8 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 8 - May 2013

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • Jazz
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Festival
  • Vocal
Includes the 2013 Canary Pages choral directory.

Trumpeter “Wingy”

Trumpeter “Wingy” Manone, so called because he lost an arm in anaccident, played using one hand. Joe Venuti, the legendary violinistand prankster used to send Manone one cuff link every Christmas!Red Norvo the renowned vibes player went almost totally deaf butwas able to continue playing not hearing the notes but picking up thevibes — no pun intended.Then there was Arnett Cobb. The big-toned tenor player from Texaswas 30 years old when he had to have an operation on his spine. Herecovered and resumed touring but eight years later in 1956 his legswere crushed in a car accident and for the rest of his life he had to usecrutches when playing.One of the world’s greatest violinists, Itzhak Perlman, contractedpolio at the age of four but learned to walk using crutches and heplays violin while seated.Django Reinhardt was one of the greatest guitar players of all timeand after surviving an accident in a fire could only use the indexand middle fingers of his left hand on solos. Ludwig van Beethovenremains one of the best-known and greatest composers of all timeeven though in his mid-20s he lost his hearing, while Evelyn Glennie,an amazing Scottish percussionist despite the fact that she is deaf,performs barefoot, which enables her to “hear” her music by feelingthe vibrations.Completing the circle back to Austria, the No Problem Orchestra,an Austrian band comprised of musicians with physical and mentaldisabilities (mostly Down syndrome) was formed in 1985. It has sincegiven more than 5,000 concerts around the world.Anyway, what I’m getting at in this article is that one can overcomeall kinds of adversities with the power of music — and it helps to maintaina sense of humour.So here I am in station 3A of the Dermatological Unit, RudolfstiftungHospital, Vienna, and the staff have been quite wonderful in theway they have looked after me, but also telling me in no uncertainterms that they won’t discharge me until they are good and ready.Happy listening and stay out of hospital beds.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and formerartistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz.He can be contacted at Cobb.Beat by Beat | BandstandA Happy AccidentJ A C K M a c Q U A R R I EIt all started with a very nasty accident but with an outcomethat, as I witnessed, was anything but accidental, namely a wellcraftedconcert by a rarely heard form of musical ensemble. As forthe accident, it happened a few months ago. After one of their regularrehearsals, members of the Wychwood Clarinet Choir saw a womanriding her bicycle getting tangled with the streetcar tracks and beingthrown to the pavement. Immediately, those choir members spranginto action like a well-practised team. They rendered first aid and tookthe victim back to her home at the nearby Christie Gardens retirementresidence.Over the ensuing weeks, those choir members and the victim,Bruna Nota, remained in touch and developed a strong bond of friendship.As her recovery progressed, Nota suggested that it might beappropriate for the choir to perform a concert for the residents ofChristie Gardens. I had the pleasure of being a guest at that concert,my introduction to the work of the Wychwood Clarinet Choir, theirdirector, Michele Jacot and several excellent arrangements for theensemble, several by choir members.Jacot grew up in Toronto in a house where there was constantgood music. I asked her one of my usual questions: “Did you choosethe clarinet or did the clarinet choose you?” Apparently the clarinetchose her, when she began music studies at Oakwood Collegiate.After undergraduate studies in music performance at the Universityof Toronto and a master’s degree from Northwestern, she returned toToronto and embarked on a career of performing and private teaching.Now in its fourth season, the Wychwood Clarinet Choir was the brainchildof Jacot and a few of her adult clarinet students. It now numbers20 regular members including her former teacher at Oakwood.To acquaint audience members with the many diverse voices of thesix members of the clarinet family, a sextet consisting of one of eachinstrument performed a very clever arrangement of What Shall WeDo With a Drunken Sailor by choir member and former teacher, RoyGreaves. This was followed by one movement of a transcription of aMozart serenade for wind octet also arranged by Greaves.In the planning for this performance and their spring concert, thehunt for suitable arrangements led to another “happy accident.” Itturned out that choir member Katherine Carleton knew renownedCanadian composer Howard Cable. Might he have written or arrangedworks for such a group? Yes he had. He hadn’t seen them for quitesome time, but with a bit of digging, he provided two works. Thefirst was an original 1964 composition, Wind Song, which he wrotefor members of the Band of the North American Aerospace DefenseCommand (NORAD) in Colorado Springs. The other was an arrangementof “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” from the 1940 Rodgersand Hart Broadway musical Pal Joey. So Cable was there to guestconduct these two works, mentioning that he had not heard eitherwork in 50 years.As a surprise for Cable, two former choir members, Harry Musicarand Sydney Gangbar, were invited to this performance. They wereboth schoolmates of his at Toronto’s Parkdale Collegiate and playedwith him in the school orchestra under Leslie Bell (who later achievedprominence as conductor of the Leslie Bell singers). In so many waysthis concert really clicked for all concerned.If you have never heard a clarinet choir with its many voices, it’stime to do so. Wychwood will be performing their spring concertat 3:30pm, May 12 at the Church of St. Michael-and-all-Angels inToronto. While Cable has a prior commitment which will preclude hisattendance at that spring concert, a bond has been formed with thechoir. Rumour has it that he has already written a new work whichwill feature Jacot as soloist. We’ll be looking for him and that work attheir fall concert.Hannaford: April also saw the great Hannaford Street Silver Band’sannual three-day festival. The winner of this year’s Hannaford24 | May 1 – June 7, 2013

