6 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

  • Text
  • September
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • Sept
  • Quartet
  • Concerto
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Violin
Paul Ennis's annual TIFF TIPS (27 festival films of potential particular musical interest); Wu Man, Yo-Yo Ma and Jeffrey Beecher on the Silk Road; David Jaeger on CBC Radio Music in the days it was committed to commissioning; the LISTENING ROOM continues to grow on line; DISCoveries is back, bigger than ever; and Mary Lou Fallis says Trinity-St. Paul's is Just the Spot (especially this coming Sept 25!).

up by something Lester

up by something Lester Young suggested to him decades earlier: “Just a little tinkedy-boom for me, Arch, and we’ll go straight ahead, no fuss, no muss.” In 1983, Archie hired me to play bass in the quartet he co-led with vibraphonist Frank Wright, with the redoubtable pianist Wray Downes aboard. Playing in this group was a large part of my musical education. Not only was I by far the youngest member – I was used to that – but in this case, I was also the only white member. There was never any friction, no overt or serious lecturing on racial issues from these veterans. However, their stories taught me that there were real racial barriers in Toronto of the kind I had previously (and naively) thought were restricted to the Jim Crow practices of the U.S.A. Archie had a sense of humour about this, as in the following story: He and I often backed up the great pianist Ray Bryant at the Montreal Bistro. Among my most prized photographs is one of me flanked by Ray and Archie. Just before Jim McBirnie pressed the button, Archie said “You’re the cream in the Oreo, Steve-o!” The resulting laughter is all over our faces in the photo. I have very fond memories of playing in the Alleyne-Wright quartet and being accepted in it despite my young years. Because of Archie’s belief in classy presentation, we were surely the only group to play George’s in full tuxedos. I learned a great deal from Archie, not so much about the nuts and bolts of music, but more to do with comportment and the jazz history and traditions of Toronto, which he had absorbed so much of first-hand. He took joy not just in musicmaking, but in the personalities and stories of musicians, their eccentricities and individuality. He regaled me with tales about playing with such classic artists as Billie Holiday, Ben Webster and Lester Young: that they taught him not just about being professional, but about being a human being, about giving the music soul. I well remember a special gig the quartet played for Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Lincoln Alexander at an event held to honour Prince Philip. It was very private, by invitation only, and both men got on famously. There was no press of any kind, which allowed the two public figures to relax. They enjoyed themselves immensely, playing darts, drinking pints and conversing freely with everyone; both really enjoyed the music. It was my first inkling of how Archie was equally at ease with ordinary people but also with those from the corridors of power and privilege, mostly because he treated everyone the same. I soon learned that virtually everybody knew and liked Archie, including some influential figures – Alexander, Roy McMurtry and many others. Archie used this connectedness to further the black Canadian musical community whenever and however he could. It was one of his greatest gifts. For various reasons the Alleyne-Wright quartet petered out, but Archie and I continued working together, often forming the rhythm section for out-of-town artists. I remember the two of us backing trumpeter Tom Harrell, just when drummer Terry Clarke had returned to Toronto after years of living in New York. Hearing him for the first time, Clarke remarked that Archie’s splashing ride cymbal, taste and simplicity reminded him of Billy Higgins – high praise indeed. Archie and I also did a very memorable tour of Ireland and Spain with Montreal-based pianist Oliver Jones in the fall of 1989, the beginning of which we barely survived. Archie and I flew together to Heathrow Airport, where we were to catch a connecting flight to Cork, home of the Guinness Jazz Festival. That very day the British Isles and the North Atlantic were ravaged by one of the worst storms to hit that area in the 20th century, with untold damage caused by ferocious high winds and lashing rain. Out of this chaos we eventually caught an Aer Lingus flight which attempted unsuccessfully to land at Cork and Shannon. I’ve never been as certain of my imminent death as during that flight. The plane was being tossed around like a soda cracker just above the roiling sea, which seemed sure to swallow us up whole. Finally the pilot managed a miraculous landing at Dublin Airport, to the most heartfelt and relieved ovation I’ve ever heard. That was just the beginning of our adventures, however. We still had to get to Cork, and we had no idea where our instruments were. We found Oliver, and with the alto saxophonist Herb Geller in tow, they shared a rocky car ride to Cork with us. Fortunately we had a few days off to recover and eventually my bass and Archie’s drums showed up on the tarmac in Cork, but not his priceless K-Zildjian cymbals. They’d evidently been stolen and I felt terrible that such a huge and irreplaceable part of his sound had been taken so unjustly. Some local drummers lent Archie good cymbals for the rest of the tour and eventually he bought himself some new ones, never missing a beat. That was Archie all over, aware of the past but always looking ahead. I’ll long remember his ironic and good-humoured variation of the old Irish greeting – “Top of the mornin’, mothers!” Or something like that anyway. In the years since, Archie and I played together less often and saw a little less of each other. Our relationship remained intact though; he was the type who kept his friends. He became more involved with his special projects, including the Evolution of Jazz Ensemble, which did a great deal to spread the awareness of jazz and Canadian black history in schools. He also formed Kollage, a band in which he gave many young musicians the opportunity to learn from his vast experience by playing under his direction. This passion for mentoring young musicians led to the establishment of the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund in 2003, to recognize and encourage excellent young black jazz students in Canada. Archie Alleyne was an old-school musician who came up the hard way, self-taught and on the bandstand. He valued both classroomoriented musical education as well as a more reality/experiencebased approach – the AASF and Kollage allowed him to offer the best of both worlds. In late 2011, his vast contributions to this country’s society and culture were recognized with Canada’s highest civilian honour when he was named a Member of the Order of Canada. This was greeted with great satisfaction and pride by Archie and his many friends and colleagues. I regret that I didn’t see more of Archie in the last few years or in the days and weeks before he passed. But I’m happy to have known him so well, very grateful to have shared so many musical experiences with him and to have learned so much from them. I know I speak for many Toronto musicians when I say that I’ll miss Archie a lot and also in saying a big thank you to him for leaving the city’s jazz scene a much better place for his presence in it. Archie Alleyne Toronto bassist Steve Wallace writes a blog called “Steve Wallace – jazz, baseball, life and other ephemera” which can be accessed at Aside from the topics mentioned, he sometimes writes about movies and food. 50 | Sept 1 - Oct 7, 2015

