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Volume 20 Issue 3 - November 2014

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  • November
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Beat by Beat |

Beat by Beat | BandstandCHARLES PETERSON/LIFE MAGAZINELeft to right: Publicist Ernie Anderson, Pee Wee Russell (clarinet), DaveBowman (scotch), Brad Gowans and trumpeter Lips Page (off right).clarinet sound of them all, Jimmie Noone with one of the most liquidsounds of anybody on the instrument and Irving Fazola, born HenryPrestopnik. He got the nickname Fazola from his childhood skill atSolfege (“Fa-Sol-La”). And of course the somewhat eccentric – insound as well as his approach to the music – Pee Wee Russell, whomyou either love or hate. All I can say is that if Pee Wee’s music escapesyou then you are truly missing out.Less well known is that he was also an abstract painter. The storygoes that one day his wife Mary came home with a bunch of paintingsupplies and told Pee Wee to try them out. The cover of one of his LPsfeatures a painting by him. I used to have it but somebody borrowed itand I never saw it again!I didn’t meet him until late in his life. I was playing on a jazz gig atthe King Edward Hotel and we finished at 1am, but on weekends atGeorge’s where Pee Wee was fighting a really inappropriate back-uptrio, the music went until 2am. So off I went and as I reached theclub he was ending a set with a lovely old song called “I’d Climb TheHighest Mountain.” When he came off I told him how much I enjoyedthat song and he told me it was one of Bix’s favourites. Anyway whenhe went on for the next set he played it again and I was innocent andvain enough to think it was perhaps for me.Speaking of eccentrics there was a New Orleans clarinet playercalled Joseph “Cornbread” Thomas who took his false teeth outbefore playing!Groups of clarinets playing together, or clarinet choirs, are notuncommon, although some cynics refer to them as sounding like afire in a pet shop!Back to Pee Wee – he had a long sort of sad face – a bit like amournful bloodhound, but without the bark. We spent an afternoontogether in his hotel room but he did not seem like a happy man. Thedeath of his wife really affected him and I believe that a large part ofhim died with her. I remember he sat there in his underwear drinkingstraight gin – a sad figure, especially when I think of the pleasure hismusic gave to so many people. There will never be another like him.Happy listening and try to make 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 ChurchSunday, November 2, 4:00 PM | Mariachi VespersJorge Lopez & Mexico Amigo BandSunday, November 9, 4:00 PM | Jazz VespersMake Love Songs Not WarDiana Panton Trio (with Reg Schwager & Don Thompson)Sunday, November 30, 4:00 PM | Jazz VespersChris Donnelly TrioSt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • • free will offeringThe CBA inNewmarketJACK MACQUARRIEAs I sit down to write this, summer has past, Halloween is almosthere and I have already heard bands rehearsing Christmasmusic. So what has been happening in recent weeks? For methe major event was the Community Band Weekend.In recent years the Canadian Band Association (Ontario) has heldthese events in a number of communities in Ontario. This fall’sCommunity Band Weekend, billed as “A Musical Celebration ofCommunity Bands,” was hosted by the Newmarket Citizens’ Band.After a meet-and-greet event at a local pub on Friday evening, it wasall music Saturday and Sunday.Throughout the day, Saturday, the massed band rehearsed under thedirection of nine conductors from across the province. After a smallpractice session on Sunday morning the assembled musicians andconductors performed a varied concert to an appreciative audiencein the excellent Newmarket Theatre. The program lists no fewer than79 participants from 25 bands. There were even some from Potsdam,New York. As for local support, there were almost 40 members of theNewmarket Band participating. How often are you going to hear aconcert band with four bassoons?Repertoire ranged from works by Czech composer Julius Fučík(circa 1890) to contemporary Canadian composers including BillThomas and Howard Cable. Of special note was Soliloquy for BandOp. 40a conducted by the composer Louie Madrid Calleja. Calleja,who came to Canada from the Philippines, holds a master’s degreefrom York University. His works have been performed by suchartists as singer Measha Brueggergosman and the Volga Band inSaratov, Russia.Normally, in a column such as this, the paper program wouldwarrant little or no attention. The program for this event was a notableexception. The full-colour front cover, with the title “Under theTrading Tree” depicts the Newmarket Citizens’ Band assembled undera large elm tree in 1883. It is an artist’s rendition of an actual sculpturein the main entrance of the Newmarket town offices. The tree wasreferred to as the “trading tree.” It is believed that the original inhabitantsof the area, the Huron Wapiti, used the location of the tree toconduct commerce with the European settlers.Flute Street: Over the past few years there has been quite a spreadin the range of musical activities and offerings of community instrumentalgroups. In September I had the pleasure of attending aconcert by an all-flute ensemble called Flute Street. This 15-membergroup performed on just about all of the members of the flute familyincluding one that I had never seen before. I had seen alto flutes andbass flutes before, but it was my first chance to see and hear NancyNourse perform on her contrabass flute. This instrument, whichstands on the floor, was just slightly taller than the performer. I believethat it is the only such instrument in Toronto. The featured performerof the evening, from France, was Jean-Louis Beaumadier. Billed as“The Paganini of the Piccolo,” this man, with his pianist Jordi Torrent,dazzled the audience in their duets and in works with the FluteStreet ensemble.Clarington: In a totally different departure from concert bandnormality, October 25 saw the Clarington Concert Band present anevening of violin and flute music. The music of Beethoven and CésarFranck was performed by American violin virtuoso, Andrew Sords,and Canadian piano accompanist, Cheryl Duvall. Delaware nativeSords is a concert violinist who has already appeared as soloist withmore than 100 orchestras and has performed on noted recital seriesacross the U.S. and internationally. Canadian-born Duvall was raisedin Durham, is active as a soloist, as a collaborative pianist in the36 | November 1 - December 7, 2014

Toronto Concert BandKitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society concert series and isthe accompanist for the Oakville Children’s Choir. Also performingon the program were the Wildwind Flute Choir under the directionof local performer and educator, Lynda Shewchuk. In other wordsit was a musical evening that we normally would not expect from acommunity band.Strike up the band! Last month I mentioned that a new communityband was expected to begin rehearsals soon in Toronto’s west end.It has happened, and has surpassed all of the organizers’ optimisticexpectations. The inaugural rehearsal of the new Toronto ConcertBand was a resounding success. On September 9 nearly 50 adult musiciansgathered in the music room at John G. Althouse Middle Schoolto become founding members of this new ensemble. Musical directorsKen Hazlett and Les Dobbin were thrilled not only with the turnoutat the first rehearsal, but also with the initial sounds emanating fromthis fledgling group. Over the years Hazlett and Dobbin have earnedtop reputations and long tenures leading the Etobicoke Youth Band.Many of those attracted to the new Toronto Concert Band are youthband alumni. In addition, an impressive range of community musiciansof all ages have been attracted by the ensemble’s stated mission,“to create a positive and supportive environment in which to cultivatemusicianship.” Their repertoire promises to be varied and of topnotchquality, as evidenced by the initial rehearsal material. While onemight not be surprised to encounter a Beatles medley, some Simonand Garfunkel music or Scarborough Fair, throwing in the VaughanWilliams’ Folk Song Suite and Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque for thefirst rehearsal might be a bit of a challenge. Now a few weeks old, theToronto Concert Band boasts a 60-member roster. New members aremost welcome, especially bassoon and trombone players. For moreinformation, visit from Wychwood: The Wychwood Clarinet Choir begins itsnew season with a program entitled “Wind Song,” featuring specialguest conductor Howard Cable. In addition to two original pieces byCable, written for the choir, the program will include an arrangementof Elgar’s Nimrod, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro Overture, andGounod’s Funeral March of a Marionette arranged by choir memberRoy Greaves. This all happens, with artistic director and clarinetsoloist Michele Jacot, Sunday, November 16 at 3:30pm, at the Churchof St. Michael and All Angels.Silverthorn: Too late for the listings, on Saturday, November 22,at 7:30pm Silverthorn Symphonic Winds begin their season with“Autumn Rhapsody,” a program of wind ensemble repertoire celebratingthe many colours of fall. Highlights include pieces by twolegendary bandsman, Alfred Reed’s Alleluia! Laudamus Te and,again, from the pen of Toronto’s own acclaimed composer, arrangerand director, Howard Cable, Scottish Rhapsody . For somethingcompletely different, the ensemble sings and plays Jay Chattaway’senergetic and exciting Mazama. The concert takes place atYorkminster Citadel, 1 Lord Seaton Rd., Toronto.Plumbing Factory: The first concert of the season by London’sPlumbing Factory Brass Band, Henry Meredith, conductor, is set forNovember 19 at 7:30pm in Byron United Church, London. Titled“Historic Russian Concert Favourites,” the program will includeGlinka’s brilliant and boisterous Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla,the hauntingly exquisite Vocalise by Rachmaninoff and the mysteriousMarche Polovtsienne from Borodin’s Prince Igor. The centerpiece ofthe evening will be the powerful and enigmatic Finale from DmitriShostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. For Christmas holiday music theywill include movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite,including the popular Miniature Overture and Valse des Fleurs.A special feature of the evening will be a cornet trio, featuringdirector Meredith and solo cornetists Ern Sullivan and Skip Phoenix.They will perform Walter Smith’s Three Kings. While you might thinkthat this has to do with the well-known work dealing with kings fromthe Orient, not so. The “Kings” in this case refer to a specific make ofcornet designed and manufactured by H. N. White in Cleveland, As theowner of two King trombones, I am well aware of the King instrumentreputation. The composer intended that his famous “monarchs” of thecornet world would perform the piece on three King Model cornets.Continuing in the winter festive mode, the band will play Meredith’sHoliday Schottische Medley & Quodlibet. Several years ago I attendeda presentation at a Masonic lodge titled “Mozart was a Mason.” Thatevening highlighted many famous musicians who were members ofthe Masonic Order. This arrangement by Meredith features melodiesassociated with well-known Masons as well as many other popularairs often played at the same time. The final number on the programwill be Meredith’s arrangement of Prokofiev’s three-horse open sleighpiece Troika, written as part of his film music for Lieutenant Kijé in1933. Being a stalwart fan of Henry Meredith’s programming, you canbe assured that I will try to make the trip to London for that concert.Cable: In case you haven’t noticed, the name of one composer/conductor is repeated here in the programming of several bands. Thatperson is Howard Cable. It’s time we all learned more about Howardand his enormous contributions to Canadian music. Look for thathere soon.A passing: The band scene in the Toronto area has lost anothermember with the passing at age 66 of percussionist Jay Alter in mid-October. Jay, a former mathematics teacher, leaves his wife, a son anda daughter.Definition DepartmentThis month’s lesser known musical term is: l’istesso tempo: An indicationto play listlessly; e.g., as if you don’t careWe invite submissions from readers. Let’s hear your daffynitions.Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments andhas performed in many community ensembles. He canbe contacted at November 1 - December 7, 2014 | 37

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