October is a busy time for choirs. A brief perusal of the listings sections of this magazine reveals a wide range of choral performances, from small, intimate works to big choral warhorses. But if you look past the sheer variety of it all, a few trends emerge.

Early music seems to be especially well represented this month, with several choirs presenting entire programmes of pre-1800 repertoire. Toronto’s Cantemus Singers are singing English music, with an October 3 concert of Purcell, Tallis, Gibbons and Byrd. In Orillia, on October 24, the Cellar Singers open their season with Bach’s Mass in B Minor. On the same night, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will perform Handel’s Israel in Egypt (the first big choral concert in the Royal Conservatory’s new Koerner Hall). And on November 1, the Toronto Chamber Choir will present a programme of Renaissance works by Byrd, Lasso, Weelkes and Sheppard.

19_Lydia_Adams_photo_Pierre_Maravel19_Brainerd B-T

This sort of concert, when done well, has the happy effect of transporting its audience into a remote time, to explore the artistic ideals of a historical era. But it’s also nice to see a more varied and integrated approach to early-music programming. On October 4 Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Singers  and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale will team up to present a concert that mixes Byrd, Tallis, et al. with African-American gospel repertoire. In a similar vein, Waterloo’s Renaissance Singers will sing a concert on October 17 (repeated the following day in Cambridge) that combines 16th- and 17th-century English choral works with Rutter’s The Sprig of Thyme, composed in the late 20th century.

At first glance, the Renaissance Singers’ approach makes a little more sense: Rutter is English, and there are strong historical references in his style that connect his music to the English Renaissance. But that’s not to say that the Iseler-Dett collaboration is a non-starter. On the contrary, some of the most fascinating artistic experiences originate in the conjoining of ideas that don’t seem to have much in common.

Contemporary music is a sometimes a scary proposition – for choirs and audiences alike. But there are three concerts of new works coming up that no one should shy away from.

20_tollarOn October 8, Toronto composer Christos Hatzis’ From the Song of Songs will be performed in a programme presented by the Royal Ontario Museum. The 18-minute work will be performed by the musicians who originally commissioned it: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir. As well, the culturally adventurous piece also features Arabic vocalist Maryem Hassan-Tollar as soloist.

On October 24, the University of Toronto’s MacMillan Singers perform a programme called “Music of the North,” which will hopefully find an appreciative audience. The chosen composers – Rautavaara, Hyökki and Tormis – are from Finland and Estonia: two countries with strong choral traditions and composers who have attracted the world’s attention.

And the following day, Toronto’s Pax Christi Chorale will sing an entire programme of premieres. Billed as a “Fanfare for Canadian Hymns,” the concert will feature the winning compositions in the choir’s inaugural Great Canadian Hymn Competition. Back in the summer, composers across the country were invited to submit entries for unison or SATB choir (accompanied or unaccompanied) – and now the winners will be heard for the first time.

“We wanted to highlight the fact that there are so many fantastic hymns by Canadians,” notes Pax Christi conductor Stephanie Martin. “We don’t tend to celebrate our achievements, like the Americans and British do. So we thought it would be fun to sponsor a contest.”

20_Martin-StephanieAccording to Martin, the competition attracted hymns from almost every Canadian province, with an impressive total of 68 entries. “We have a real rainbow of different styles,” she says. “What people consider a hymn, in different traditions, can vary widely. We have hymns from the Anglican tradition, hymns from the Mennonite tradition, and some more fashioned like folk-songs.”

As well, three cash awards will be announced at the concert. “The choir is voting on who gets the prizes,” Martin explains. “We wanted to sing the hymns through for several weeks, and get to know them before deciding. One of the qualities of a great hymn is that it grows on you.”

What else does the month have to offer? The Mendelssohn bicentennial that has led to many performances of the composer’s works this year still has some steam left in it. On October 23, the Exultate Chamber Singers give an all-Mendelssohn programme; and on November 1 the Mississauga Choral Society will also devote an entire programme to the brilliant composer who lived for just 38 years.

And there’s a lot more. For further information about any of the concerts mentioned above, see the GTA and Beyond the GTA listings in this magazine.

Colin Eatock is a composer, writer, and the managing editor of The WholeNote. He can be contacted at: editorial@thewholenote.com.

10One of the more unusual concerts of the month – perhaps of the season – is the Halloween “monster concert” on October 31, organized by pianist and educator Mary Kenedi. “Monster concert,” for the record, is a term referring to a concert performed on ten pianos by as few as ten and as many as 30 pianists.

The idea goes back well over a century and a half, when the famous Austrian pianist, composer and educator Carl Czerny organized the first monster concert ever in the 1830s to raise money to help the victims of the flooding of the Danube River. More recently, Kenedi herself performed in a monster concert in Toronto conducted by William Shookhoff, who himself once organized, at Rosalyn Carter’s (Jimmy Carter’s wife) request, a monster concert at the White House.

As this appears to be one of Shookhoff’s specialties, Kenedi has enlisted him as the conductor of her concert on October 31. Among other performers joining Kenedi for the occasion are composers Abigail Richardson, Gary Kulesha and Larissa Kuzmenko, as well as piano teachers from Kenedi’s North Toronto Institute of Music and 30 of their students, who will play, three to a piano, the prelude to Bizet’s Carmen and three songs from the Harry Potter movies, arranged by a North Toronto Institute student.

All the performers will wear costumes, and Cadbury has donated the content of loot bags to be given out to children attending the event.

To add some contrast, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals will be played by two pianists on two pianos, and Kenedi will perform Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz. The concert will take place at Massey Hall between 3:00 and 5:00 on Halloween, so there will be no conflicts with the important business of trick-or-treating.

