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Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019

  • Text
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Choir
  • October
  • Toronto
Long promised, Vivian Fellegi takes a look at Relaxed Performance practice and how it is bringing concert-going barriers down across the spectrum; Andrew Timar looks at curatorial changes afoot at the Music Gallery; David Jaeger investigates the trumpets of October; the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (and the 20th Anniversary of our October Blue Pages Presenter profiles) in our Editor's Opener; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir at 125; Tapestry at 40 and Against the Grain at 10; ringing in the changing season across our features and columns; all this and more, now available in Flip Through format here, and on the stands commencing this coming Friday September 27, 2019. Enjoy.

physical recovery. John

physical recovery. John Loach, who co-hosts and plays trumpet, had been suffering from embouchure issues since the spring from dental surgery gone wrong. Saxophonist Perry White is suffering from multiconcussion syndrome and has had to greatly reduce how much he can play. Patti Loach, who always plays a piano piece before each concert, had broken her collarbone in early July in a biking accident. So I had company among the walking wounded; only pianist Mark Eisenman and drummer Mark Micklethwaite were healthy. Beyond this, there were memorials involved. Just days before the gig, Patti and John’s good friend Tex Arnold, a first-rate pianist and composer based out of New York, died suddenly after suffering multiple strokes. They were devastated, but in tribute to him decided to play his arrangement (for Margaret Whiting) of a complex and obscure song called The Coffee Shoppe. They brought it off brilliantly, injuries be damned. And this was the first JITK since John Sumner died in June. He’d played on the vast majority of the nearly 60 concerts we’ve done and his absence was palpable. We played a trio version of Django dedicated to him. I’ve always thought of JITK as an easy gig and in a lot of ways it is, being held in a relaxed, small venue with good sound and a listening audience. I told myself to take it easy, but it’s a funny thing. Once the music starts and the players start coming at you with all that energy and intensity, you can’t take it easy, you have to match them. I found myself digging in for all I was worth, pain and all, sweat streaming everywhere. It hurt and I started to develop some serious blisters but I was overjoyed to be back where I belong, in the crucible of a jazz band creating in the moment. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying gigs I’ve ever done and when it was over I realized I was mostly back. Amen to that. JAZZ NOTES QUICK PICKS !! OCT 5, 7:30PM: Yamaha Canada Music. Yamaha Canada Jazz Orchestra Featuring Bobby Shew. Led by Rick Wilkins. Walter Hall. 416-408-0208. $25. A rare Toronto appearance by the estimable veteran trumpeter Bobby Shew, with Rick Wilkins directing the band – enough said. !! OCT 13, 4:30PM: Christ Church Deer Park. Jazz Vespers: Tribute to Ray Brown. Dave Young. 1570 Yonge St. 416-920- 5211. Freewill offering. Religious service. A tribute to one of the great jazz bassists by one of our best, Dave Young. !! OCT 24, 7:30PM: University of Toronto Faculty of Music. U of T 12tet. Walter Hall. 416-978-3750. Free and open to the public. A firstrate ensemble of U of T jazz students directed by trombonist-arranger Terry Promane. !! Oct 31, 5:30PM: Ken Page Memorial Trust. The Irresistible Spirits of Rhythm Halloween Jazz Party. Warren Vaché, cornet; Guido Basso, trumpet/flugelhorn; Ken Peplowski, reeds, Houston Person, tenor saxophone; Russ Phillips, trombone; and others. Old Mill Toronto. Call Anne at 416-515-0200. 0. Complimentary cocktail reception, gala dinner service and grand raffle. Not sure who the “others” are, but the list of headliners alone makes this attractive, even at Warren Vaché that price. Beat by Beat | Choral Scene Odes to Nature Guelph Chamber Choir and the Exultate Chamber Singers MENAKA SWAMINATHAN Autumn is the most enjoyable season of the four we are lucky to experience in Canada. All right, this may be a biased opinion, but I stand by it. The temperature is comfortable and somewhat consistent, the leaves are changing and we are presented with beautiful colours for a few weeks. And of course Thanksgiving is nigh, which means pumpkin spice everything. Cue all the excitement. I also notice people are happier around this time. That could be an arguable statement too, but I do think the brightness of the season somehow results in an overall brighter demeanour with people. While looking through choral performances over the next couple of months, I noticed a bit of a thematic trend, in terms of human connection to nature, which reflects the season we are entering, which we appreciate for the natural beauty that surrounds us. Additionally as part of a culture where attempts at living with zero waste are slowly becoming more prominent, it seems fitting to see concerts not only calling for reflection on the state of the Earth and respect of nature but also, especially with our current political climate, providing opportunities to listen to music that takes us out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life with all its distractions, thereby keeping us zoned in to what is truly important: Earth, nature, togetherness. Advancing to Where We Are Today Accordingly, a few concerts piqued my interest pertaining to these themes, one of them being a performance by the Guelph Chamber Choir of Bob Chilcott’s Five Days that Changed the World and other works on October 27. Many choristers will easily recognize Chilcott’s name, for he is a prominent composer of choral repertoire. I have experienced many a Chilcott work, both as a chorister and as an audience member; however, I had not heard of this particular work. I got in touch with Dr. Charlene Pauls, the new artistic director of the Guelph Chamber Choir, to inquire a little further about Dr. Charlene Pauls Toronto bassist Steve Wallace writes a blog called “Steve Wallace jazz, baseball, life and other ephemera” which can be accessed at wallacebass.com. Aside from the topics mentioned, he sometimes writes about movies and food. 36 | October 2019 thewholenote.com

