7 years ago

Volume 2 Issue 3 - November 1996

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Yonge
  • Bloor
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Ensemble

November '96 PULSE Featuring ... Community orchestras: the delicate balance BY ALLAN PULKER further erosion of music schools. intended to be heard, I have spent quite a bit of time performance quality. Another contribution the performed in spaces much in past Pulsefiatures looking at TRAINING GROUND Orchestral Traiqing smaller than contemporary choirs and their role in Another potentially valuable Program~e made to . co?c~rt halls, whe~e you . cementing our community~ role of community orchestras commumo/ orchestras 1s. that pract1cally fe~l as 1f you are m musical lift. So this time I lies in their serving as a a substantial number o_f 1t~ the orchestra . thought I'd look at the d t 1 instrumental counterpart of the training ground for student gra ua es are now P ay~ng m choir--the community orchestra. musicians. Last season the them, and some are bemg East York Symphony conduct~d by OTP I hooked up with Doug Orchestra and the Royal conductmg gr~duates. John Sanford, conductor of the Conservatory jointly offered Bar!lum mentwned Marco East York Symphony scholarships to string students Pansotto, conductor of the O.rchestra and a member of who played in the EYSO. Oshawa-Durham Symphony the board of directors of , This year the funds are not and Claude Lapalme ' . Orchestras Ontario, at an available for a scholarship conductor of the orc~estras m EYSO rehearsal in the programme so that particular Red Deer and Lethbndge, gymnasium of Valley Park arrangement is no longer in Alberta. Middle School in Thorncliffe place. SUBSTANTIAL FARE Park. The EYSO, with a While this is regrettable, it There has been, Doug told complement of around 90 is also true that the me, over the past fifteen or so active performers is now in opportunity still exists for years a significant · its 45th year of continuous these students t. o play without imp!ovement in the quality of existence--an enviable record. THE BALANCE Every community orchestra, Doug told me, has to balance two main. functions: one, to provide an opportunity for amateur musicians to play in an orchestra; two, to provide concerts for the community. There is considerable variation in the emphasis different orchestras place on each of these goals, but community orchestras ignore one or the other at their peril! If an orchestra emphasizes high performance values then its membership policies may exclude amateurs who would like to play but are simply not up to the standard. On the other hand, if performance standards fall, then the Ontario Arts Council, which sends juries to concerts, may withdraw its funding, as has occurred recently with at least one community orchestra in the GTA. (Given that it can cost about 00 per member to run one of these orchestras and that membership fees are typically under 0, this can be a serious blow.) One of the first expenses to be jettisoned when the financial axe falls is the paid professional section leaders, which, of course, leads to a pay in the EYSO and community orchestras, which probably most local has resulted in their being community orchestras as well- able to tack!~ much more -an opportunity that would difficult repertoire than used pay dividends in terms of to be possible. One of the giving them a head start if best performances his East and when they embark on York Orchestra has given careers as professional recently was of Shostakovich's orchestral musicians. Seventh Symphony, a So some responsibility for substantial and difficult work. the adequate. use of A look at this month's community orchestras as a Pulselistings confirms that training ground must, his is not the only therefore, be assumed by community orchestra taking students themselves. on challenging repertoire. The OTP LOSS Scarborough Philharmonic is doing Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony, the North York Symphony is performing Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; the York Symphony Orchestra is playing Dvorak's 9th, and the Oakville Symphony is doing Dvorak's 8th. While on the subject of the training of orchestral musicians both Doug and John Barnum, conductor of the Mississauga Symphony talked about the now defunct Orchestral Training · Programme. Its loss,they told me, was a tremendous blow to music in this country. Participants in the programme played together seven or eight times a week under some of the best conductors in the world, and it provided a bridge between music school and the professional world. Now many vacancies in Canadian . orchestras are being filled by musicians from the United States who have more opportunities for that kind of advanced training in their None of these has the difficulty of the Shostakovich, but each program is built around at least one complete symphonic work thst is part of the professional symphony standard repertoire INTIMACY There is something special, as Doug pointed out, in hearing symphonic works of this calibre in the community orchestra context. "This is orchestral music as it was THE LIST Orchestras Ontario, formerly the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, which has been the umbrella support and lobby organization for all symphony orchestras in the province, has provided us with the following list of all its member organizations in · the GTA. A phone call to any should yield a season brochure; Or simply keep aneye on Pulse for news of when your local commmunity orchestra is performing. And if you are a student looking for performance opportunities, one of your greatest resources may be right there in your own back yard. ·COMMUNITY ORCHESTRAS IN THE GT A, NOVEMBER 1996 Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra (Scarborough). 905-509-5857 Counterpoint Orchestra (Toronto). 926-9806 East York Symphony Orchestra, 467-7142 Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, 239-5665 Hart House Orchestra (Toronto). 978-5362 Korean-Canadian Symphony Orchestra (Toronto). 229-4271 · Mississauga Symphony, 905-274-1571 North York Concert Orchestra, 493-4372 North York Symphony, 499-2204 Oakville Symphony Orchestra, 905-579-7984 Oshawa-Durham Symphony Orchestra~ 905- 579-6711 Scarborough Philharmonic, 261-0380 Toronto Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra, 513-7030 York Symphony Orchestra, 410-0860

