As we make our way back to Devon, time for a bit of reflection. (Well, I need to pass 20 hours on the coach…)
Seriously, from a personal point of view, I’ve been delighted on so many fronts. Firstly, and most conspicuously, there has been the quality of the music-making: it is sometimes a risk of working with an ensemble or organisation in which excellence is the norm that you can forget how exceptional the results are. But I can tell you that both Graham and I feel extremely proud to work with so many wonderful young musicians, who excel both musically and on a personal level.
Secondly, and again, personally, I was both relieved and delighted at the success of Vienne. It started as a bit of personal mission as I have more than a passing interest in that area of France, and pass through Vienne on the train fairly often (next time will be in less than two weeks!) One of the slight disappointments about Montreux is the relative inaccessibility of the top jazz acts to people who don’t own oil wells; at Vienne, in contrast, one can go to seven nights (each with three sets from major artists) in the Théâtre Antique (where we watched Trombone Shorty) for the price of just one ticket at Montreux. And our welcome from Vienne, the size of the audience, the helpfulness of the stage crew and quality of the sound were every bit the equal of Montreux’s.
Of course, these things only happen with a great organisation and a great team, and in the DYJO Association we have both, which makes Graham’s and my musical jobs so easy. Nic, Tim, Maria, Matt and Alison did all those things that make a tour successful, keeping everyone safe and happy, and behind the scenes, the Association itself gave us all the encouragement and support needed.
So, what next? Well, on the general organisational level, it’s time to say goodbye to leavers, to look forward to the plans for the new season starting in September (the main dates are already in place), and to the job of recruiting new players.
And given the success of this tour, not surprisingly, one or two of us have been mulling over future tour options: certainly the mix of Montreux and Vienne proved to be a wonderfully exciting mixture, and I’m fairly certain that those doors will remain open in the future. Though, as ever in DYJO, we’ll be reflecting and thinking how we could make it even better, if and when we return!