the work. I was interested, I told her, to know why Pauls chose to perform Five Days that Changed the World and her reason for calling on this theme of unity; the concert features other pieces as well, but Chilcott is clearly the main event. Pauls explained that “in a world that seems increasingly to highlight so much of what is negative about the human spirit, we wanted to create a program that did the opposite.” As mentioned earlier, we are in a time where there is an increased urge to be more united, trying to leave behind a lighter footprint on our planet and taking care of what we have. “We tend to hear so much about the problems in our world,” Pauls continues, “however, throughout time there have always been those around us who have made an impact through positive change, who have created innovations that have improved society and who have made the world a better place.” This piece “highlights five moments in time that have connected people: the invention of the printing press, the abolition of slavery, the invention of flight, the discovery of penicillin and the first human in space. […] The music is wonderfully varied, with threads of humour, poignancy and wonder woven throughout the various movements.” Some of the other works to be performed “celebrate connections between us.” They include Winnipeg composer Andrew Balfour’s welcoming song Ambe (sung in Ojibway), American composer Joan Szymko’s It Takes A Village, French composer Maurice Duruflé’s Ubi Caritas, Canadian composer Sarah Quartel’s Sing, My Child, and a great gospel arrangement of Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water by Kirby Shaw. Other pieces on the program include works that challenge us to action, such as Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst that urges us to “dream with our hands.” To top it off, there is a surprise encore piece that should not be missed. Pauls revealed the surprise to me, but I am going to keep it to myself. Continuing on to explain her aim with this performance, Pauls comments: “Fundamentally, I believe that the foundation of society must be relationships, humanity connecting with each other, because it is only then that we can have empathy and create positive change.” Nature’s Beauty and Environmental Consciousness Similarly, another concert that I think will be a captivating listen is “Voices of Earth: In Celebration of Nature’s Beauty” by the Exultate Chamber Singers, entering its 39 th season, conducted by Mark Ramsay on October 18. I was interested to know more about the program as well as his decision to set on the theme of nature. Ramsay answered a few of my questions via email.. The music is quite varied, he says, and the concert is a compilation of works by an interesting mix of composers, many of whom are Canadian. A few works he mentioned are: Voices of Earth by Mark Sirett, which will be performed with a guest violinist, Adrian Irvine. Due North by Stephen Chatman, Ramsay tells me, “is a fun set of five pieces set in the style of soundscapes where [they] explore the sounds associated with and inspired by specific words related to our Canadian landscape, including Mountains, Trees, Mosquitoes and even Woodpecker.” Come to the Woods by Jake Runestad, with a text by John Muir, is the cornerstone of the program, Ramsay informs me. “It’s an extended work, with a fantastic Mark Ramsay piano part, that takes us on an emotional journey.” The composer describes it as a piece that “explores Muir’s inspirations and the transporting peace found in the natural world.” The program also includes, but is not limited to, works by Johannes Brahms, Allan Bevan, Gwynyth Walker, Matthew Emery, and Samuel Barber. What led him to decide on the theme? Ramsay says: “I personally believe the theme is a timely one. The Earth and our environment has always been a powerful inspiration for writers, musicians and artists from all creative streams. Recently, I think we are seeing a general increased interest in our environment and our relationship with it. How are we harming it? How are we caring for it? What does our future look like? With that in mind I tried to design a program filled with beautiful texts and choral music that depicts this diverse and stunning environment we are so strongly connected to.” Keep these questions that Ramsay poses in mind as you take in the music. We have to make a conscious effort to take a minute to centre ourselves, think about our planet, think about all that we have gained from it. This theme is one that cannot really get stale or uninteresting, as we continue to slowly but surely witness an active push in working together to keep our Earth healthy and to bridge the divides in society. On October 27th at 3pm, the Guelph Chamber Choir will perform Bob Chillcot’s Five Days that Changed the World, amongst other works. The performance will take place at the Harcourt Memorial United Church in Guelph. In keeping with a theme of unity, the Guelph Collegiate and Vocational Institute (GCVI) high school choir will join the Guelph Chamber Choir for the main piece. A new Festival for Choral Singers June 25-27, 2020 Register for Early Bird tickets before the December 9 th deadline! Register now at choralmosaic.com Celebrate and explore the wonder of choral music with Kim André Arnesen, Rajaton, Primadonna Choralis. Performance opportunities for all attendees. Workshops, master classes and more! thewholenote.com October 2019 | 37

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2019)

Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)