November '96 •7• PULSE SEEKING PERFECT SouND 5: Inner city church re-emerges BY FRANK LOCKWOOD Nestled in a neighbourhood area just north of Bloor in the west end, is one of Toronto's hidden treasures. An inner city church that has passed through a long period of decline and neglect, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Cyprian is coming back to life by providing a centre for fine art, drama and music. Completed in 1913, when the surrounding area was mostly orchards and farmland, the church was built to accommodate the growing congregation of St. Mary's Church on Delaware. Later, they were joined by the congregation of St. Cyprian's in the 1940. With an attractive nave of brick and wood beams, the hall's moderate size (seating just over 400) and complex shape provide a warm and short reverberation character that will not obscure either music or speech. Music has always been an important part of the Anglican service, and St. Mary's has a long history of musical performance. The organ was originally installed in the old church of St. Paul's, Bloor Street and was purchased by St. Mary's in 1914. After many years of use and a few upgrades, it was completely rebuilt by David Legge in 1966. This instrument has provided accompaniment to regular church services .and to special events such as the annual carol service at Christmas and the Christmas and Easter Pageants. There is a tradition of presenting secular dramas and , musicals here, and over the years, productions such as Gilbert and Sullivan's "Trial by Jury';, and T.S. Eliot's ' "Murder in the Cathedral" have been staged. The Famous People Players found their first home here in 1975. More recently, the church has been used as a setting for scenes in the film"Stanley and Iris" and in the television series "Friday the 13th". As is often the case with an inner city church, the congregation has been dwindling for some years, but the building's administration is seeking rejuvenation by opening it up as an arts centre November 8th and December 6th. In addition, St. Mary's will be presenting a Gala evening to celebrate the rebirth of the Church I Arts Centre, on Friday November 29th with a program that will include the Ensemble Unterwegs and the John Sherwood Jazz Trio. The church is located at 40 Westinoreland, halfway between the Dufferin and Ossington subway stations, about a half block north of · Bloor. Ample parking is available at two nearby City of Toronto parking lots. Unfortunately, the church has no access for the handicapped. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Cyprian shows how a community can rebuild and find new life through active support for the Arts. Interested readers can find previous instalments of Seeking Perftct Sound {11 http:/ -jll. and concert venue. They have ~---'-----------., met with some success in this Quality Audio Recording for endeavour, as various dramatic Classical and Acoustic Music and arts groups are now calling St. Mary's home. Current tenants provide everything from acting and musical instruction to yoga classes. Of note is the Ensemble Unterwegs chamber orchestra, under the baton of Dexter Roberts, which will be presenting concerts on 14161 769-2204 httpJ/www. I/ We buy tfil/1 of your &IJ~~n&tiil [b[JJs (vinyl !) (like Beethoven, Mozart, Stockhausen) We travel anywhere for good collection MIKROKOSMOS Mail Order Company • (416) - 224 - 1956 Fax ( 416) - 224 - 2964 Ask our free, monthly set-sale catalogue: . More than 8JP(l)(f](]J ~ !1!AB [fJ W®0 every month Many audiophile Decca & EM/ records (Sorry, mail or phone order only!) ~~ tlie sound post 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

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