Tour Foodies

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Why do orchestras tour? Ann Choomack believes that tours are “for eating as much as you can.” The Symphony piccolo player has been astonished by the land of creative food production. “I’ve never had soup dumplings or Korean barbecue. I’ve had the best doughnuts, the best sushi”–although not together. “One of the best things I’ve eaten was the homemade pop tart at Nickel Diner” in downtown L.A.

Tours are for food. Left to right: Andrew Cuneo, Helen Kim, Elizabeth Chung, Melody Lee, David Kim, Ann Choomack, Adam Crane, Shawn Weil, and Daniel Lee at Korean barbecue restaurant.
Tours are for food. Left to right: Andrew Cuneo, Helen Kim, Elizabeth Chung, Melody Lee, David Kim, Ann Choomack, Adam Crane, Shawn Weil, and Daniel Lee at Korean barbecue restaurant.

The music has been extraordinary too. “We played Messiaen for kids yesterday,” an Education Concert for kindergartners and a few older at Berkeleys’ Zellerbach Hall. “The kids were very attentive and engaged,” Ann said, “We did an abbreviated introduction with a couple of demonstrations, then we played about two-thirds of the piece. You could feel the energy in the hall. They’re young and open.”

Tuesday is the last night of the tour at Walt Disney Concert Hall. For Ann, it’s her first time playing there and adds “It’s an exciting place for it to be the last show.”

And the last night for Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars. “Each time playing the Messiaen it’s more natural; we’re more at ease. And each time it feels like a different piece. It has been awesome to listen to Roger Kaza in the Mahler 5, and then he plays the Messiaen horn part from memory. He’s so laid back about it, even with all the stress of travel. He’s solid.”