Parlando: The COC Blog

11/20/2010

The School Tour Goes to Nunavik, Day 4

[This is a guest post by our director of public relations, Claudine Domingue. Claudine is accompanying the Cinderella cast and crew to the Xstrata Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec this week as part of the Ensemble Studio School Tour]

Nothing can beat the euphoria of Wednesday, but Thursday came in a close second.

Our last day at Raglan started a little later than usual with most of us missing the hot breakfast which ends at 8 a.m., and had to “make do” with cereal, fruit, toast, sandwiches, coffees and juices. I knew a lot of the group had gone to bed late (Cooper had been shooting photos outside at midnight), but that morning I found out that he and Michael Barrett had been shooting hoops until 3 a.m., so I wasn’t surprised to see them running into the cafeteria at 8:55 a.m. looking for coffee. Michael B., Heather and I went to a geological pre-tour orientation given especially for us by one of the Raglan geologists.  While we were doing that, Katherine, Andrea Grant and Michael Lewandowski bubble-wrapped the set pieces for (hopefully) the last time in preparation for their last flight home.

At 9:30 we all converged to suit up for our tour of the Katinniq Mine (one of the four at Raglan), and it’s the kind that you drive trucks into—which was fine by me! We were escorted into a huge warehouse where we were given our insulated orange coveralls, helmets, boots, protective glasses, gloves and lights. (By the way, I was told that the reason we are always suited in orange is because it’s the only colour not found naturally in this environment, so it’s easy to spot if someone gets lost out here.) We were split into two small groups, loaded into two trucks and driven down.

Our first stop was about 100 metres down when we stopped to look at the conveyor belt which brings the ore up to the mill.

 

Another 100 metres or so down was the explosives depot where we got a crash course on the various kinds of explosives used in different situations. Michael Cooper took advantage of the moment to get a “rock album” style shot of the bunch of us in there.

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Posted by Claudine Domingue / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / comments (0) / permalink

11/18/2010

The School Tour Goes to Nunavik, Day 3

[This is a guest post by Claudine Domingue, the director of public relations, and Katherine Semcesen, the senior manager of education and outreach. Katherine and Claudine are accompanying the Cinderella cast and crew to the Xstrata Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec this week as part of the Ensemble Studio School Tour. This post was written the evening of Nov. 17]  

Well, all went "as planned" today. Of course it was only planned yesterday, but that is, apparently, the Raglan Way. You organize and plan to the hilt and the weather changes, or a plane breaks down, or something else happens, and you use the plans you made to make new ones! At least, that's how Mike Welch (GM Raglan) explained it to us. And, I gotta say, it makes sense.

We left at 7:45 this morning for Donaldson Airport—we'd been told that apart from a little de-icing, visibility was good. When we got to the airport they were already busy putting all our stuff in this tiny, tiny plane and spraying de-icing liquid on the wings.

 

 

We took off with Jim and Aaron (our fabulous pilots from yesterday) and landed in Salluit at 9:15 a.m. in absolutely beautiful weather. It was so exciting to see the sea meet the land and this little village nestled at the very edge of the bay. The airstrip is at the top of a ridge above the village with a gorgeous view of mountains and sea and sky all around. We piled into a school bus for the trip down and watched as the pick-up truck with all our set pieces and piano drove down ahead of us, the piano balancing precariously on top of all the set boxes, swaying slightly with each bump.

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Posted by Claudine Domingue and Katherine Semcesen / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / comments (2) / permalink

11/17/2010

The School Tour goes to Nunavik, Day 2

[This is a guest post by Katherine Semcesen, the COC’s senior manager of education and outreach. Katherine is accompanying the Cinderella cast and crew to the Xstrata Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec this week as part of the Ensemble Studio School Tour. This post was written the evening of Nov. 16]

Weather permitting, we can ______________ (fill in the blank).

This is an expression we've used a lot today. We experienced first hand the challenges faced by the workers at the Xstrata mine and those living in the north, after our plans to travel were diverted by a force greater than anything on earth: Mother Nature herself.

The day started off by the cast meeting in the cafeteria for a nice hearty breakfast and multiple cups of coffee awaiting our departure to Donaldson Airport. The Ensemble Studio singers were well rested after their long journey to the Mine Complex the day before and were eager to fly out to Salluit and perform for the students at Pigiurvik and Ikusik schools. Knowing that the weather was the key element that could really jeopardize our plans, we kept one eye on our coffees and another eye on the increasing snow drifts. But the weather did look promising at the start of our day.

Yannick, my fantastic counterpart at Xstrata who's been co-ordinating the logistics of our travel and accommodation, found me sitting enjoying my cup of coffee and gave me the "everything-will-be-fine-but-can-we-chat?" smile. I was informed that the visibility at Donaldson Airport was poor and that snow drifts and ice accumulation would delay us for at least an hour. The snow here is like powder and if we were at Pearson Airport in Toronto, there would be several ploughs trying to clear the runways as quickly as possible. But here in the great white north, if a runway was cleared, one would find it completely covered with snow again two seconds later as snow drifts across the land quite consistently. And so began the rescheduling of our itinerary: "Weather permitting, we'll depart for Salluit at 10 a.m." Lo and behold, the skies over the Raglan Mine Complex cleared as if Mother Nature was giving us the sign that we were to begin our journey to Salluit.

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Posted by Katherine Semcesen / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / comments (3) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001

 

 

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