DAVID HOU. C. Music Theatre MUSIC THEATRE covers a wide range of music types: from opera, operetta and musicals to non-traditional performance types where words and music are in some fashion equal partners in the drama. These listings have been sorted alphabetically BY PRESENTER. Some information here is also included in our GTA and Beyond The GTA listings sections, but readers whose primary interest is MUSIC THEATRE should start their search with this section. This section is still in development. We welcome your comments and suggestions at Members of the company in The Sound of Music at the Stratford Festival. ●●Friends of Gravity. The Seven Deadly Sins. Music by Kurt Weill, text by Bertolt Brecht. Cabaret band and silent film projections. Stephanie Conn, vocals; Scott Gabriel, music director; Branko Džinović, accordion; Max Christie, clarinet; Scott Good, trombone. St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, 509 Dundas St. E. 416-700-5914. /(st). Tickets available in advance or at door. Sep 25 and 26 8:00. ●●Lower Ossington Theatre. Always ABBA. An evening of ABBA’s best hits for all ages, recreated in the original style. The Lower Ossington Theatre. 100A Ossington Ave. 416-915-6747. .99; 9.96(table); Plus fees and taxes. Call ahead to book table. Runs Aug 14-Sep 20; Fri (7:30pm), Sat (4pm&7:30pm), Sun (4pm). ●●Lower Ossington Theatre. Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. The story of the young man with glasses, and his brief musical career during the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll. 100A Ossington Ave.416-915-6747. .99-.99. Sep 24-Oct 25. Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 4pm. ●●Lower Ossington Theatre. Mary Poppins. Based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Disney Film. Lower Ossington Theatre Mainstage, 100A Ossington Ave. 416-915- 6747. .99-.99. Until Sep 24. Thurs- Sat 7:30pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 4pm. ●●Mirvish Productions. Kinky Boots. The Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King Street West. 416-593-4142. From . Runs to November 8. ●●Mirvish Productions. Motown The Musical. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West. 416-593-4142. From . Runs to Sept 22 to Oct 25. ●●National Lampoon. Full House The Musical. Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street. 416-924-2243. From .95. Runs to Sept 6. ●●Opera by Request. Weber: Der Freischütz. In concert with piano accompaniment. Vanessa Lanch, soprano; Vania Chan, soprano; Ryan Harper, tenor; John Holland, baritone; Kieran Kane, baritone; and others; William Shookhoff, music director and pianist. College Street United Church, 452 College St. 416-455-2365. . Sep 18 7:30 ●●Oshawa Opera. Suor Angelica by Puccini. In-concert version. Natalya Gennadi Matyusheva, Catharin Carew, Kaili Kinnon, Rachelle Kelly, Christina Campsall, and other soloists; Oshawa Opera Chorus; Lenard Whiting, organ; Kristine Dandavino, music director/piano. Kingsview United Church, 505 Adelaide Ave. E., Oshawa. 905-995-2847. ; free(child). Sep 27 3:00 ●●Shaw Festival. Sweet Charity. Book by Neil Simon; music by Cy Coleman; lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Festival Theatre. 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake. .90- 9.95. Runs to Oct 31. ●●Shoestring Opera. Mozart’s Magic Flute. A preschooler-friendly introduction to Mozart’s most famous opera. Kingsway-Lambton United Church, 85 The Kingsway, Etobicoke. 647-980-1729. ; group rates available. Wheelchair accessible. Proceeds benefit Kingsway-Lambton United Church Special Music Fund and Shoestring Opera. Sep 26 11:00am and 2:00pm. ●●Stratford Festival. The Sound of Music. Rodgers and Hammerstein. Festival Theatre. 55 Queen St. Stratford. 