3 years ago

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020

  • Text
  • Ensemble
  • Classical
  • Concerts
  • Singers
  • Choral
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • September
  • Choir
Choral Scene: Uncharted territory: three choirs finding paths forward; Music Theatre: Loose Tea on the boil with Alaina Viau’s Dead Reckoning; In with the New: what happens to soundart when climate change meets COVID-19; Call to action: diversity, accountability, and reform in post-secondary jazz studies; 9th Annual TIFF Tips: a filmfest like no other; Remembering: Leon Fleisher; DISCoveries: a NY state of mind; 25th anniversary stroll-through; and more. Online in flip through here, and on stands commencing Tues SEP 1.


CANARY PAGES ●●VOCA Chorus of Toronto The VOCA Chorus of Toronto is a dynamic, auditioned ensemble which performs eclectic repertoire (including arrangements by our artistic director, Jenny Crober) in collaboration with some of Canada’s finest artists. Each season consists of two major concerts, cabarets and workshops with guest clinicians, as well as community performances. Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings at Eastminster United, near Chester subway. We hope to be presenting our “Star Songs” concert program (featuring a world premiere by Cree composer Andrew Balfour, along with works by Halley, Lauridsen, Daley and others) at both Roy Thomson Hall (part of RTH’s Noon Hour Choir and Organ Series) and at Eastminster United. Director: Jenny Crober. Accompanist: Elizabeth Acker. Guests: Colleen Allen, sax; Shawn Grenke, organ; Jamie Drake, percussion. JENNY CROBER 416-931-8224 ●●Voices Chamber Choir Entering into its 25th season, Voices Chamber Choir has firmly established itself as one of Toronto’s finest chamber choirs. The choir has received awards and recognition from across Canada and at an International Competition. As part of our anniversary season, the choir will reprise our very first Christmas program on December 12, 2020. Antonio Caldara’s Stabat Mater will be performed for our Lenten presentation on March 27, 2021. The season will close with J .S. Bach’s monumental work Mass in B minor with orchestra and soloists on May 29, 2021. Voices rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm to 10:00pm at St. Thomas’s Church, 383 Huron Street, Toronto. Auditions are available throughout the year. Apprentice conductor program is also available. RON CHEUNG 416-519-0528 ●●Voices Rock Canada We have a rock choir for everyone! Started as a children’s choir, VRC has grown to include 2 adult choirs, 3 children’s locations, a female physician’s choir and a senior’s daytime program. Since March 2020, we have had a very active on-line rehearsal presence through Zoom. This has (and will) include rehearsals to tracks, musicianship classes, fun karaoke nights and creating virtual videos, one of which has gone viral. We continually monitor the pandemic situation and have 2 options moving forward for our choirs. The most heartwarming thing about our choirs is the community - we are an inclusive, warm and loving group. As a result of this, 95% of our choir re-registered for the Fall. We truly are rock choirs for the 21st Century - ages 9-99! Join Us today! Our artistic director is Anthony Bastianon. CHERYL BOWER 416-833-4431 ●●West Toronto Community Choir We are a mixed-voice, secular community choir serving Roncesvalles, Parkdale, the Junction and surrounding communities. Our group performs 2 major concerts per season as well as guest appearances at other community events, such as Roncy Rocks and the Roncesvalles Community Tree Lighting Ceremony. Music is a mix of contemporary choral, folk tunes, and musical theatre, with a few pop tunes thrown in. Our vibe is fun and social, with a focus on community engagement and shared music-making. We have a mix of seasoned choristers and novices, and there are no auditions. We value the diversity of gender, age, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, and political perspective and are open to all. Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings 7:15pm to 8:45pm at Roncesvalles United Church. TAYLOR STRANDE 647-388-3604 westtorontocommunitychoir ●●The Yorkminstrels Show Choir The Yorkminstrels Show Choir is an SATB choir, founded in 1974 as an arm of The Yorkminstrels musical theatre company. We sing mostly Broadway music, with oldies, contemporary and seasonal songs added to the mix. With our repertoire, costumes and movement, the show choir has evolved into a unique group. We take entertainment into the community, doing occasional concerts throughout the season at seniors’ residences, and for condo/church/synagogue groups and fundraisers. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings at Cummer Lodge in North York, from September through June. A simple audition is required; note-reading is not essential. We are a warm, fun-loving and welcoming group, so if you enjoy singing, learning harmony and performing, we invite you to join us! SANDI HORWITZ 416-229-9313 ●●Young Voices Toronto Founded in 1986, Young Voices Toronto is the Children’s Choir-in-Residence U of T, led by artistic director Maria Conkey - experienced conductor, clinician, and pedagogue. YVT instills the joy of singing and builds confidence in children, by teaching techniques of healthy singing and rudiments of music. We engage choristers through diverse repertoire, movement and interaction, infusing performance with meaning that connects to their hearts and audiences. YVT’s motto ‘More Than Music’ inspires and educates children musically while building a community beyond singing. YVT’s senior ensemble tours annually and travelled to Germany and Austria in July 2019. Choristers range in age from 4 to 18. Vocal placements begin at age 7. There are five choir levels. Rehearsals take place weekly on Tuesday and/or Thursday in the Bloor West area. GENA NORBURY 416-762-0657 theWholeNote 2020/21 CANARY PAGES DIRECTORY Thank you for taking a gander at this year’s Canaries! If you are looking for a specific group of songbirds, visit our directory online, at where you can do more browsing, or conduct a more focused search – by genre, geography, audition type, gender, age range, skill level and more. C12

