8 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 7 - April 2012

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Chorus
  • Singers
  • Choir
  • Vocal
  • Musical

Beat by Beat / Art of

Beat by Beat / Art of SongVoices RaisedDAVID PERLMANIt’s a funny thing how an event can suddenly explode onto thescene with little or no prior buzz, emerging fully formed andready to rumble. A case in point: the first annual SING! a cappellavocal festival, set to debut April 13–15 at Harbourfront Centre,comes accoutred not just with the necessary headliners (like lastsummer’s abortive BlackCreek faux summer festival), but also witha fine array of local talent, and a very healthy mix of workshops,singalongs and other opportunities for the public to feel part of it all.Needless to say, the illusion that SING! sprang up out of nowhere isjust that — an illusion.“Informally, the festival has been a going concern since March2011,” says Aaron Jensen, SING!’s artistic director. “The idea wasfirst bounced around by myself and J-M Erlendson, the businessmanager of Countermeasure — a Toronto-based a cappella ensemblethat I direct. We then approached entertainment agent, Pat Silverand artist manager, Paul Ryan. Shortly thereafter, the HarbourfrontCentre came on as business partners, and bit by bit, we enlisted anall-star board of directors made up of some of Toronto’s top artsagents, marketing experts, sponsorship co-ordinators and innovators,including Robert Missen, Patti Jannetta Baker, the Hon. SarmiteBulte …” (Demonstrating at least one of the skill sets necessaryfor the helmsman of an enterprise like this, he goes on to namethem all.)Jensen has been an active member of the Toronto vocal communitysince moving to the city in 2001 (he was born in Prince Albert,Saskatchewan). “I’ve done so as a performer (Cadence, Retrocity,Countermeasure, The Amadeus Choir, WIBI, Dina Ledi), as acomposer (I was the composer-in-residence for Univox Choir from2007–2009, and have written commissioned choral works for TheSwingle Singers, Vox Humana, Windago, Serenade! WashingtonDC Choral Festival, etc.), and as a music educator and clinician(U of T, CAMMAC, and various arts schools through Prologue tothe Performing Arts.)”Why a cappella? “Arguably a cappella vocal music is the foundationof all music,” he says. “Every genre of music can be traced backto a vocal tradition. Also it doesn’t hurt that television programslike Glee and The Sing Off have popularized a cappella music for awhole new demographic. In the midst of this vocal renaissance, wefelt that the time is ripe to launch an a cappella festival, becausedespite this resurgence of interest in a cappella music, festivals areoften slow to include vocal groups in their series. This initiative willbe the first international a cappella vocal festival held in Toronto.”“Through my involvement in these circles, I have become acquaintedwith the abundance of vibrant and exciting singing groupsthat Toronto has to offer.With so much talent andvariety, it seemed a shamethat there was no platformthat celebrated this wealthof talent. It is our goal withSING! to host a large-scaleinternational a cappellafestival that will act as asummit for singers, educators,and all lovers of vocalmusic,and in doing so, tocultivate a growing audienceand body of patrons.”Beyond the headliners(Swingle Singers, Nylons,New York Voices) andoutstanding supportingcast (Cadence, Darbazi,Cantores Celestes, Iselers,Toronto Chamber Choir), itis the festival’s extensiveoutreach that fires Jensen’sevident enthusiasm forSING!’s Aaron Jensen.the job.“Educational Outreach is a cornerstone. In addition to the Fridayschool outreach event, we’ve also programmed eleven masterclassesgeared toward singers of all ages and skill levels, led by top vocaleducators such as the Swingle Singers, Heather Bambrick andOrville Heyn. We have launched a YouTube Contest that will givegroups the opportunity to open for the Nylons, and whose prizingincludes a guaranteed showcase opportunity in Canadian MusicWeek 2013. We’ve also planned a Mass Sing-Along which will beopen to everyone attending the festival.”And again he emphasizes that the time is right. “The fact that theToronto District School Board is opening two special interest vocalarts academies in the fall speaks to Toronto’s growing appetite forvocal music.”For more detail on the festival’s concert component see our GTAconcert listings, and for more on the festival’s extensive non-concertcomponent, our “ETCeteras” (commencing page 60).Serious Star Power: in terms of visiting star power on the vocalscene, April is turning out to be a stunner. Bobby McFerrin bringshis incomparable and indescribable vocal act to Roy Thomson Hall,April 16. Dawn Upshaw, whose interpretive gifts have made modernrepertoire not only accessible but beautiful to audiences worldwide,is at Koerner Hall, April 22, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.Friday April 20, Renée Fleming comes to Roy Thomson Hall withpianist Harmut Höll, in a very fresh program including works byZemlinsky, Schoenberg, Korngold, Duparc and others. And, intwo concerts added very recently to the calendar, on April 19 atthe Marham Theatre and April 20 at Trinity-St. Paul’s, MeashaTHE OPERA EXCHANGEA Wilde Time: Zemlinsky’s A Florentine TragedyLocal and international academics including Ted Chamberlin (UofT), SherryLee (UofT), and Christopher Hailey (Princeton), explore Zemlinsky’s ravishinglate-Romantic score and the literary connection with Oscar Wilde’s play. WayneGooding (editor, Opera Canada) hosts a candid discussion with the director ofthe COC’s new production, Catherine, APRIL 22, 201210 a.m. to 1 p.m.Walter Hall, Faculty of MusicUniversity of Toronto, 80 Queen’s ParkFREE UofT Faculty/StudentsPresented in partnership withFACULTY OF MUSICCreative: Endeavour18 April 1 – May 7, 2012

Bobby McFerrin, seen here giving a workshop on vocal improvisationat the Art of Jazz Brampton Global Jazz & Blues Festival last August.April 13 - 15, 2012TORONTO'S INAUGURAL A CAPPELLA FESTIVALConcerts, Workshops, Mass Sing-AlongTICKETS ON SALE NOW at www.tvaf.capHOTO SaxeBrueggergosman launches her I’ve Got A Crush On You CD.Brueggergosman’s new CD is not your standard opera diva repertoire.“I’ve looked for pieces that are an extension of myself,” sheexplains. And the extensions in this case include a hefty dose of jazzstandards (the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Errol Garner), some Lerner& Loewe, spirituals, some Feist, Joni Mitchell, Ron Sexsmith andmore. Supporting cast (on the album at least) includes Holly Coleperennial sidemen, Aaron Davis (who co-produced) and Rob Piltch,as well as bassist George Koller and Davide Direnzo on drums (toname just a few). Expect Brueggergosman, to paraphrase the wordsof one of the songs on the album, to “spread her wings and do athousand things (well, at least 14) she’s never done before.”On the topic of jazz vocalists, Nikki Yanofsky comes to MasseyApril 21, Lauren Margison is at the Bradshaw amphitheatre in a“New York state of mind” April 24, and Kellylee Evans is at theGlenn Gould Studio April 27. And there will be two opportunitiesto catch Adi Braun, jazz “offshoot” of a famous operatic family,swingle singersHOST HOTELSponsored by:Measha_WholeNote_col.v2:Layout 1 3/21/12 12:17 PM Page 1E. Paul Yanover, C.A.April 1 – May 7, 19

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