Today it’s official – this is the coldest place in the USA at -20C.

On Thursday we shared a concert with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, at Temple Israel in Minneapolis. We played Mozart, CPE Bach and Haydn in the first half and then they played a Shostakovich chamber symphony. Afterwards our hosts held a reception for us at Stella’s Fish Cafe where we were given a wonderful buffet meal and a real welcome. We presented them with a signed poster and a copy of the OAE’s 21st birthday book – it’s the SPCO’s 50th anniversary this year so we are still adolescent by comparison!

Last night was our baroque concert at Wooddale Church. This was a great success and very well attended by an appreciative audience. Rachel Nicholls and David Blackadder gave an outstanding performance of Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.

Today we have been out and about to see the St Paul Winter Festival. There are many ice sculptures on show – no problem keeping them frozen! – and as promised here is a picture of me in full Michelin mode. It is not as cold as it was last week according to those who were here, so I don’t want to sound like too much of a wimp, but it IS quite bracing out there. Tony Robson, wearing his Biggles hat, is seen attempting to sit for more than 30 seconds on the ice chair. Not for the faint of heart.

Philippa Brownsword, Orchestra Manager