"What happens in Vegas ... stays in Vegas ..."

The Unofficial website for the NSO's West Coast Tour (Oct. 18-29, 2005). To view previous NSO Tours and Residencies, click HERE.

October 18

The NSO is divided in half (Group A and Group B) and flies from Dulles International Airport to LAX Airport. No chicken wrap (this time) for Ken - although he has chosen some kind of chicken sandwich ... rumor has it that it is called a Tuscany sandwich ...

To see Ken's REAL chicken wrap movie, click HERE.

After 5 1/2 hours on the plane, Group A lands in Los Angeles. It is 5:35 pm local time (it feels like 8:35 pm). The flight is uneventful; some mild turbulence and the in-flight movie, Bewitched, kept losing video/audio. Most of us decide not to watch the movie. The weather is slightly overcast; highs in the low 70s/upper 60s.

After checking into the hotel, we find Nick and Stef's Steakhouse. The food is wonderful. John relaxes ...

The hotel is within walking distance of the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. The NSO will perform there on October 19th (Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Barber: Violin Concerto, Corigliano: Symphony No. 1). Read the LA Times review HERE.

October 19

Ken and John visit with L.A. drummer, Steve Pemberton. Steve's website can be found at: http://www.steve-pemberton.com/. Steve took us to a nice restaurant in Burbank, CA.

We then took a quick tour of Hollywood (Palladium, Capitol Records, and Paramount Studios). Thanks Steve!


The NSO sets up on the stage of the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. It's a tight fit for the Corigliano; percussion everywhere!

The concert is quite successful (standing ovations and two encores). Ken, John, Paul, and Pam celebrate at the hotel.

The orchestra leaves for Santa Barbara in the morning.

October 20

The NSO arrives in Santa Barbara. The area is quite foggy this afternoon. However, the fog eventually lifts and the beach looks great! Several of us walk over to the long pier to eat some seafood. The orchestra will perform at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara at 8 pm.

October 21

After a 3-hour bus ride, the NSO arrives in Costa Mesa (Orange County). Here's a photo of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

October 22

The orchestra heads for Sacramento today.

NSO librarian, Marcia Farabee, checks off all of the luggage as it is loaded.

Extra percussionist (and UMD doctoral student), Danny Villanueva, passes the time on the bus ride to the airport -- iPods are a definite necessity on this trip!

I had to take a picture of the baggage claim area at the Sacramento airport. Very nice.

If anyone has ever lost their luggage in Sacramento, chances are .... it's here.

Our concert this evening is in Davis, CA. After the concert the orchestra loads onto the bus for a (supposed) 1:30 hour trip to San Francisco.

We leave Davis at 10:45 pm and arrive in San Francisco at ........ 12:45 am .... it definitely feels like a tour now ....

October 23

A very nice day in San Francisco! This view is just a block or so from our hotel; the Inter-Continental Mark Hopkins.

Ken and John grab a huge lunch (as always) at the Cheese Cake Factory restaurant at Union Square.

The NSO has a 30 minute sound check before the concert at Davies Hall in San Francisco. This is the overall set up for the Corigliano: Symphony No. 1.

October 24

The NSO has a day off today (in San Francisco). Principal Timpanist for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, David Herbert along with Principal Timpanist for the San Francisco Opera, John Burgardt, pick me up for some sightseeing and lunch. This photo was taken at Muir Woods, located 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. More information on this great National Monument can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/muwo.

We also drive up to a great spot to view the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a little foggy - but still very impressive.

The afternoon concludes with a timpani masterclass featuring the talented students from the San Francisco Conservatory.

October 25

The NSO arrives in Las Vegas. Here are the views (day and night) from my hotel room. I would add more information here - but I have to hit the slot machines!

October 26

The orchestra performs Youth Concerts this morning on the UNLV campus. John works with the percussion students at UNLV (along with some percussion students visiting from Australia!) that afternoon. Great playing. Lots of fun!

October 27

The orchestra arrives in Reno, Nevada. John is picked up at the airport and taken to the University of Nevada - Reno for a timpani masterclass (sorry no photo). Our final concert of the tour happens this evening (followed by a Family concert the next morning). The rest of Friday is spent GAMBLING! The orchestra returns to D.C. on October 30th.

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