Day Three: The Festival Heats Up

Today’s entry from our local Nelson blogger Korimako recapping Saturday’s chamber music escapades had us on the edge of our seats as a fire in the Cathedral interfered with the evening  concert of Mahler’s 4th! Read on…


Saturday 2 Feb – from Korimako

This morning while many of the festival-goers were enjoying the sun and Nelson’s popular flea market, I flitted into the Nelson School of Music to see how Goldilocks, and the rest of the cast, would scrub up.

Youngsters in the audience were invited to dress as their favourite nursery rhyme character and I counted two more Goldilocks (very few bears though), Red Riding Hood who brought along her own wolf and wood-cutter, a Little Miss Muppet and several colourful fairies.

If Douglas Beilman was hot in his golden tresses, papa bear (Rolf Gjeltsen), mama bear (Gillian Ansell) & baby bear (Helen Pohl) must have been even hotter in all enveloping fur suits, and helmets.

The Quartet then embarked on a short lesson of ensemble and solo pieces as they taught and encouraged the attentive, seldom bored, youngsters

Douglas Beilman as Goldilocks (Photo from the Nelson Mail)

Douglas Beilman as Goldilocks (Photo from the Nelson Mail)

Rolf Gjeltsen as papa bear

Rolf Gjeltsen as papa bear

I hopped next door for Percussion 201, the second part of a workshop run by Lenny Sakofsky principal with the NZSO.  It’s a great idea: novice percussionists learn the basics from a pro.  In “lecture 101” yesterday, Lenny started from the bottom, starting with the correct way to lift a timpani.

Lenny Sarkovsky with Neil Kenny and Chesca Dowrick

Lenny Sarkovsky with Neil Kenny and Chesca Dowrick

During the afternoon I just had to hover by the final Mahler 4 rehearsal, and I was really enjoying it when the lights went out.  There was enough outside light filtering into the Cathedral for the musicians to keep playing for a little while, but then there was an unusual percussion sound, not a sound I associate with Mahler.  It was the Cathedral’s fire alarm – a fire had started in one of the electrical switchboards, hence the lights failing, and the building was evacuated very quickly.  Thanks to quick action by the stage manager the fire was confined, extinguishers halting the spread, and soon two fire engines came, sirens blaring.  The Cathedral has minimal damage.

Two fire engines outside the Nelson Cathedral

Two fire engines outside the Nelson Cathedral

With the resulting acrid smoke smell in the building, a decision was made to change the concert venue to the School of Music.  A marathon effort by all the management team and the Radio NZ recording staff resulted in a complete shift with only three hours till starting time.  Well done!

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