lori fox rossiWychwood Clarinet Choir.Youth Rising Stars Solo Competition was Jonathan Elliotson fromOrangeville who has just finished second year in the performanceprogram at U of T’s Faculty of Music. He played Jubliance by WilliamHimes on cornet from memory. Elliotson has been the end-chair solocornet in the Hannaford Youth Band this past season. The HannafordYouth final concert of the season will be May 11 at 2pm at the Churchof the Redeemer in Toronto. It will feature Andrew McCandless, principaltrumpet of the TSO as guest soloist.Speaking of Hannaford, at last year’s Hannaford Rising Starscompetition, Jacob Plachta, now in third year trombone performanceat U of T, won performing his own composition Sonata for Tromboneand Brass. At this year’s HSSB festival, the Youth Band premieredPlachta’s new work for brass band titled Celebration. Another YouthBand member, Adrian Ling, has written a three-movement worktitled Progressions for Brass Band, with one movement for each bandof the Youth Program: Junior, Community and Youth. These threemovements will be performed at their spring concert with the threebands set up in different locations in the church. Ling is a first-yearcomposition student at U of T and started with the Hannaford YouthProgram seven years ago. At the Junior Band’s Christmas concert,they performed a piece called Elf Factory composed by nine-year-oldpercussionist James Muir, about the elves complaining about workingfor “the man” who is of course Santa. It even has lyrics that are sung inthe middle by the band members. At the Community Band’s Februaryconcert, they performed a piece written by grade nine tuba playerBlaise Gratton called The Perfect Storm. This has lots of rhythm andpercussion with lots of notes for the tubas. Who thought that compositionwas only for the old fogeys?Ensemble time: It was gratifying this month to learn of a number ofconcerts by small ensembles. There is nothing like playing in a smallgroup to hone one’s timing, tuning, phrasing and sense of cohesionwith fellow musicians. This month, Western University professorHenry Meredith told me about a student concert set up to do just that,with pieces featuring students with like instruments, in ensembleswith such clever titles as the “Majestic Trumpets,” the “Trom-Bonus”and the “Horn-Utopia.” Meanwhile, members of the four TorontoNew Horizons bands organized an afternoon of “Chamber Sweets”where at least 17 small groups performed while audience membersindulged their sweet tooths on the assortment of goodies provided.On May 25 the Milton Concert Band will present “Maytoberfest.”That’s their version of Octoberfest in May, complete with a fullcourseGerman dinner and a special musical treat: the guest smallensemble will be the Alphorn Choir of the Ein Prosit German Band ofKalamazoo, Michigan.Kudos: Our hats are off to the Newmarket Citizens Band for theirperformance at the recent Music Alive festival. This is a non-competitiveadjudicated festival, and they were awarded the highest possiblePlatinum rating for their efforts. It takes lots of confidence to start offan adjudicated performance with a number like Amparito Roca toestablish your credentials.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments andhas performed in many community ensembles. He canbe contacted at’S PREMIERA CAPPELLA FESTIVALThursday - Sunday, May 9 - 12tickets at May 1 – June 7, 2013 | 25

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