7 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 8 - May 2014

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Concerts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Festival
Includes the 2014 Canary Pages directory of choirs.

Beat by Beat |

Beat by Beat | BandstandWhat Do You CallTwo Didgeridoos?JACK MACQUARRIEFor the past two issues I have speculated on just when springmight arrive. It is now mid-April and, at time of writing, there islots of that white stuff on the ground once again, so rather thanjinxing things once again, let’s just say my seasonal optimism is beingfuelled by the information arriving from readers. One such announcementis the annual rebirth of the Uxbridge Community Concert Bandfor its 23rd season. Unlike most town bands, this group only getstogether every summer starting in late May and ceases operation aftertheir final summer concert in late August. That was not always the wayin the town of Uxbridge, as I shall explain.Today Uxbridge is noted for its broad spectrum of arts activities.From such events as Art in the Park, the Celebration of the Arts andconcerts by three choirs to a constant stream of productions of playsand musicals in the town’s 100-plus-year-old music hall, there isno shortage of arts activities. For many years the town had a wellorganizedtown band, but that disappeared. I am deeply indebted toMr. Walter Taylor, former Town Clerk of Uxbridge for supplying thephotograph here. Taken in 1925, it shows the Uxbridge Citizens Bandin uniform on the steps of one of the local churches. It is particularlyinteresting because it shows a band in the very era when therewas a gradual transition of many town bands from all brass band toconcert band.In the early part of the 19th century throughout Britain and muchof Western Europe, brass bands began to be formed. While manyof these were town bands, many were sponsored by employers asa form of recreation for employees. These bands adopted the sameinstrumentation as the Salvation Army bands which began to appearabout the same time. Brass instruments were particularly suitablefor outdoor performance since their sound could project well out ofdoors and they were not prone to damage should a rainstorm interrupta performance. There was another great advantage for instruction.By transposing various parts into appropriate keys it was feasibleto conduct group instruction on the various instruments of the band.When I joined my first boys band the instruction was in a group. Fromcornet to tuba the spectrum of instruments, with the exception of thetrombone, all learned the same fingering.This 1925 photo shows a band in transition.The E-Flat horns and B-Flat baritonesare still there, but the cornets aredwindling. The back row has only twocornets, as is common in a brass band,but the rest of the back row has trumpets.As for woodwinds, three clarinets havemanaged to sneak in, an early harbingerof the modern concert band’s woodwindsection with lots of saxophones, clarinets,flutes and perhaps an oboe and abassoon. It was certainly too early forFrench horns; they hadn’t made it yet.I wonder what happened to thatparticular Uxbridge band? It was probablythe victim of the great depression.There are some remnants of that band’smusic library in the town’s museum;I can tell you, the titles of some of theworks listed would no longer be “politicallycorrect.”Uxbridge CitizensBand, 1925On the subject of correctness, when speaking about the smallest ofthe brass instruments, many people mispronounce the word “cornet.”All too often one hears the word pronounced with the accent onthe second “net” syllable rather than on the first “cor” syllable. Thatpronunciation is reserved for the “cornett,” a very different instrument.The cornet is a brass instrument similar to the trumpet,whereas the cornett is an instrument made of wood or ivory. It is along tapered instrument with finger holes, similar in appearanceto a recorder, with a cup mouthpiece similar to that of a trumpet. Itwas commonly used in orchestras of the 16th and 17th centuries. Itsmuch bigger brother (up to seven feet in length in an S shape) wasthe serpent which was still in use in bands in the 19th century. Manyyears ago I had the pleasure of playing briefly on both such instruments.Anyone interested in seeing a cornett may view one in thesplendid display case in the entrance to Koerner Hall in Toronto.Recent Happenings: Now for a bit about what has been happeningabout town. Last year at the annual small ensemble concert of theband of HMCS York at the Naval Club of Toronto we had a photo oftrombonist Leading Seaman James Chilton performing on his didgeridoo.At the time he mentioned that he was playing on a factorymadeinstrument, but was hoping to own a genuine native Australianinstrument made from the trunk of a eucalyptus tree, the core ofwhich is hollowed out by termites. While he was back this year withhis trombones, including a soprano trombone (sometimes referredto as slide trumpet), he was there with didgeridoos in hand. His wishhas been realized. The factory-made instrument was there along withhis prized original native instrument. With his wife Denise at his side,playing the factory instrument, we were treated to a new experience.This time we heard a didgeridooet!Speaking of the HMCS York Band, conductor Lieutenant Jackt’Mannetje is hoping to gradually build up a history of the bands ofHMCS York since WWII. If any readers have recollections of thesebands over the past 70 years, please let us hear from you.While it was not in the community band sphere, I would be remissif I didn’t mention a recent “Spring Fling Concert” celebrating 25years of teaching by Jane Plewman. Jane teaches string instruments ather home at Chalk Lake northeast of Toronto. The delightful eveningfeatured performances by players at all levels, from beginner toadvanced, performing in a variety of ensembles. What was inspiringwas to see toddlers performing with confidence alongside whitehairedgrandparents; the joy of making music together. From basicSuzuki melodies to works of Handel, Bach, Boccherini and Telemann,the enthusiasm was always there.On the Horizon: On May 3 the York University Community BandFestival will take place all afternoon and evening. Each year fourbands are invited to participate. This year’s contingent might wellbe described as the North Yonge Street group. The bands are from26 | May 1, 2014 – June 7, 2014

Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Aurora andNewmarket. During the afternoonthere will be a massed band sessionfollowed by woodwind and brass tuningsessions and a percussion clinic. In theevening the bands will perform individuallyfor adjudication. The followingday, on May 4, I will have the pleasure ofattending a concert titled “Once UponA Tune,” the final event of the East YorkConcert Band’s 61st season. (I first metand wrote about their current conductor,Joseph Resendes, a few years agowhen, as a graduate student in music,he assumed direction of the then newMilton Concert Band.)Usually the Wychwood Clarinet Choircan be counted on to have an unusualtreat in their offerings. This year is noexception. Their concert on May 25 at 3:30, titled “Spring Vibrations,”will feature guest vibraphonist Arnold Faber performing an originalwork which he wrote for the choir. The program will also include thefirst public performance of Canadian Folk Song Suite written by thechoir’s assistant director Roy Greaves.On May 30 the various New Horizons bands of Toronto will presenttheir final concert of the season at St. Michael’s College Schoolat.7:30. There will be a film crew there to complete the filming forthe documentary planned for broadcast on TVO this coming fall. Asfor the New Horizons Bands in Peterborough, if the snow has finallystopped for a while, a visit soon with the prospect of clear roadsseems imminent.Down the road: We have recently learned that a new concert bandis in the works in Toronto’s west end this fall. So far there is no informationon location, rehearsal days, etc.Resa’s Pieces groups all have concerts scheduled for dates in June.We have received an interesting account of how these groups cameinto being, but it is too long for inclusion in this issue. We hope tohave it posted on TheWholenote website soon.Elsewhere in this issue there is an interesting classified advertisementby Emily Benedictis for the sale of many scores of band musicowned by her late father, Mariano De Benedictis. Unfortunately thisinformation arrived too late for me to find out more about the musicand life of a Hamilton man who by all accounts had a rich communitymusical life. More next time perhaps?Definition Department: This month’s lesser known musicalterm is: Cantabile: To achieve a complaining sound, as if you have asour stomach.We invite submissions from readers. Let’s hear your daffynitions.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments andhas performed in many community ensembles. He canbe contacted at bandstand@thewholenote.comSt. Philip’s Anglican ChurchBeat by Beat | In the ClubsThree Laurasand MoreORI DAGANThe TD Jazz Festival June 19 to 28 2014 lineup announcement hasbeen, in my opinion, the most memorable in years — Keith Jarrett,Bobby McFerrin, Norma Winstone, to name a few of the acts booked.Expect much more in HalfTones, mid-May, and in our June coverage.Jazz Bistro: Meanwhile I’m also excited about the upcoming Mayschedule at Jazz Bistro, but need to start by telling you that I workpart time for the club, so you should take that into consideration inweighing the words that follow!That being said, what’s not to like? Highlights include a CD releasefor the Mike Murley Trio followed by two nights with the MikeMurley Septet (May 22 to 24). Another night I’m really thrilled aboutis Tuesday May 13, the Three Lauras, which is the debut of a trio ofMarks, Fernandez and Hubert, all Toronto-based singers named Laura.All three are often classified as jazz but each Laura is completelydifferent and uniquely awesome; they will be backed by a group oflocal all-stars: Mark Kieswetter, piano; Duncan Hopkins, bass; KevinTurcotte, trumpet and Chris Gale, tenor saxophone.And then there’s Maureen Kennedy’s three-night stand (May 29 to31 at 9pm) for which she will be joined by Steve Wallace on bass, andspecial guests from Vancouver: saxophonist Cory Weeds and guitaristBill Coon, who plays the first and third night while local guitar greatReg Schwager takes the second.“I had the pleasure of singing with Cory Weeds and Bill Coon whenCory booked me for two nights at The Cellar a few years back. Theyhave a history as players that Reg and Steve Wallace also share and formy three nights at Jazz Bistro I have the good fortune of tapping intoall those special musical relationships” says Kennedy.Kennedy’s fans adore the purity of her 100 percent natural, golden,honey-like instrument, which is merely the surface of her art. Makingevery lyric sparkle with conviction, Kennedy’s music is the result of Sunday, May 25, 4pm | Polka VespersWalter Ostanek Band Sunday, June 8, 4pm | Jazz VespersMike Downes Quartetwith Mike (bass), Robi Botos (piano),Ted Quinlan (guitar), & Ted Warren (drums)St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 stphilips.nefree will offeringFeaturing some of Toronto’s best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers ClergyMay 11 at 4:30 pmGORDON SHEARD TRIOGordon Sheard, piano; Mark Kelso, drums;George Koller, bassMay 25 at 4:30 pm - DAVE DUNLOP TRIODave Dunlop, trumpet; Gordon Sheard, piano; Pat Kilbride, bassJune 8 at 4:30 pm - Bill McBirnie, flute; Bernie Senensky, pianoChrist Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St. 416-920-5211(north of St. Clair at Heath St.) Admission is free; donations are May 1, 2014 – June 7, 2014 | 27

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