© 2020 by Breanna Ellison

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Centre d'Arts Orford Part II: Biking recharges the soul

Updated: Dec 25, 2018

And now for part two of the Orford experience:  l'existence bucolique.


It's amazing how much of a different world one discovers just a four-hour drive from Boston.  Orford is truly a magical place where the best things in life meet - beautiful nature, wonderful music, and good people.  Combine these elements, and you get a wide array of things:  duets in the woods by the babbling brook; breaking from your obscenely gorgeous bike ride around an absurdly gorgeous lake to awkwardly dance to some medieval shawm you hear quacking in the distance; impromptu call-and-response jam sessions à la 1050 A.D., open fifths and lamenting partial sixths resounding off the woody mounts and bogged valleys in some hair-raising echo of yesteryear.  Yeah, it's that fun.


I would have to say that some of the most memorable moments of my horn existence occurred there.  Hiking with fellow hornists, the path was almost perfumed with native vegetation.  Coming upon a clear vantage point over a valley with a lake, we positioned ourselves throughout the valley and began to play call and response across the open fields and swamps.  The sound was absolutely otherworldly - the timbres would dance and spin and elusively fade into one another, leaving us swimming in a pool of viridescent overtones.


Needless to say, when our beloved reed-minded friends approached us later on the path, they admitted to varying degrees of horn envy.  (It's not often you see three bassoons in the woods trying desperately to waft over their aural smoke signals.  Any "Sacre du printemps" you'd send into the ethers would most likely result in an unfortunate run-in with a very excited moose.)  Horn signals apparently attract all and any humans, as many francophones (and even a group of petit francophones) stumbling along the path simply had to stop to take in the five-, even six-sensed (!), pleasures of nature and horn.  Base note:  pete and bog; heart note: forest and horn; top note:  fresh air and wild bergamot - enchanting, indeed.


I mean, just look at it:


And it gets every prettier when the sun sets and clouds make their way west:

Centre d'Arts Orford classical music Québec

Sunset on the beach:


Flo being a lovely silhouette:


Sophie keeping watch:



biking back from the shadowy beach:


deer reflection in a swamp:


riding off into the sunset: