8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2014

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • August
  • Festival
  • Quartet
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Sept
  • Theatre
  • Arts


ALICE IRENE, TEIYA KASAHARABeat by Beat | BandstandBand Forays,Past & AheadNadia Chana (left) and Larissa Koniuk on tour with The Bicycle Opera Projectwith Narmina Afadiyeva as pianist and music director. And last isa rare chance to see Samuel Barber’s opera Vanessa (1958) playingon August 2, 6, 8 and 10 with Raisa Nakhmanovich as pianist andmusic director. The operas are performed by singers who have joinedSOLT to hone their skills and develop their careers. This year’s stellarfaculty includes Derek Bate, Kevin Mallon, Marshall Pynkoski, WayneGooding, Kathy Domoney, Henry Ingram, Stuart Hamilton, CatherineRobbin, Diane Loeb and Guillermo Silva-Marin.Farther afield in Haliburton there are performances of theHighlands Opera Studio run by Richard Margison and Valerie Kuinka.On August 13 and 15 HOS presents a double bill of two comic rarities,Donizetti’s Rita (1841) and William Walton’s The Bear (1967). OnAugust 22, 24, 26 and 28 it presents Puccini’s Tosca. One reason Ritais obscure is that the Opéra Comique for whom he wrote it rejectedit and plans for performances in Naples fell through. Rita finallyreceived its posthumous premiere in 1860, ironically at the OpéraComique. It was only in 2009 that a new critical edition of the scorewas published.This summer marks the third anniversary of the innovative BicycleOpera Project that aims to bring contemporary Canadian opera tocommunities across Ontario that might otherwise not have the opportunityto hear it. According to its website, “The project focuses onoperatic repertoire that deals with contemporary issues relevant toall audiences.” The singers and musicians travel from place to placeby bicycle along with two trailers full of props, costumes and instruments.In so doing BOP aims to demythologize old ideas of what operaand what opera singers are like.Their itinerary for this summer includes a stop on June 15 at theOpen Ears Festival in Kitchener; July 12 and 13 at the Westben ArtsFestival; July 25 to 27 at Stratford Summer Music; August 7 and 8 at theToronto Summer Music Festival; and stops in between in Kingston,Prince Edward County, Belleville, Hamilton, Bayfield, London,Brantford, Waterloo and Guelph.BOP’s 2014 repertory features short operas A little rain must fall byChris Thornborrow, Bianchi: A Five Minute Bicycle Opera by TobinStokes written especially for the company, (What rhymes with)Azimuth? by Ivan Barbotin and Rosa by James Rolfe as well as operaexcerpts from The Brothers Grimm by Dean Burry, Airline Icarus byBrian Current (see above) and L’Homme et le ciel by Adam Scime.The company includes Liza Balkan, stage director; Wesley Shen,music director; Geoffrey Sirett, baritone; Chris Enns, tenor; StephanieTritchew, mezzo; and Larissa Koniuk, Artistic Director and soprano.Have an enjoyable summer!Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera andtheatre. He can be contacted at additional summer operatic riches, south of the border, seeBruce Surtees’ “Through the Glimmerglass” on page 84JACK MACQUARRIEAs most readers will have observed by now,summer has finally arrived. I’m torn betweenduty and the desire for pleasure. The editor tellsme that my deadline was yesterday, but my braintells me that the vista of a cloudless sky hasmore appeal than the computer screen in frontof me. However, it is time to reflect on a fewof the musical happenings of the past month.For many in the band world it has been springconcert season, time to display to their audiencesthe fruits of their musical labours overthe past dreary months. This year, for me it hasbeen more as an audience member than as aband member.The first of my visiting forays took me toOshawa and a concert by the Clarington ConcertBand and their guests, the County Town Singers.After an absence of a few years, this band isonce again in the capable hands of Mr. BarrieHodgins as director. The feature of the eveningwas a performance of a work composed andconducted by renowned Canadian composerHoward Cable. As an introduction to this work, Howard explainedto the audience how he came to write it. During a visit to Alberta, hehad been challenged by a rancher about many of his works with an“Eastern Canada” theme. Too much about Quebec, Newfoundlandand other aspects of the East. Where were his compositions aboutthe ranches and other features of the West? The result was McIntyreRanch Country. For our pleasure it was conducted by the composerhimself. As for other Canadian content, the band played an excellentarrangement by Eddie Graf of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, andthe County Town Singers gave us Lydia Adams’ arrangement of WeRise Again.My next outing couldn’t have been more different. After a visit toa rehearsal of The East York Concert Band, I attended their Springconcert. What a contrast to any other band concert that I have everattended. The concert was in the large, beautifully appointed hall ofSaint Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto.When we arrived there were already a large number of people seatedat tables at the rear of the hall enjoying food and drink prior to theconcert. We sat near the front in a section without tables. Apparently,as part of the cooperation between the band and the cathedral, theladies’ auxiliary of the cathedral do the catering for a broad spectrumof delicacies for the audience to enjoy with the music. In caseyou were wondering, there was a wide selection of drinks availablewith the food. Yes, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages werebeing served and consumed in a church on Sunday. It certainly didnot detract in any way from the imaginative program, titled “OnceUpon a Tune.”The atmosphere of the evening reminded me very much of cabaretstyleconcerts offered many years ago by the York Regional Symphonyunder the direction of the late Clifford Poole. These, billed as “Wineand Cheese Concerts,” were performed in several small communitiesthroughout the York Region. Admission for a couple included a bottleof wine. There were cheese and crackers on each table. At each largeround table, two seats were to be left vacant. There were a numberof intermissions where orchestra members would go into the audienceand occupy these empty chairs. The inevitable “what instrumentdo you play” was frequently followed by such comments as “what32 | June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014

does it look like.” After each intermission these audience memberswould locate the instruments in the orchestra, and be more awareof the role each played. It was a great way to get the audience andplayers involved.New Horizons: During the past month I had the opportunity tolearn more of New Horizons’ activities in this part of the country. Firstit was off to Peterborough to experience a day in their lives. What aday, even as an observer without playing a note, it was almost nonstop.In the morning there were two large distinct bands preparingfor concerts in two parts of the building. After an hour lunch break itwas back observing two different, more senior, groups in rehearsal.Devon Wilkins and herguide dog VestorEvery once in a while, someone would getup from a seat in the band and move to theother room, pick up a baton and conductthat other band. All of this was in preparationfor their final concert on May 30.My hat, which I rarely wear, must go offto Dan Kapp of the Toronto group for hisenergy and commitment. From that beginningsingle small group, he has guided theorganization, taught and conducted to thepresent situation with 160 members inseven band classes. He is looking forwardto the next group of prospective memberswith this year’s “Instrument ExplorationWorkshop” scheduled for the evening ofFriday, September 12.One of the most impressive aspectsof both of these New Horizons groupsthat I visited was the open door inclusionof many who would never ordinarilyhave the opportunity to play music ina group. Canes, walkers and wheelchairsare a common sight. Two people in particular are worthy of specialmention. Randal Pilson of the Toronto band and Devon Wilkins inPeterborough are totally blind. Of all of the instruments that he mighthave chosen, Randal plays the bass trombone, while Devon playsflute. In Devon’s case, her guide dog, Vestor, lies quietly by her sidethroughout the performance. Devon also serves on the board of theband. When you see that in a musical group, you know that there iscomplete inclusion and acceptance.Just down the road: Then there is the NABBSS. The North AmericanBrass Band Summer School is a new venture jointly supported by theRoyal Nova Scotia Tattoo Society and the Buffet Group. The summerschool is based on well-established models in Britain. Participants willreceive tuition from a team of Buffet soloists on the traditional Britishall-brass band style, and will explore some of the newest brass bandrepertoire in a series of workshops and rehearsals. Although participantswill not be doing any marching, they will be dressed in uniformand perform on the tattoo stage together with the massed bands. Forthose not familiar with it, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoohas been an annual event in Halifax for 35 years and is billed as the“World’s Largest Annual Indoor Show.”The camp will be under the direction of noted conductor Dr. RobertChilds, supported by a group of clinicians on all of the instruments ofa traditional brass band. Among the instructors will be euphoniumsoloist David Childs, son of Dr. Childs, who was the featured soloistwith the Hannaford Street Silver band a couple of years ago. It alltakes place in Halifax from June 28 to July 8. Our household isalready signed up and plans are well developed to get ourselves andour instruments ready for what promises to be an interesting newapproach to our music making.Looking ahead: Toronto is to have a new community band. To belocated in the west end of the city, the Toronto Concert Band willrehearse Tuesday evenings in John G. Althouse Middle School, startingin September. With its tag line, “We Love to Play,” the Toronto ConcertBand’s stated mission is “to create a positive and supportive environmentin which to cultivate musicianship.” In short, TCB promises anenriched musical experience for its members. Everyone is welcome tojoin, including amateur community players, post-secondary studentsand professionals who want to play in the community. The foundingconductors are Ken Hazlett and Les Dobbin, both with long careers inmusic education. For more information visit their Fuller: It is with sadness and a sense of loss that we announcethe passing of Steve Fuller, another longtime member of the bandcommunity in Toronto. A retired high school biology teacher, Steve’slife was focused around music. After open heart surgery some yearsago, he worked hard at recovery and began active playing again. Then,about a year ago, he was back in hospital for some weeks. Shortlyafter his release, I was speaking with him and he was back playingand talking about reactivating his beloved saxophone quartet. I hadn’theard from him for a while and was going to call when I received thenews of his passing.DEFINITION DEPARTMENTThis month’s lesser known musical term is: col legno: An indicationto cellists to hold on tight with their lower extremities. We invitesubmissions from readers. Let’s hear your daffynitions.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments andhas performed in many community ensembles. He canbe contacted at INSIDERSTuesday-Friday at 2pm, Edward Johnson Building,University of TorontoDaily access to behind-the-scenes Festival events includingcasual interviews with the artists, guest lectures, andmasterclasses. Tickets to at the door.THEJuly 22 –August 12AGESHUFFLE CONCERTSWednesday-Friday at 5:00pm, Heliconian HallInformal, eclectic sampler performances by festival artists,special guests and next-generation emerging artists.Pay What You CanFREE LUNCHTIME CONCERTSJuly 25, 31, August 1, 7 at 12:00pm, Heliconian HallDon’t miss these popular concerts featuring our giftedTSM Academy Fellows and guest artists! June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 | 33

Copied successfully!

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)