Iraq day 2 – rehearsal

Slept like a baby and woke up with a killer sore throat. This usually means that I have snored my way through the night which I usually do when I am tired. Unfortunately Cam was unable to confirm this as he was just as dead to the world as I was.

After taking breakfast onboard Cam set about filming some of the sectional rehearsals. I made my way out to English Village to meet with Greg Knight, a contractor working for Spectrum middle-east in the AV department in Saad Palace. Greg was kind enough to lend me a microphone stand for the duration of the rehearsals so I can rig up an MS pair on the orchestra for rehearsal recordings. I was also introduced to Gregs dog, a 4 month old puppy that he rescued from the streets of Erbil. Dogs are not viewed in the same way here as they are in Australia and the fact that Greg rescued it would definitely have saved it’s life. The puppy appeared a little afraid, but eventually allowed me to give her a pat. So kudos to Greg for the stand and for giving Delilah a crack at a good dogs life.

I got back to the hotel after getting some lessons in Kurdish and Arabic from my trilingual taxi driver and rigged the microphones in time to record a chamber group rehearsal of a Mozart flute concerto. Acoustically, the room is not ideal as there are a load of fans going and a couple of very large air conditioners, but despite that the recorded sound of the band is not bad with just a coincident pair.

Lunch was an interesting affair – only two buses arrived so Cam and I were unable to travel with the orchestra to lunch and had to wait for another bus to arrive. The bus driver got a little mixed up and took us across town to the Evening Meal restaurant, not the Lunch Restaurant! Fortunately, he knew which other one to take us so and so we eventually made it, if not a little late certainly a little hungrier.

After lunch the tutors headed off to the Citadel for a walk around. I should have realized that it was a little warm as driving through the city all the market shops were closed and there were people dozing on the sidewalk careful to stay in the shade. I still had an armful of recording gear and was about to follow Cam around the citadel wearing it all. This did not turn out to be the best idea I had come up with that day. Wearing the gear, I made my way up the stairs to the main gate and then after a brief search by a security chap, made my way into the citadel. For a place that has possibly been inhabited for the past 6000 years it was looking decidedly deserted. It is understood that UNESCO is funding restoration of the citadel along with the Kurdistan Regional Government, but in order to do this the inhabitants have had to vacate. Was very interesting to see the place and to get a feel for the history. I bailed a little early as lugging the gear around in the heat was doing neither me nor the gear much good. So, I found an amenable taxi driver who kindly took me back to the hotel with the gear. I then had a nice cold shower.

The rest of the day was spent covering the remaining afternoon rehearsal and then dinner during which we had a lengthy discussion about scam emails with one of the orchestra members. Another thing that firmly binds East and West – spam and email scammers.

Tomorrow allows us a bit of tour of Erbil in the afternoon and should allow us to get some interesting footage with the orchestra out and about.

Both Cam and I are looking into the possibility of continuing the journey into Germany which is the next phase of the orchestra course after the Erbil phase is over. The orchestra will be playing at Beethovenfest in Bonn in the second half of September.

Cam is uploading some pictures from the Citadel to Facebook…

Spread the word. Share this post!