Grand Canyon "Sweeeet"

Day one in the Grand Canyon is a glorious display of sunshine, spectacular rock walls, and shimmering water. Fitted with life jackets and given a short briefing by the crew leader, four Seattle Symphony musicians embark on the adventure of a lifetime, traveling 226 miles on the Colorado River. Sleeping on sandy beaches and rock ledges, hiking up wondrous side canyons, swimming in aquamarine pools and frolicking in waterfalls, they are constantly in awe of the beauty that surrounds them. From the monumental sheer rock walls and ever changing sky to the delicate desert flowers and thundering rapids, experiencing life in the Grand Canyon is astounding and life affirming.

North Canyon is the destination for the first string quartet concert on day two, a somewhat formidable hike of forty five minutes carrying instruments, music, stands, water and the buckets which will serve as the chairs. The concert includes the perfection of Bach's Art of the Fugue, the greatness of Haydn's last completed quartet, Op.77/2, introduces the meditative, 'Enyato' by Australia's living composer Ross Edwards, and ends with Dvorak’s ever-popular 'American' quartet.

In the past six years, seven Seattle Symphony players have been members of the yearly string quartet river trip, including Bruce and Mariel Bailey ('03), Walter Gray ('04 & '09), John Weller ('08), Rachel Swerdlow ('09), and Steve Bryant (all of them!). In addition, several extra musicians who play with the Seattle Symphony have joined in the fun; Adrianna Hulscher ('04), and Sue Jane Bryant ('03,'08 &'09). Memorable moments with these fine and resilient musicians abound; Mariel fiddling in camp with Paul, our river guide and guitarist, Bruce pumping the lion's share of the water for camp, Walter flipping in his inflatable kayak in Upset rapid and swimming the rest of the way, John entertaining the ladies with juicy violin solos, and Rachel being stung by a scorpion and enjoying being a crew member of the paddle boat.

Steve Bryant continues to lead each of these river quartets, loving the varied aspects of this multifaceted wilderness trip. In addition to side canyon concerts, sunrise concerts and cocktail hour music, the quartet will even perform on the rafts in the river, the boats tied together in an eddy, or in a quiet stretch of flat water. These are always the most impossible yet vivid concert moments for the passengers, who often come away with a new respect and appreciation for live classical music. Join us for a future white water string quartet trip down the Grand Canyon, a fantastic and inspiring adventure of a lifetime!

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