We didn’t realize it when we planned our trip to Langley but it was in the middle of a music festival. Called Django Fest, this brought a range of musicians into the town to perform a series of concerts. However, the concerts were not all that they were doing. Throughput the town, little impromptu gatherings of musicians took place and they jammed together. At various times, one musician might pack up and head off ad another might later show up (With a different instrument) and replace them. The musicians would adapt each tune to the new additions, some of which fitted easily and some of which required a little more accommodation.
The first group we came across made us think this was just some locals sitting outside playing. However, when we came across a couple more of the groups, we began to get what was going on. When a shop assistant asked if we had come for the festival, it all became clear.
The quality of the play and the smoothness of the integration varied from group to group but they were all clearly skillful musicians. Watching them join a new group and just play was impressive and also made me rather envious of their talent.
The Morton Arboretum schedules some pleasant evening events at this time of year. Last year we went to one of these and I blogged about it at the time. In that piece I was a little annoyed with myself because I hadn’t taken my camera with me and had to make use of my phone in a situation that really would have merited something a little better. This time I made sure to be a little better prepared (although I was out of the door before I realized the bag with the camera in it was still in the spare room!).
The evening consists of a jazz quartet, a bar (several actually) and the chance to order some tapas from the countless staff taking care of things. As the evening comes in, sitting out in the fresh air with the lake in the background, listening to jazz and enjoying a pleasant glass of sauvignon blanc while snacking on some tasty morsels is certainly not the worst way to spend some time.
As we headed out to the arboretum, it started to get quite cloudy. This was not what I was hoping for but it was higher level cloud and the temperature was not dropping much so being outside should still be okay. Indeed, that was the case and, as the evening drew in, the clouds drifted away and we were left with some really lovely conditions. We munched and slurped and listened to the jazz. I am not a huge jazz fan to be honest. However, after a glass or two, I became a lot more appreciative. Did they get better, did I get more attuned or does jazz always sound better with a gentle buzz?
As the event was getting closer to the end, we decided to take a stroll around the lake. It was amazing to see how much activity there was from the local wildlife. Normally this is the busiest part of the arboretum so I guess everything gets scared off. In the evening, it felt alive with wildlife – particularly the birds. (There were plenty of bugs in the air so the swallows were feasting!) As the sun got low, the scenery glowed with the evening light and it was a great way to finish off the visit.