Tuesday, March 11, 2008

we're baaack

Despite the crazy weather in Southern Ontario and Quebec this weekend, I am very happy to say that we made the drives to and from Shannon safely and are now back home in the GTA. By the grace of a higher power all of the storms occurred on days where we didn't have more than a few kilometres to drive. What luck!

We arrived in Shannon on Thursday just in time for supper. Mom and Dad had made turkey and all of the fixings. Hooray!! We ate pretty much as soon as we arrived and then left quickly for the general rehearsal at the hall. In true Irish Show fashion the rehearsal lasted for hours, and we ended up leaving before the end because Signal just couldn't handle it any more; it was time for him to be tucked into bed. We did see enough of the show to know that all of the dancing and singing acts were going to rock though, so we were very excited for Saturday already.

A picture from the Chronicle Telegraph of some performers at the rehearsal.

On Friday my mom, Ru, Signal and I went into town to shop for something for me to wear to the evening show. I had purchased a great blouse for the afternoon show at Real Canadian Superstore, but wanted something fancier for the evening. Being in Quebec, we of course hit Simons. Ahhhh, shopping bliss! I ended up with a really neat dress, totally unlike anything else I own. Short, black, actually fashionable. Very unlike the "mom clothes" that I spend most of my days in now. I was a very happy camper.

Friday night was the rehearsal for the Kitchen Party, which was the second half of this year's show. This was the first year that the second half of the show was done without an MC - it was set up more like a skit, with people coming in and out of the kitchen and joining in to the songs and music. Not being shy, it was decided that it was my kitchen, and I got to do a lot of the talking. No biggie. The rehearsal went on from 7:00pm to almost midnight! Crazy, but by no means unusual for an Irish Show practice. All of the performers left pretty unsure of how it was actually going to go on Saturday, but feeling good about it all the same.

On Saturday, despite the ridiculous weather going on outside, we pulled off two great shows without a hitch. Ru worked backstage doing lighting during the first half of the shows while I watched, and then I was on stage for the Kitchen Party while Ru watched. For the afternoon show my mom and dad took care of Signal so we could have some baby-free time, but in the evening he attended the show and was a real champ. He loved watching all of the dancing and listening to the signing, and easily made it through the 2 hour show despite the fact that it was well past his bedtime. Ru let him down off her lap for the last act of the evening and he danced and clapped his hands, much to the amusement of many in the first row of seats. I guess Irish music and dance is just in his blood.

Here are a few pictures of the performers from the afternoon and evening shows. Thanks to K for some of these photos!

The young ladies in their new dresses.

S up in the air.

Musicians jamming in my "kitchen."

D fiddling.

With the time change, Ru and I went to bed at 3:00am on Saturday! Many thanks to Oma and Opa, who took Signal home and put him to bed so we could party a bit with friends that we no longer see very often. It was a lot of fun to sit around after the show and sing and chat and just generally relax after the two performances. Also, thankfully my parents only live a two minute drive from the hall and the drive home in white-out conditions wasn't too big of a deal. Signal also surprised us by sleeping in a bit in the morning too, so Ru was able to get a bit of rest despite the fact that we hit the sack much later than usual.

Sunday was spent visiting family and generally recovering. In the afternoon we visited my Granny and my aunts and uncles and cousins. It's hard, living so far away. When we were in Montreal we used to go home at least once a month to see everyone, and it was easier to still feel a part of the community. Now that we're 9 hours a way it's much more difficult. Every time we go home it solidifies our idea of moving home once we've had our second child. Our hope is that by 2011 at the latest, we'll be back in Shannon. And really, with snowbanks like this, who could we not want to move back??

Even though a lot of work goes into the show every year and it's difficult to travel to Quebec in March when the weather is cruddy, we're already looking forward to next year's Irish Show. Heck, I already have my song picked out! I hope this post has put you in the mood to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style. Even though we're back in the GTA I know we will be!


Jen said...

Can you explain to me, please, what it is with Irish dance groups and the wigs of fake ringlets? A group danced at the MN RollerGirls bout on Saturday (and successfully performed a 5-minute dance after their music mysteriously disappeared about 30 seconds into the number! Amazing poise!) and they all had the strange ringlet wigs.

And why there is often a whole group of girls, and then just one boy?

Irish-music-loving minds want to know.

M said...

Irish dancers used to dance on Sundays after church. Since they always had their hair curled for church, it extended to the dancing too. And it's waaayyy easier to pop on a wig nowadays than it is to sit with rollers in your hair for two days to get the perfect ringlets.

As for why there aren't many boys, it's pretty much like any form of dance. Not as many boys join to begin with, and many quit as they get older.

Hope that helps!