Day job work has continued to eat my face. It also hasn’t left me much to blog about since I don’t feel like coming on here just to kvetch about it every day.
I did, however, manage to get away last weekend, even if I’m late in writing about it. I even got to take a day off. It was awesome. A single day off after months of brutal workload felt better than two weeks vacation ever did. My wife wanted to see the Quebec City International Festival of Military Bands, and since we were already going to be in Quebec City, I wanted to take an extra day off to head up to the Saguenay region. There isn’t too much to do there if you aren’t into outdoorsy stuff like camping or canoeing, but it’s where all my family is buried. I haven’t been there since my mother and grandmother died eight years ago, and it’s always felt important to go back, and to bring the kids. It’s also a crazy reminder of just how quickly time can pass by when you aren’t paying attention.
For the Music festival, we took in some outdoor shows, a parade, and the military tattoo – an almost four-hour show of all the bands and choirs the festival had to offer. I’m not a huge fan of big/marching band, but every group was impressive in one way or another, and some had come from very far away. The Belgian Royal Air Force band was enormous, and amusing. The British Central Band of the Royal Air Force were good enough to play at the recent royal wedding so they were more than up to entertaining the likes of me. Odd moment was hearing the Russian Red Army Choir join in a warm-up for the New York Police Department band with a rendition of God Bless America. Most of the choir members looked more than old enough to have been active during the Cold War – it was probably meant to be touching but it just felt weird. And bagpipes… they’re powerful enough as it is, but the coordinated efforts of what must have been over fifty pipers in a closed auditorium was chilling.
As for people at the top of their game, these guys from Switzerland completely stole the show:
That’s about as well-coordinated an effort as I’ve ever seen at anything. And they drum with fucking FIRE. Loved it. The kids missed it because it was late at night and they’d passed out cold over an hour earlier.
All in all a pretty good three days and a half , even if we spent about 10 hours of it in the car. We had pretty damned good driving weather considering we hit the tail end of what hurricane Irene had to offer the east coast. It didn’t rain nearly as much as we were afraid it would, and the roads weren’t too dangerous. We may go back next year and take some extra time to really tour Quebec City while we’re at it.