Casa Loma Symphony In The Gardens Live Report

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This summer Casa Loma Castle held a series of concerts , free of charge for any visitors who came on a Wednesday. Granted the visitors had to purchase admission for the Toronto tourist attraction and granted this was limited to the period between June 18th and September 3rd. 

I attended the August 20th performance and it was so worth the 24 dollars. Not only do you get a free concert to listen to, you can explore the castle for 5 more hours! Normally it closes at 5 but on the concert-specified days, it closes at 10pm. Even if you're not into the music, you can always enjoy spending your time admiring the beautiful night view of the castle.

The stage was simple, set in a garden glasshouse. There were lots of seats inside and plenty of dining tables out in the garden. There were chefs serving up fancy foods, and waiters serving drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I remember there were a variety of food from reasonably priced hot dogs to full blown entrees to delicious gelato. 

 That night, the Toronto Concert Orchestra performed a selection of 6 songs: Bach's French Suite Excerpts, Handel's Organ Concerto Op. 4 Nr. 2, Mendelssohn's Sinfonia in D, Warlock's Capriol Suite, Grainger's Molly on the Shore, and Corelli's Concerto Grosso in D. It lasted for about a hour or so. The conductor, Kerry Stratton was really down-to-earth and humoured the audience between songs. Christopher Dawes, the soloist of the night, gave a short organ performance, talked about his unique instrument and briefly educated us about the history of organs. 

Since it was a relatively small orchestra with twenty or so musicians, the atmosphere was friendly and comfortable. It felt like I was at a dinner with friends. Symphony In The Gardens was more than a concert, it was a celebration of summer with great food, great people, and of course, great music. 

For anyone who's visiting Toronto this fall or is interested in attending a concert at a reasonable price, Casa Loma's holding another series of concerts this fall on Tuesday evenings. It all starts on October 21st and ends until December 9th. 

Additional information is available on their official website: