Though I haven't written about it in a while, I still do think a lot about arts access issues.
So I was happy this weekend to attend (with a few thousand other Torontonians) the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's first free outdoor concert in more than 10 years. It was part of Luminato's closing events.
Even though rain threatened to end the event before it started, most of the audience members held fast. The rain then mostly cleared, and the audience enjoyed a range of popular favourites from ET (dedicated to the cyclists of Toronto by director Peter Oundjian) and the Lord of the Rings (did you know scorewriter Howard Shore was Canadian and used to play saxophone in Lighthouse? I didn't.) as well as a premiere of an overture by Philip Glass and Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture.
There was a kind of War of 1812 tribute thing going on (not unusual for Toronto at the moment) which led to some weird touches like the audience being instructed to sing the Canadian and American national anthems, but the audience generally seemed to enjoy it.
There were also fireworks and cannons at the end for the Tchaikovsky, as well as a big round of audience-approval noise for the idea that the TSO will do more free concerts in future -- I certainly hope this is the case! Much needed and appreciated by the public.
(Photo of the audience holding steady during a rainshower at the free TSO event by yours truly.)