1-800-567-1600. From . Runs to Nov 1. ●●Stratford Festival. CAROUSEL. Rodgers and Hammerstein. Avon Theatre. 99 Downie Street. Stratford. 1-800-567-1600. From . Runs to Nov 1. Auditions ●●Burlington Civic Chorale Singers. Choristers in the area are invited to audition. For over 21 years the choir has performed a wide selection of music that has included classical, baroque, opera, folksongs, Broadway and vocal jazz. As we start another new and exciting season, we invite you to share your singing talents with us. Rehearsals begin in September and are held Tuesday evenings from 7:15 to 9:30. St. Christopher’s Church, 662 Guelph Line, Burlington. Please contact director Gary Fisher at 905-632-2085 or; ●●Guelph Youth Singers. Children and youth between the ages of six and eighteen who love to sing are invited to audition for entry in 2015 to one of GYS’s award-winning choirs (I, II, III and SATB). For more information and to book an audition: 519- 821-8574; E. The ETCeteras The Strings Attached Orchestra Young Composers Initiative 2016 How does an unknown young composer get a break and get their music performed in public? Conductor Ric Giorgi and The Strings Attached Orchestra have one answer. The SAO, a community orchestra of talented adult amateur musicians based in the Toronto area, recently announced a competition to encourage young composers across Canada to compose a work for string orchestra or any combination of three or more orchestral string instruments (violin, viola, cello and string bass). The Young Composer Initiative 2016 has been established to give young Canadian composers, up to and including the age of 16 as of June 5, 2016, the opportunity to have their music played by the SAO’s final concert of the season, June 5, 2016. Composers must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. Each entrant must make every compositional decision and actually write the notes of any work submitted but their teachers may serve as mentors and assist in the technological and logistical aspects of preparing and sending submissions. Teachers may not edit or arrange the works submitted. Works must be less than five minutes in length. Entrants may submit only one entry to SAO’s YCI 2016. All submissions are due by February 28, 2016. Entries will be judged by a five-person panel headed by music director Giorgi and composer-in-residence Charles Heller. And how do composers compose music? Tchaikovsky joked that he composed “sitting down.” Haydn said: “Musical ideas pursue me to the point of torture. I cannot get rid of them.” Whether you write at a desk, on a laptop in bed or on your phone during dinner, this is your chance to share your work with a live audience. Detailed submission information and complete contest rules and regulations can be found on the SAO website: stringsattachedorchestra. com/yci-2016/. Email inquiries should be directed to: ●●Kawartha Youth Orchestra. Young musicians ages 12 to 24 are invited to audition for openings in the strings, winds, brass and percussion sections for the upcoming 2015/16 season. Auditions held on Saturday September 12. Sadleir House, 751 George St. Peterborough. For more information and to book an audition time: 705-772-0015; Competitions ●●Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Choral Composition Competition for emerging composers. Winner receives 00, Debbie Fleming Prize for Choral Composition, and TMC premiere of work at the January 20 th Symposium concert. More info and submission requirements: new-choral-composition-competition-foremerging-composers/ Deadline for submissions: Nov 13 2015. Festivals, Fairs, Festivities ●●Sep 01 – 27: Tues, Wed, Fri & PASQUALE BROTHERS PURVEYORS OF FINE FOOD CATERING (416) 364-7397 WWW.PASQUALEBROS.COM Sept 1 - Oct 7, 2015 | 51

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