Every year the Montreal Baroque Festival stages a parade. People bring instruments and play the piece written especially for the event. This year we were joined by puppets from the Bread and Puppet Theater of Vermont as they were part of Monteverdi's opera, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Sunday's evening event). It's always fun to play in the parade which wends it way through Old Montreal. Professionals and amateurs play together. With the theme of the festival being spheres, a great bubble machine produced clouds of bubbles to add extra whimsy to the parade. This year we took longer route on our way to a concert of Handel's Watermusic - held outdoors on a stage that straddled water.
While it was a delightful interpretation of the suite, it was also fun to watch people who were not festival regulars stop and listen for a while. Seagulls flew overhead and added their occasional calls to the music.
Susie Napper, the director of the festival always finds creative ways to showcase baroque music. She finds intriguing venues, imaginative themes and puts together an interesting programme performed by very high quality musicians. Young performers have the opportunity to play with more seasoned players. And the audience is encouraged to interact with the professionals at conferences and in the informal atmosphere of the "festival café". I wish I had half her energy as she plays in many of the concerts, interspersed with rehearsals, spends evenings in the café and is at even the earliest morning concerts.