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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!

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We’ve been here for four days now, and are finding our way around.  It is not as cold as it was the previous week, so the large amount of clothing that we all brought with us has been sitting in our wardrobes.  However, it is forecast to be much colder this weekend, so maybe I will be able to treat you to my impression of the Michelin Man soon.

We’ve been rehearsing with Rachel Podger at the St Pauls’ Chamber Orchestra Center, which is inside a beautiful 1920s building a couple of blocks from the hotel.  It also contains an old fashioned post office, a mens’ outfitters and a pet shop!

Yesterday we spent a day rehearsing at Wooddale Church.  The audiences at American churches seem to be about as big as the ones we get for concerts, judging by the size of the car park!  The church is well outside the city, in the middle of a lovely snowy landscape and a freeway system.  I went out walking and saw a large hawk in a tree, and very little else.  Here are some pictures.

Today we give our first concert, in Minneapolis.  I’ll report on this tomorrow.

Philippa Brownsword, Orchestra Manager

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