7 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 7 - April 2014

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Choir
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Ossington
  • Bloor

From the late 1800s

From the late 1800s there was music regularly in the Vieux Quartier… parades, street musicians, jazz bands on the backs of trucks andwagons. The tradition has survived and New Orleans, of course, isunique among cities in North America. Certainly in Toronto thereis music of a kind, usually percussion every day at Dundas Square,but it can’t compare to the street music heard in the Crescent City.There used to be a healthy number of concerts in Toronto, co-sponsoredby the city and the Toronto Musicians’ Association Trust Fund,but the fund ran short of money and our world-class city could notcome up with the relatively small amount of support which in thepast had given us concerts in parks and other city locations. So accessto free concerts, be it jazz or a string quartet remains something tobe desired.There is another way of bringing jazz to a wide audience that hasbeen lost and that is exposure in the mass media. The Globe and Mailand Toronto Star used to have regular articles on jazz by respectedwriters like Geoff Chapman and authors Mark Miller and Jack Batten.Now? Apart from the occasional obit it is easier to find a needle in ahaystack than a jazz article in one of our dailies.It’s a situation which underscores the need for and importanceof publications like The WholeNote which every month provides awealth of of information – articles on, and listings of, what is going onin the local world of jazz and classical music. Yes, there is the internetwith lots of blogs, some of them excellent, and promotional info, butthe fact remains that jazz is poorer than the proverbial church mousewhen it comes to recognition by the mass media.Some years ago when jazz in Toronto was on a high I heard usdescribed as the New Orleans of the North. I’m afraid that we havegone West.Closing food for thought: The music critic Henry Pleasants wrote:“Jazz may be thought of as a current that bubbled forth from aspring in the slums of New Orleans to become the mainstream of the20th century.”Enjoy the music you hear and try to hear some of it live.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and former artisticdirector of Toronto Downtown Jazz. He can be contacted Philip’s Anglican Church Sunday, March 30, 4pm | Jazz VespersColleen Allen Trio Sunday, April 13, 4pm | Jazz VespersJaymz Bee Birthday with Don Francks +Tony Quarrington, Dave Young, Steve Hunter Sunday, April 27, 4pm | Jazz VespersCarol McCartney QuartetSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • • free will offeringBeat by Beat | BandstandLess ThanSpringlike StillJACK MACQUARRIE“Beware the Ides of March,” quoth the soothsayer. We all knowwhat happened to Caesar when he ignored that warning. I didn’treally ignore that cautionary pronouncement, but was a bit cavalierwhen I ventured out on one of our less than springlike days justprior to the Ides of March and ended up in a thrilling battle to controla fishtailing car. Fortunately for all, the driver of a rapidly approachingvehicle chose to hit the ditch rather than hit my car. What has all ofthat to do with this month’s column? I began last month’s columnwith the plea “When will it end?” One month later, and officially intospring, it hasn’t ended. Winter is still here, but the music scene iswarming up.Clarinet Choir?: When I mentioned to my editor that I had thepleasure of attending a concert by the U of T Clarinet Ensemble andthe Wychwood Clarinet Choir at “Clarinet Day,” he asked about thepractice of using the term choir when referring to ensembles of likeinstruments. I embarked on a quest to determine how and when thepractice evolved. Wikipedia was no help. The Oxford Companion toMusic didn’t shed any light either. Nancy Nourse, whose Flute Streetgroup uses both choir and ensemble as terms, told me that the firstuse of that terminology, to her knowledge, was the clarinet choir atthe University of Illinois. If you have any knowledge of how this termcame to be so used, please tell us; my editor would really like to know.Plumbing Factory: As some readers may be aware, Dr. HenryMeredith’s Plumbing Factory Brass Band is one of my favourites. Thisis not just because it is a very good all brass band, but because “Dr.Hank,” as he is known to his friends, always comes up with verystimulating programs. Some months ago, in this column, I talkedabout themed programs and the pitfalls of establishing a theme andthen having to select some “less than desirable” music in order toadhere to the theme. Dr. Hank’s response? “My process is to pick greatmusic first and put it into a logical sequence for presentation. Then,the unifying concept solidifies in my imagination, suggesting additionalpieces which can then fill out the program. I don’t usually startwith a ‘theme’ in mind, but often major works or a mood or a generalidea formulates a theme.”For example, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is the centrepieceof their upcoming April 9 concert, so “A Little Night Music” seemed alogical choice for a “theme.” Other pieces by major composers serendipitouslyseemed to fit right in. These include Bach’s Arioso (as aserenade melody), Mendelssohn’s Nocturne, Karl King’s A Night inJune, and Meredith’s own cornet solo, Stars in a Velvety Sky.I certainly wish that I could attend that concert, but a prior commitmentand the prospect of six hours of driving to and from Londondissuaded me. The first thing that I did on reading the program was torush to my CD collection and play a recording of Karl King’s A Nightin June by The Great American Main Street Band.Medical misfortunes: In two completely disparate recent conversationsI learned of two talented brass musicians who have been forcedto stop playing for medical reasons. One was a case where an essentialmedication for a serious eye condition had a side effect of preventingthe player’s producing a tone on the instrument. The obvious choicewas to continue the treatment and cease playing. The other was avery different situation. The musician told me that his lips could nolonger produce a tone due to a neurological condition known as focaldystonia. Dystonia refers to involuntary muscle contractions, and focalrefers to the fact that the problem is localized in one part of the body.In this person’s case he is no longer able to control his lip musclesto produce a tone. In our conversation he mentioned several wellknownmusicians who developed this condition. One of the most32 | April 1 – May 7, 2014

