s postcards from the Northwest Territories Tour
CBC Music exclusives: the Gryphon Trio
on Feb 22, 2013