Astoria, USA – Tuesday 14 November, 2000
The morning of our last performance in the USA and for the whole tour dawns clear and bright – we’ve had an amazing run of luck with the weather in the Pacific North-west, where it is generally rainy at this time of year. The drive to Astoria, on the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, takes about 4 hours and we break the journey for lunch at (apparently) the only possible choice for highway refreshment in the US – MacDonalds. The entire ISO piled into the world’s favourite restaurant and ordered up – some, they reported, for the first time ever, others for the first time without children in tow.
Astoria is a picturesque fishing village of around 10,000 people and reminds us poignantly of home. A colony of sea lions inhabits the tide wall near the pier, adjacent to the hotel, and their barking draws a procession of curious TSO members. The concert, in the local high school auditorium, is greeted with a standing ovation. Julie has arranged a function in a local hotel to mark the end of the tour, and David Porcelijn’s last concert with the TSO as Chief Conductor – an occasion for a few short speeches. There isn’t much else to do in Astoria. but some intrepid members head off to a local bar, where it is reported scantily-clad ladies could be persuaded to become even less clad for a trifling amount of hard cash!
Tomorrow the tour concludes, with some members returning directly to Australia via Portland and Los Angeles and others, including myself, scattering to the four winds and spreading around the world. The main tour party will return to Hobart by Friday afternoon. I’m taking a few days to visit New York for the first time, and will return to Hobart late next week.