HEIDI OSTNERThree of the Ayr-Paris Band’s clarinets and a piccolo during the 2014Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade held Sunday, March 16 in -17 degreeweather. This is the coldest Parade the band has done in many years.notable cases is that of renowned concert pianist Leon Fleisher. Inrecent years Fleisher did regain some use of his right hand throughbotox injections, but he acknowledges that it is limited. There is nosuch treatment for brass players. I can’t imagine how someone couldcope with the news that they could no longer continue their musicalcareer. In this person’s case, he is now considering the clarinet as hisinstrument.On the April horizon: First on my calendar is a return of the Bandof HMCS York on April 9 at 8pm to the Naval Club of Toronto. Thisis the fourth year in a row where the multi-talented members of theHMCS York band will showcase their various small ensembles. I can’tpromise novelties like last year’s duet for alto trombone and harpsichordor another didgeridoo solo. However, I can guarantee a stimulatingevening of music. The location is 1910 Gerrard St. E. and theprice is right. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.On the weekend of April 11 to 13 The Hannaford Street Silver Bandwill present their annual “Festival of Brass.” At time of writing I hadno details of this event, but a visit to their website should help.The Clarington Concert Band will present their Spring Concert onApril 26, 7pm at Trinity Pentecostal Church in Bowmanville. Also, onSunday, May 4 at 2pm the Markham Concert Band and the PickeringCommunity Concert Band will join forces to present “The FinalFrontier,” a musical interpretation of space featuring guest performerbagpiper Ian MacLellan. They don’t say whether or not they considerthe bagpipes as the last frontier of music. It all takes place at the FlatoMarkham Theatre.Blythwood Winds is a group I hadn’t heard of. It is a traditionalwind quintet which had its roots about four years ago with students atthe Glenn Gould School, although only two of the original membersremain. Sunday, April 13 at 7pm they will be at the Array Space, 155Walnut Avenue offering a broad selection from Leonard Bernstein’sCandide Overture arranged by their horn player Curtis VanderHayden to a new work Extensions by local composer, Elisha Denburg.Personally, I hope to be there to hear one of my favourites: DariusMilhaud’s La cheminée du roi René. For advance reservations phone416-999-6097.Last year the group of New Horizons bands in Toronto spread theirwings and formed a number of small ensembles. The finale of thatinitiative was an afternoon of short presentations by several of theseensembles. Another such afternoon of “Chamber Sweets” will beheld in the Assembly Hall at Lakeshore Road and Kipling Avenue onSunday, April 27 at 2:00 pm, with about 15 groups playing from thejazz and classics repertoire.Finally, down the road we have two large scale events to announcenow with details to follow: the annual York University CommunityBand Festival will take place Saturday May 3 from 1:00 to 9:00 pm;and from May 30 to June 1 the Canadian Band Association, OntarioChapter (CBAO) will host the Ontario EAST Community BandWeekend in Ottawa.Definition DepartmentThis month’s lesser known musical term is: Cadenza: Somethingthat happens when you forget what the composer wrote. We invitesubmissions from readers. Let’s hear your daffynitions.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments and hasperformed in many community ensembles. He can be contacted April 1 – May 7, 2014 | 33

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