Jazz Notes PANDAMIT! STEVE WALLACE It’s almost impossible to believe that this most Twilight Zone of summers is rapidly drawing to a close. How did September come so fast despite many of us enduring so many long, empty and isolated days? Days upon days of not working, of not going out much save when necessary, of not seeing people, except on a computer screen or in brief “Dare we?” encounters. Indeed, with everything still pretty much upside down and our sense of normalcy and time in tatters, it’s hard to even say what the passing of summer means anymore. More on this later, but it reminds me of one of the many wonderfully droll lines from the great relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry: “I’ve seen the future; it’s a lot like the present, only longer.” A Blizzard of Cancellations In the old days, during inevitable patches when work was slow (we didn’t know what slow was), musicians would jokingly say “I looked in my gig book the other day and got snow blind” – as in too many blank, white squares, a blizzard of empty dates. It’s like that now, only the vast white spaces are interspersed with dates that have been scratched out, looking like little scruffs of dirt poking through the snow. And COVID-19 has brought a new gig convention: the courtesy cancellation, when a bandleader calls or emails the other musicians they’d booked on a job to tell them it’s been cancelled. This has happened so often between March and well into the fall that we all just (rightly) assume that every gig is off, but it’s still the considerate thing to do, plus it gives everyone a chance to commiserate and indulge in some gallows humour. As in, “You thought you were busy? I’ve cancelled way more gigs than you!” And even rare new bookings have to be taken with a large grain of salt. Recently my old friend Georgia Ambros called to hire me along with guitarist Reg Schwager to play at her 85th birthday party on August 29. She explained that it would be held outside in the back courtyard of her building and that it would be small, with people spread out. I was delighted to hear from her and accepted. But a couple of weeks later she called saying she’d have to cancel because the other tenants were nervous about a gathering, and I wasn’t all that surprised. She offered to pay me anyway, bless her, but I flatly refused, saying we’d just have to do it later when things are safe. Time On My Hands For me personally, the unending Groundhog Day of life-with-COVID increased with my decision to retire on July 17 from the Law Society of Ontario, where I had worked in the Great Library (actually its real name) for nearly 29 years. (Yes, I finally stopped listening to the advice many have given me over the years after hearing my bass playing – “Don’t give up your day job.”) I’d been seriously mulling over retirement from the library for about a year, and as my long-suffering wife put it: ”It only took a pandemic crisis for him to make up his mind.” I really enjoyed working in the august old place and somehow found a way to fit the jazz life into the straight workaday world. No wonder I’m a bit schizoid. Now that my jazz life has been severely curtailed – along with everyone else’s – it may seem odd to decide to have even more time on my hands, but in the end I obeyed the almost palpable message that seemed to come from deep inside me: when push came to shove and the Great Librarians moved toward reopening, I just didn’t feel like doing it anymore. The four months off during lockdown were like a rehearsal for retirement and, while I generally hate to rehearse – it’s cheating, after all – I took to the free time like a duck to water. Of course, as it has with so many aspects of life, the pandemic made the decision seem surreal – I was retiring from a place I hadn’t set foot in for four months. Normally there would have been a party, a chance to say goodbye to my colleagues, the ritual of cleaning out my desk of personal belongings and walking out the door for the last time. But there was none of that; it was as if I was retiring from….. thin air. And while it’s generally a good thing, retirement has made it even harder to tell what day it is: in a good week, every day is Saturday and in a bad one, every day is Monday. Time to plAy Pianos Guitars Stringed Instruments Sheet Music Instruments selected, tested and backed by our 130 years experience Check our website or visit us in person for some inspirational back-to-school offers 210 Bloor St. West 416.961.3111 WILLIE KING September 2020 | 23

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