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Volume 17 Issue 2 - October 2011

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Shifting GearsJACK

Shifting GearsJACK MACQUARRIEIn last month’s column I decided to get retrospective. Now it’stime to shift gears and look at the year ahead. For most communitymusical groups, their year begins sometime in September whenmost vacations are over and the kids are back in school rather thanat the beginning of the calendar year in January. For many groups,in addition to planning the musical content for the coming concertseason, the fall may also mean electing a new executive, recruitingvolunteers (conscripts) for the various non-musical chores and selectingmusic to add to and/or delete from the rehearsal folders. Andfor most groups it is also the time to welcome new members.TAKE THE PLUNGEWhat about you, dear reader? Are you actively involved in one ormore ensembles, or are you a faithful concert attendee who hasoften wondered what it might be like to play regularly in a musicalgroup? Perhaps you are a would be band member, but haven’t yetmustered up the courage to tackle a new challenge such as learningto play an instrument. Did a particular instrument attract yourattention in a school band, or did you attend, as I did, a school withno music program? If you already play an instrument, perhaps youmight like to try a different one.If you have never played an instrument, now is the time to start.Both the New Horizons programs and groups like Resa’s Pieces aregeared to such returnees and absolute beginners. Recent medicalresearch studies have demonstrated some very clear benefits to playinga musical instrument. Interpreting all of those strange musicalsymbols on a piece of paper and manipulating the intricacies of yourchosen instrument, in the company of like minded friends, keeps thebrain functioning at its highest level.FOOD FOR THOUGHTMany years ago the York Regional Symphony, conducted by the lateClifford Poole, performed a series of “Wine and Cheese Concerts”in smaller communities throughout York Region. These providedan excellent means for people to learn more about orchestral musicin an entertaining non-threatening way in their home community.The format was unlike any other concert series I have ever known.Audience members sat at large round tables which could accommodateten people. Admission included wine of your choice with cheeseand crackers on each table.Two chairs at each table remained vacant while the orchestra performed.Rather than having a single intermission, these concerts hadtwo or three breaks during which orchestra members would circulateand join audience members at their tables. During such breaks anaudience member might meet with a bassoonist and a cellist, learna bit about the instruments and then be more aware of their part inthe music after each break. I enjoyed playing in those concerts andmeeting the many people whose curiosity was aroused by them. Iknow of no such concerts now, but if you are involved in a band it’sa format worth considering.BEST LAID PLANSMy personal gear-shifting resolution for this season was the same asin past years. I vowed to take on fewer concert band performances atoutdoor venues on tuba or euphonium. To take up the “slack” in mymusical activity I planned to get reacquainted with my trombone andthe music of the big swing bands. Traditionally, these groups takean annual summer break. In both the concert band format and thesmaller groups the shift would mean the opportunity to renew longstanding friendships and perhaps meet a few new like minded souls.Those were my plans, and I will still pursue them. However, anew venture suddenly loomed on my horizon. A re-enactment ofa long past musical event suddenly took over and I found myself ahundred years in the past. The little hamlet of Goodwood, whereI reside, is located in the Township of Uxbridge where there is anamazingly active and diverse arts community. Now, this year’s threeweek long annual “Celebration of the Arts” added one new musicalcomponent. It just so happens that the Uxbridge Music Hall is celebratingits 110th anniversary. What better way to celebrate such anevent than to recreate as closely as possible the program performedon stage there in 1901? Local publisher, editor and sometimeimpresario, Conrad Boyce, dug through the archives of the localmuseum and obtained a copy of the program for that event. My gearshifting was put on hold!The musical part of the program deviated only slightly fromthe original in that there was a band and choir, whereas the 1901performance included an orchestra, band and choir. It included suchchestnuts as Rossini’s Overture to Tancredi, Mascagni’s Intermezzofrom Cavalleria Rusticana and The Anvil Chorus from Verdi’sIl Trovatore. (For this number, local choral conductor Joan Andrewsperformed as guest anvilist.)COSTA AND BUCALOSSI?The interesting numbers in the Uxbridge program, for me, wereworks by Costa and Bucalossi, two composers that I had never heardof. The Oxford Companion to Music was little help, but GrovesDictionary of Music and Musicians and the MacMillan Encyclopediaof Music shed some light on them. Michaele Agniello Costa, sonof a Spanish church composer, was born in Italy and settled forlife in England. He wrote numerous operatic and ballet works andwas much in demand as a conductor. He conducted the LondonPhilharmonic, the orchestra at Covent Garden and, from 1848 to1882, the Birmingham Festival. His second oratorio Naaman waswritten for the Birmingham Festival in 1864; With Sheathed Swordsfrom Naaman was performed. He was knighted in 1869 and in 1871“Sir Michael” was appointed “director of the music, composer andconductor” at Her Majesty’s Opera.The life of Ernesto Bucalossi is not as well documented. Theonly information I could obtain about him was that he was anItalian composer who also settled in England until his death in1933. He was, for a time, conductor of the famous D’Oyly CarteOpera Company. He is described as a “writer of popular dance anddescriptive orchestral music such as La Gitana Waltz and HuntingScene.” It was in that latter composition where we had the mostfun. After a slow, somewhat sombre introduction, followed by a fewcall and answer trumpet sounds, members of the band and chorusjoin voices to sing “A hunting we will go, A hunting we will go,” etc.Then after several bars of a frantic gallop, the music has two barsrest with the note “Bark: Arf Arf.”At the final rehearsal, producer Boyce was accompanied by hisalmost constant canine companion, Lacey. It was suggested thatLacey could provide much more realistic barks than the bandmembers. With suitable prompting she did in fact deliver beautifulsonorous barks. However, it was decided that if she were on stage inperformance she might be excited and bark at inappropriate times.We were left to provide the barks ourselves.22 thewholenote.comOctober 1 – November 7, 2011

REMEMBERING ROLAND G. WHITEIt is with a heavy heart that I report thepassing of Roland G. (Roly) White, formerDirector of Music of the Concert Band ofCobourg. Roly served for many years in theRoyal Marines Band Service in Britain, firstas a musician and later as a conductor. Onleaving the Marines in the late 1960s hemoved to Canada and settled in Cobourg. Hesoon learned that, for many years, there hadbeen a town band in Cobourg. Latterly knownas the Cobourg Kiltie Band, the group haddisbanded for lack of interest shortly beforeRoly’s arrival in town.Roly soon took the initiative, and underhis direction the band was revived in 1970under the name the Concert Band of Cobourg.Drawing on his extensive experience hebegan moulding the band in the style of RoyalMarines bands. In 1975, the band acceptedthe invitation to represent the Royal MarinesAssociation of Ontario and donned thedistinctive white pith helmets and red tunicsof the Royal Marines for parades and tattoos.With the approval of the Town of Cobourgand the Royal Marines School of Music inthe U.K., the band was honoured to add thedistinction of The Band of Her Majesty’sRoyal Marines Association, Ontario, to itsname. Roland G. White retired in 2000 withthe title director of music emeritus, after 30years of dedicated service.Of my many chats with him over the years,one story remains fresh in my memory. Rolyconducted with his left hand. While working under Sir Vivian Dunn,then the senior band officer in the Royal Marines, he was chastisedby Dunn and advised to switch to conducting right handed. Rolycomplied. Shortly after, when enrolled in his bandmaster’s course,his professor commented on his awkward conducting style. Rolyexplained that he was really left handed. His professor, Sir JohnBarbirolli, said “I conduct left handed.” Roly switched. On hisRoland G. Whitereturn from this course, Dunn immediatelynoticed and commented on his change backto his left hand. Roly’s reply: “Sir Johnconducts left handed”. End of discussion;he never conducted right handed again.A memorial service was held, Saturday,September 3, in Cobourg.A Special EventToo late to make it into the listingssection, here’s an event worth noting: TheOshawa United Services RemembranceCommittee will be presenting a “Festival ofRemembrance” on Friday 28 October at 7pmat the Regent Theatre, 50 King Street Eastin Oshawa. The programme will feature theOshawa Civic Band, the band of HMCS York,the Pipes and Drums of Branch 43 RoyalCanadian Legion, the Durham Girls’ Choirand guest soloists. Honourary Colonel (Retd.)Dave Duvall C.D. (formerly CTV weatherman) will act as master of ceremonies.Tickets are available from the theatre ticketoffice 905-721-3399 Ex. 2. All proceeds aredestined for the “Poppy Appeal Fund”.DEFINITION DEPARTMENTThis month’s lesser known musical termis Schmalzando: a sudden burst of musicfrom the Guy Lombardo Band. We invitesubmissions from readers.COMING EVENTS• October 23 2:00pm: Markham Concert Bandkicks off its theatre concert season with“October Pops,” an introduction to the world of light concert bandmusic. Markham Theatre, 171 Town Centre Blvd., in Markham.Please see the listings section for other concerts.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments andhas performed in many community ensembles. He canbe contacted at bandstand@thewholenote.com.October 1 – November 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 23

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