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Audio: Birdfoot Musicians Taking Flight: “Music can sneak you into a first-class cabin”

Birdfoot Musician 2

Jenna Sherry on the infamous Birdfoot lounging couch

“My most memorable story was about two years ago. It was New Year’s Day. I was going to work with a really fun, small chamber orchestra that I sometimes play with. They were going to be rehearsing in mid-France, not far from Burgundy. It was in a little postindustrial town where they had some support. I was going to meet all of them in Paris, and we were all going to take the train down together.

I get to the train station in Paris, and I send them a text message. They say, ‘Oh, we’re in car F,’ or whatever it was, and I look at my ticket and I’m in car ‘C.’ I think it’s a ways to walk, but I thought it would be nice to share the trip, so I walk down there. I discover them having made themselves at home in this completely empty first-class cabin. And the first-class cabin in the French TGV is really nice, but they’re also really strict. You have to sit in the place where your seat says. And, of course, all of us have cheap, cheap, cheap second-class seats.

So we’re here in this first-class cabin, and it’s completely empty. We have it entirely to ourselves, and someone says, ‘Hey, why don’t we read through the music we’re going to be rehearsing.’ So we get it out. The music for that week, I think, was Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,’ which is one of these stereotypical pieces that everyone knows, but it’s actually quite tricky. We were also doing some Tchaikovsky, so we decided to read it through.

We all propped our music on various seats and got out our instruments. Here we were going, roughly, 200 miles per hour–zooming across France–and we are rehearsing in the middle of this first-class cabin. The train guards came through, and I think they were so delighted and tickled that they just let us stay. So we played chamber music and played music all the way across France.”


You can hear violinist Jenna Sherry, as well as fellow Birdfoot musicians, play on Friday, May 27 at the Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp Street). Friday’s Ma Mére L’oye concert will begin at 8:00 P.M., and the Young Artist Pre-Concert will begin at 7:00 P.M. The Final Gala Concert will take place on Saturday, May 28 at the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market (1436 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard) at 8:00 P.M., with the Young Artist Pre-Concert beginning at 7:00 P.M. You can purchase tickets to the concerts here. For a full schedule of the concerts, visit the Birdfoot Festival website.


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