7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 4 - December 2004

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Theatre
  • January
  • Jazz
  • Ensemble
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • Musical
  • February

Editor's 0 Reflections

Editor's 0 Reflections on "Family fare" SOMETIMES our announced "Special Focuses" in WholeNote are pretty straightforward, such as the three for February at the foot of page 5. · A theme like "Music and Health" bas obvious variations: staying healthy as a performer, music as therapy, the role of music in mental development, keeping your "instrument" in good repair. But it doesn't spiral out of control. The editorial department can collaborate in a focused task. • Once in a while, however, we choose a "focus" like this month's "Family Fare" that proves to be a shapeshifter. We thought it would provide a way of stepping back from our individual trees to view the wonders of the musical forest as a whole. Instead we found ourselves flat on our backs in the bushes under a shapeless canopy of endless green. This month's deceptively friendly theme has provoked (variously) paroxysms of despair, glee, and claustrophobia in our ranks. Despair: "But we've announced 'Family Fare' as our theme, and there's no mention of it anywhere in the magazine except in this little 'Op Ed' piece." Glee: there are more than six hundred performances mentioned in this issue. More than x of them have a specifically familycentered theme, more than y take place during the day, more than z are either free or with prices for children, students and seniors less than the cost of a typical movie ticket. Claustrophobia: "Just about everything in the issue could be taken to be about the theme. Look at the nice mother/daughter thing with Mary Lou Fallis and Anne Madgett in 'How I Met My Teacher'; or the WholeNote Dec 6 salon (titled, what else, Family Fare) - - a rare early evening opportunity for the WholeNote family (staff, readers, advertisers, contributors and their families) to meet, greet and even make music on our all-ages open stage; or our cover story about an ensemble, the Canadian Brass, that bas done so much to convert "children of all ages" to the love of music; or ... the list goes on and on. Granted, a lot of programming at this time of year celebrates midwinter festivals and communal gatherings of one kind or another. (guest columnist Chris Dawes has some sobering and inspiring thoughts on this topic on page 43). We could have called it "lighter fare" instead-- an antidote to the season's heavy meals! But that description certainly doesn't apply to all the concerts between now and the new year. And besides, we potentially do as much damage as good by implying that music has to be jazzed up or dumbed down to appeal to children. The second thing to beware of with a theme like this is what you might call the "Groundhog Day" effect. There's a danger in tipping an annual hat to "Family Fare", like Groun.dhog Day. After all, what do we go back to doing with the little critters after that? So my point? The turning of the year is a fine time for all of us to compile an inventory of where music fits, and doesn't fit, in our own and our society's plans. As always WholeNote is a fine resource to assist in this stock-taking exercise. There's evidence here to justify celebratory back-slapping all round. Forty-four live music events on December 5th alone! But there's also cause for discomfort -- provision for music in our schools is at its lowest ebb in decades. Our research for this planned survey of the "Family Fare" forest revealed extraordinary things: innovative audience outreach programs of many kinds; people living inspirational musical lives. The bad news is that in this issue we barely scratch the surface. The good news: every day is Groundhog Day in WholeNote! We'll be at it all year round. Have a blast! Over-indulge (musically). We'll be back in late January. David Perlman

SJft talk & big schtick Chuck Daellenbach and the Canadian Brass by David Per/111011 IN A PREv1ous LIFE as a school 1ex1 book edi1or I was once given the assignment of gathering photographs for a book on lhe Russian Revolu­ Lion. It was 1977, the same year that, in the "cultural thaw" that followed the arrest of the "Gang of Four," China sent the Shanghai Ballet to Canada. Ottawa had to reciprocate. It sent to China, on a fourteenday founeen-city lour, the largest ensemble it could muster for the ,000 the Depanment of External Affairs could find in its contingency budget - a scruffy-looking fivesome called the Canadian Brass. Times being what they were in '77, when J called the Soviet embassy in Ottawa to ask if 1hey had pictures of the Russian revolution, J ran into a fair bit of suspicion. But I got what I wanted, eventually - a book containing fifty years of wonderful photos, 1905-1955, from the Novosty Press Archives. At some point I noticed something odd, though. A bloke called Stalin was completely missing. Eventually I found one reference to him. On one page there was an outdoor balcony photo of nine unifomled people, with a caption something like Cemral C.Ommittee, such and such a d(lfe. Pony member Josef S1ali11 is fifth from Left. Ever since then I've had a radar that goes off when something 's missing, and ii went off November 2, when we received !he press re lease that go1 us interested in doing this story on the Canadian Brass. It was a two-pronged release. First it announced I.he Canaclian Brass's new CD, Magic Horn, lheir first on Sruan Laugh1on's home-grown Opening Day label. Chuck Daellenbach and Stuan are joining forces on the recording front. Bringing the Brass with I.heir 30-year, 50 album track record into the fold is a huge boost. Second prong of the Nov 2 release was an aru1ouncemem of the Brass's upcoming December 23 Roy Thomson Hall concen. And that's where my radar wenc off. The release said: Three original mcmberSt-Gene Waus, 1rombone; Chuck Daellenbach, tuba; and S1uan Laugh1on. Lrumpe1-are s1ill with the group, and have been joined by Joe Burgsialler, trumpet. and Jeff Nelsen, horn. You see, in any en5emble with the Stuart Laughton, first Lrum- pet, the press release's third "orig- longevity of the Canadian Brass lhe player personnel door tends to revolve more than twice in 35 with !he group since 2003, replacyears. Of the five who will take !he Roy Thomson stage on Oec 23, two are indeed group Moriginals" inal" ha actually only been back ing Ryan Anthony (2000-03), who replaced Ron Romm ( 1970-2000), who replaced Sruan in the Brass's very first year, when Siuan decidin every sense of the word: Chuck ed that Philadelphia's Cunis lnsti­ Daellenbach on tuba. who's been tute was a smaner bet at the time. there every day since day one; and The other 1wo current Brassers, Gene Watts on trombone, who's Jeff Nelsen on horn, and Joe been there even longer, if you count Burgstaller, second oumpe1, are the couple of years he carried the idea around in his head, kicking joined in 2000 and 2001 respecthings back and fonh with trum- peter Freel Mills in !heir Stratford Festival days in 68. where they'd pull together basemem brass quin- also relative newcomers, having tively. Burgstaller's three predecessors were Jens Lindeman (1996-2001), Fred Mills (72-96) and Bill PhiJtets for fun and recreation. lips (70-72). great chamber music down town FREDERIQUE VEZINA, soprano sings German, French and Spanish songs in her Toronto recital dcbut Thursday, January 13 at 8 p.m. HEATHER SCHMIDT, pianist and composer plays Schumann and Rachmaninoff, Alexina Louie and Heather Schmidt Tuesday, January 18 at 8 p.m. DEBUSSY STRING QUARTET plays Lckcu, Faure and Mozart in its Toronto debut Thursday, January 27 at 8 p.m. GRYPHON TRIO performs La1ysa Kuzmenko's Dreams with the ELORA FESTIVAL SINGERS Tuesday, February 1 at 8 p.m. loron•c•rta;ounco A c...eo...c. CMMl-.M• I-•- • '-- A\. .. · c/ - .. -· ,. "' tot-- WCl!Ndal ._. -.-- CONTINUES NEXT PACE 5i:

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