June '96 ~.............._-______ ~-~' '. ._' - --- --- -- - - •4• - --=---~- -:;;. ~··-· -- SEEKING PERFECT SoUND 1: Church of St. Mary Magdalene BY FRANK LOCKWOOD This is the first in a series . profiling music performance venues in Toronto. In my professional activities as a recording engineer/producer for classical music, ( have the opportunity to assess the acoustics of many churches and concert halls as well as attending performances. As a new T orontonian, I am being introduced to several locations for the first time, and hope to share some of what I discover with you. The Church of S.aint Mary Magdalene has one of the most distinguished musical legacies in Canada. The church was founded in 1888 by the Rev. Charles Darling, and designed by his brother Frank, a prominent Toronto architect. The interior exhibits many Choir, a small chorus of of the architectural features men at the front of the common to the Romanesque church, with the rest of the revival, notably the rounded Mass and a Motet or Anthem arches, the barrel vaulting of sung by the Gallery Choir, a the north aisle and the lightly mixed chorus located in the tinted or clear glass in the loft at the back. This windows. The combination of antiphonal disposition of the plaster walls and the · voices makes a significant wooden floor makes for lively contribution to the Solemn reverberation and the High Mass services, held each complex shape of the interior Sunday at 11:00 a.m. causes sound to be diffused Since 1975, the musical very quickly and evenly, direction has been resulting in a smooth, maintained and developed by uncoloured sound quality. Dr. Robert Hunter Bell, who A choir director I know has forged an ongoing has told me that the sound, relationship with Virgin 'just makes you want to Classics (EMI) providing a sing!". Indeed the voice finds medium whereby the choir. of a flattering home here, St. Mary Magdalene, the particularly in the music of music of Dr. 'Willan and the Dr. Healy Willan who served - acoustic for which it was as music director from 1921 composed. come together on until 1968. CD. Preparations are now Under Willan, the music underway for a second of the Mass was divided into recording to be released later parts sung by the Ritual this year. PULSE Other musical activities throughout the year include concerts of chamber, choral . and organ music. The church is located at 477 Manning Avenue north and west of College and Bathurst, at the corner of Manning and Ulster, (just a few blocks from either Christie er Bathurst Subway). This is a residential area, so parking is at a premium. The building has full access for the handicapped. The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene is a fine example of how a building, a musical tradition and the dedicated support of a community can come together to enrich the cultura'llife of the whole city. Frank Lockwood is a Recording Producer/Engineer specializing in recording classical and acoustic music. • • • THE ETC FILE =D~A~T~E~S;:::=====--;ith;;eiA\;r;;;ts~. RR:;:eg;;i-;;st7:ra;;t;;io~n~-~S~u;;m~p~t~uo;:;u:;:s:'ihhco~r;s dd;;'oe~u~vres Long & McQuade, 925 Bloor St W. 588-7886. Free. 21 to July 1st: The du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival. Over 50 venues with ticketed mainstage performances, more than includes Sprint for the Arts and wines courtesy of / 35 clubs, dozens. of free •OI 2:00 · 4:00: Long & T-shift, refreshments and Lucia & Roberto Martella performances datly, one McQuade. International barbecue and entertain- of grano restaurant & dollar concerts, free jazz Clinic Series. Jazz guitar ment, including the Magnotta Winery. films and ~orkshop~ - w ''Verve" recording artist, Canadian Brass. (Patrons Excerpts from Don For more ·~formatwn Mark Whitfield Long & of Wisdom is dedicated to Giovanni. 94 Cortleigh call the Festival McQuade, 925 Bloor St. the advancement of Blvd 925-3767. . Information Hotline: 363- W. 588-7886. Free. Canadian cultural and •06 7:00 _ IO:OO: Opera 5200. or The Toron~o •OI 2:00 and 8:00: educ~tional projects.) Earl Atelier. A Royal Feast Downtown Jazz SoCJety: Markham Thespian Bales Park, 4169 Bathurst Meet the stars of O.A.'s 363-8717. Society. The Pirates of St 225-4750. ,. upcoming production of •22. 8:00: Rita G~en~ (of Penzance. Hart House, U. •02 1:30 - 4:30 (check Mozart's Don Giovanni - Taxtcabaret fame.) wtll be ofT. 978-8668. ,. times) Choral Conducting baritone, Lucas de Jong performing at the Water's •02 5:05: CBC Stereo - workshop, sponsored by and soprano, Shari Edge Cafe at 94.1. "Random Sampling" the Amadeus Choir and Saunders. Feast created hy Harbourfront (pa~t of the (Radio Programme). "Do the Choral Store. Waiter the epicurean master chefs J~ Festival~. She 11 be it Yourself' - the last in a Hall, Edward Johnson from the Official takmg the mght off cabfive-part series about the Building, 80 Queen's Canadian Olympic ~rivi!lg though, since this independent Canadian Park. Cooking Team. 19 ts, wtth_all due respects, a music scene, hosted by •02 4:00 _ 7:00: Opera Rosedale Rd 925-3767. better gtg. Lee Carter. Loreena Atelier. A Baroque Garden 0. McKennitt and The Leslie F ete. M eet t h e stars o f •08 2:00 - 4:00: Long & Spit Treeo. Paul Stainton O.A.'s upcoming McQuade. International at 205-6565. production of Mozart's Clinic Series. Jazz •02 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 Don Giovanni - baritone, performance with p.m.: The Patrons of Lucas de Jong and trumpeter and jazz Wisdom 4K Sprint for soprano, Shari Saunders. educator, Kevin Dean. AUDITIONS Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. June 4 & 5: 598- 0422. Toronto Classical Singers. 443-0312. Bach Children's Chorus. 431-0790 . Canadian Children's Opera Chorus. June 8, 15, 22. 366-0467. AWARDS Victoria Scholars (Choir). First prize in the Equal Voice Choir category of the CBC Amateur Choir Competition and the Canada Counci.J Healey Willan Grand Prize for being the best amaateur choir in Canada this year. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Dr. Elmer Iseler. The Tenth Roy Thomson Hall Award, which recognizes "outstanding contributions to the musical life of Metropolitan Toronto.'' The Ontario Choral Federation Silver Anniversary Awards: to be announced at the OCF's Silver Anniversary celebration, June 8. For additional information, call the OCF at 363·7488.
