After the excitement of recording in London and Texas, Walter and I decided to take a cruise to Bermuda! We wouldn’t ordinarily choose summer to go to a very warm and humid place, but we had the opportunity to spend some time on board with friends we met on a ship years ago. They brought their adult daughter along, and we had a great visit. We were on the Celebrity Summit, a medium-sized ship with a capacity of 2,450 passengers. We have sailed on her several times before, and we always enjoy the food, the service, the atmosphere, and the beautiful understated design of the ship. We spent two days at sea; three days in Kings Wharf, Bermuda; and then one day at sea returning to Port Liberty, NJ.
Bermuda is fascinating in its geology, its geography, its history, and its population. To begin with, it is closest to Cape Hatteras, NC, but almost as close to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. It is not very close to the Caribbean and has a sub-tropical climate. It is actually composed of 181 individual islands, only a handful of which are inhabited. The islands are the remains of a volcanic caldera, completely flat. Unlike most islands, the numerous beaches here are made of coral, and they are actually pink. Also, for some reason, it has the most beautiful color of water I have yet seen in the world (although Lake Louise in Banff National Park is a close second). The combination of the pink sand and azure water is positively intoxicating!
It is a British Overseas Territory and bears many British attributes. First and foremost, cars drive on the left, which always takes some getting used to, particularly when walking across the street. “English” spellings of English words are everywhere, and the racially and culturally mixed population speak with a clear British accent—augmented by words that come from the various immigrant groups over the years. Kings Wharf served as an active outpost of the Royal British Navy from 1809 until after World War II. Their buildings, made of local stone, have been transformed into shops, restaurants, and museums. It is the largest port in Bermuda, invaded weekly by huge ships full of tourists. On exactly the same schedule, berthed behind us was the huge Norwegian Dawn. There are easy ferry rides to Hamilton—the capital—and all beaches and attractions. All in all, a completely pleasant week!
My R&R was over almost immediately, when I came back to California for a concert at the Redlands Bowl. I was excited about it: my first time conducting at the Bowl, and the first time performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos with the Redlands Symphony. Mother Nature had other plans, and a rare July rainstorm forced the concert indoors to our familiar Memorial Chapel. The Bowl audience followed us across town, and the Chapel was filled to maximum capacity for the first time in years. No one was disappointed, as the joy and genius of Bach erased daily cares and worries, and transported us all to a higher place. I have performed the complete Brandenburgs as flutist and as conductor more than 50 times. I never tire of this incredible uplifting music! The Redlands Symphony musicians were equally enthusiastic and are begging us to make the Brandenburgs an annual event. We’ll see!
To be continued...