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casual fridays at the nac (giveaway)

Ever been to the orchestra? I went once years ago and it was a lovely experience, but I wondered if it was perhaps a touch fancy for my taste, you know? Recently I found out about Casual Fridays at the National Arts Centre (I know, I'm super late to this party); has anyone else been?

For those of you who aren't familiar (like me), the night starts with drinks and tapas in the NAC's main lobby, followed by a 90-minute concert without intermission. Then everyone is invited to stay after the performance to meet the musicians. Cool right?

Tapas tickets are available for purchase in advance for 3/$20 if you're buying a ticket subscription (starts at $69 for 3 performances), or you can buy them on-site the night of the concert at a price of $8 each. Top tip: the tapas tickets are valid for any Casual Friday performance during the 2016/17 season, so if you don't use them all on one visit you can save 'em for next time.

This all sounds pretty enticing so I'm checking out Casual Fridays this week and will report back. This week guest violinist Nicola Benedetti (below) is performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, and it sounds to me like a great reason to wear some heels and enjoy a night out with hubby.

The evening starts at 5 p.m. in the NAC main lobby with live jazz, wine and tapas. Then my favourite part: at 7pm you can bring your glass of wine with you for the performance! So civilized right?! And after the show you can mix and mingle with Nicola back in the main lobby.

Torquil Campbell, singer/songwriter for Montreal-based indie band Stars is hosting the night, and will help novices like me connect with the musicians and gain a deeper understanding of the music. I love that: the orchestra with zero pretense.

Photo by the talented folks at Herd Mag; they're way better with a camera than I.

And on the menu this Friday, because food:

-Le coprin mushroom Arancini, spanish paprika aioli (vegetarian) -Fogo Island cod taco, avocado-tomatillo salsa with lemon tartar sauce

-Shredded roasted beet, pickled cucumber, carrot grilled artichoke puree, lettuce wrap (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free)

-Braised beef short rib, horseradish white polenta reduced braising liquid

-Eggplant parmesan sliders, chipotle mayo, sesame bun with fresh basil (vegetarian) -Spiced duck confit, caramalized onion tart with a balsamic reduction

Tix start at just $25 and you can buy them here. And if you go, be sure to tweet or post a few photos and tag them with #NACOFridays, it'll help me find you so I can come say hi!

But because giveaway is my middle name...

win tix to casual fridays at the nac

I'm giving away a pair of tickets to this week's edition of Casual Fridays, plus wine and food vouchers. A whole night on the town basically! Want to get in on the fun and hang with me this Friday? Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and I'll announce a winner this Thursday.

You've got just 48 hours to enter so hop to it!!

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