June '96 •S• PULS~ Harmonious partnership: Lydia Adams and the Amadeus Choir BY ALLAN PULKER At a recent rehearsal I attended, the Amadeus Choir was preparing for their upcoming June 1 concert at the Ford Centre. They were rehearsi.ng some stirring music from the English choral tradition: Charles Stanford Tomkins, Vaughan Williams,. Hubert Parry and choral luminary Sir David Willcocks, who will share the podi urn with Ms. Adams June 1. Influences Willcocks has played an important role in Lydia Adams' musical life. She was born and grew up in Glace Bay Nova Scotia, where her mother directed one of the lo1=al church choirs. She studied piano and voice and sang in her . mother's choir (her mother now sings in the Amadeus!) She attended Mount Allison University as a piano major. but immersed herself in choirs as well. (She credits ''Mount A" choral conductor, George Evelyn, for his influence at this time.) She then did post-graduate work at London's Royal College ofMusi.c with Willcocks and sang in his 300-voice Bach Choir. ''W i llcocks" she says "was not afraid to give opportunities to others." c B L A A R V 0 One such opportunity for her was unforgettable ·· conducting a work by great 20th century composer Herbert Howells, in the ·presence of the composer. "London was fantastic" she told me. A choice of great performers every night. And student tickets were only SOp to £1. (Concert producers, tJ:zke note? If Music TORONTO can do it . . . ? Ed.) .lseler One summer, between terms at London's RCM, she worked as an accompanist at the Nova Scotia Choral Federation adult choir camp. Elmer Iseler invited her to Toronto to become the Elmer Iseler Singers accompanist .. She kept him waiting a year while she completed her studies, but in 1981 took the position which she was to hold for 13 years. It was while with the Iseler Singers, in 1985, that she became conductor of the Amadeus Choir. Perfect match Adams and the Amadeus Choir are such a perfect match that one forgets the choir predates her. It was founded in 1974 by members of the choir of St. Mark's United Church in Scarborough. There were two I Q E U R E s s Dawn Lyons & Den Ciul 109 Fuller Avenue Toronto, Ontario M6R 2C4 Phone: (416) 538·3062 Fax: (416) 538-3062 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com HARPSICHORDS CLAVICHORDS SPINETS VIRGINALS FORTE-PIANOS Sales - Repairs - Rentals Agents for Zuckermann Harpsichords conductors before Lydia · one of them, Barbara Hodgins, still sings in the choir. 'The Amadeus is still above all else, an amateur community choir" says. Adams. (Members range in age from 14 to 81.) "Choral singing really promotes a sense of community." One innovation she brought to the choir illustrates this beautifully ·· the choir's annual competition for new compositions · Christmas Carols and now Chanukah songs as well. I complimented her on this. "Oh, that was David Willcock's idea" she said "He's done it for years with the Bach Choir and the Phi lip Jones Brass Ensemble at the Royal Albert ·· an audience of 8000 people!" It works, she told me, because the carol is such an · accessible form, "People are not afraid to try." Hundreds of pieces have been entered in th~ competition over the years, many from children. The Amadeus Choir keeps busy under her leadership. The choir has just won second prize in the CBC amateur choir competition. And they have an ambitious 96-97 agenda: a four-concert series at the Ford Centre; and performances with the Hannaford Stre_~t _Silver Band, Scarborough Phi )harmonic and the TSO. Giving credit In addition to the rehearsal I attended, I chatted with her (at the Bayview Second Cup (one of Pulse's distribution points!) for over an hour. I was struck by how readily she credits others ·· David Willcocks' carol competition idea; the Victoria Scholars on winning.fir.sl prize in the CBC choral competition; composer Eleanor Daley, whose ''Mother, Son, Spirit" wi 11 be performed by the Amadeus Choir, accompanied by the composer June 1. "She's the organist and choir master at Fairlawn United Church in North York. She's like Bach · she writes a new composition for the choir every week. She really understands how to write for choir!" And that's Lydia Adams, always spreading the good news about other people who are contributing. It's part of her own contribution. Lydia Adams will be one of twenty-five people honoured June 8 by the Ontario Choral Federation (see lisli"f.S for ]~m .- 8). She will also conduct the Amadeus, along with eight other choirs in a massed choir Scarborough bicenten· nial concert June 10. @,~ tlie sound po~t Canada's String Shop violins, violas, cellos, basses repairs and restorations, bow rehairs strings and accessories music and recordings educational materials guaranteed lowest prices "' NEW LOCATION "' 93 Grenville St. (near College/Bay), Toronto phone (416) 971-6990 fax (416) 597-9923 Free Parking "' Open Sundays 12 - 5