Minsoo Sohn

11A charming and somewhat off-the-beaten-track venue is the lobby of Classical 96 FM on Queen St. E. It is not large – perhaps 30 feet square, two stories high, with a long staircase leading up to a mezzanine on the floor above. Beneath the stairs sits a small grand piano, which was the focus of a noon-hour concert I attended recently. The performer was the Korean-born, 33-year-old pianist and Honens First Prize Laureate (2006) Minsoo Sohn, who will be back in Toronto on October 3 for his Glenn Gould Studio debut recital and again on January 14 to perform with Canadian cellist, Rachel Mercer, for Music Toronto.

From my vantage point on the stairs I got a wonderful view of Sohn’s hands on the keyboard – their strength and the sureness, economy and ease with which they moved. Best of all, I could hear the piano extremely well from this unusual position and appreciated his sound, which belied its percussive origin and seemed to float with the fluidity of a violin or a flute.

The whole scene below me – Sohn at the piano and perhaps 40 people sitting around it – made me think of a drawing I’ve seen of Liszt playing in a salon. In it, each person in the audience seems to reveal his innermost self through posture and expression. Salons don’t seem to be part of our experience these days, so kudos to Classical 96 FM for keeping the tradition alive. The only big difference between this and Liszt’s salon was the presence of a video camera on a long boom and several robotic cameras that captured the occasion for web broadcasting.

After the concert Sohn, Honens executive director Stephen McHolm and I went upstairs to talk about Sohn’s life as a musician and the Honens Competition. “Were you born into a family of musicians?” I asked. “Not really. My mother was a singer but stopped singing when I was born. And my father wasn’t a musician but loved music, especially the music of Rachmaninoff. I don’t know how many times I heard recordings of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto while I was still a kid. It was a lot!”

I went on to ask Sohn about how he started playing the piano at the age of three, and what motivated him to practise. “I’ve wondered about that too!” he commented. “I don’t remember that time in my life. All I know about it is what my mother has told me, which is that I would stay at the keyboard for three hours at a time, as if there was something fascinating about it for me.”

I was interested in how he found a balance, in learning repertoire, between the demands of technique and the demands of understanding the message of the music. “They’re not really separate. Facility needs to be there, of course, and everything can come together when I’m practising and trying to find the meaning of the music. It is a struggle and doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I feel like a sculptor, giving form, shaping sound.”

Could he say what it is that changes when this occurs? “It’s as if I come to a very fundamental place in myself where I can become the music and the music becomes me.” Does playing for an audience help? “Playing for an audience is great and sometimes it seems to bring waves and layers of emotion, but for me the real work of searching for the music occurs when I’m alone with the piano. It’s this search that makes it worthwhile and which keeps me interested and motivated.”

Minsoo Sohn’s fascination with the meaning of the music he plays seems to be what makes him special to those who hear him perform. Of the 90 young pianists selected for the first round of the Honens competition from the 150 who apply, really only ten or a dozen, according to Stephen McHolm, have what the Honens jury is looking for: the ability to go beyond technique to look for what the music has to say.

I also asked Minsoo what he was looking forward to doing in the not-too-distant-future. “Right now my big project is a recording of the Goldberg Variations. I would like to add my own personal footprint to the discography of this great work.” Indeed, his interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations from the Honens Competition has been described as “extraordinary,” and has been broadcast numerous times on CBC and across the United States on NPR’s Performance Today.

Other Events

There’s far more than can be written about here – but perhaps I can give a feel for the depth and breadth of music that October and early November offer:

Early in the month, there are a number of noteworthy concerts, including, of course, all the musical events related to Nuit Blanche and the final four days of the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie. The Emerson String Quartet with pianist Menahem Pressler, who performed at the Toronto Summer Music festival this year, will play in Koerner Hall on October 1; and on October 10 Frederica von Stade will be on the Koerner Hall Stage as part of her farewell tour. October 1 and 2 the Ontario Philharmonic (formerly the Oshawa-Durham Symphony Orchestra) presents its season opener, The Philharmonic Rocks, in the superior acoustics of the P.C. Ho Theatre at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Scarborough.

The Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) has started a new series, “Organ Horizons,” which makes its debut on October 2 with Kola Owalabi giving a recital at Glenview Presbyterian Church. The next evening, October 3, pianist Raymond Spasovski gives a benefit concert at Walter Hall while Caledon Chamber Concerts presents the Cecilia String Quartet in Caledon East. Also on October 3 the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, with pianist Koichi Inoue, will play the music of the Czech composers Dvořák and Vorisek. At the University of Toronto, cellist Shauna Rolston will give a recital on October 16, followed on October 19 by the American Brass Quintet. On October 29 composer Srul Irving Glick will be remembered in a tribute concert at the Al Green Theatre.

Season Openers

On October 15 Music Toronto presents the Takács Quartet; on October 15 and 16 Via Salzburg performs music by Dvořák and Pärt; on October 16 the Toronto Centre for the Arts presents Argentinean pianist Christina Ortiz; on October 17 the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra plays Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto” with soloist Li Wang; on October 18 the Aldeburgh Connection focuses on the life, times and poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson; on October 23 Sinfonia Toronto performs with violinist Lara St. John; and on October 25 Mooredale Concerts presents pianist Gary Graffman.

Allan Pulker is a flautist and a founder of The WholeNote who currently serves as Chairman of the WholeNote’s board of directors. He can be contacted at:
classicalbeyond@thewholenote.com.

12aThe undoubted highlight of the fall season is the world premiere of “The Nightingale and Other Short Fables,” directed by the renowned Robert Lepage. This is only his second project for the Canadian Opera Company – after his Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung of 1993, which caused the COC to be invited to festivals all over the world. Lepage has more of a hand in this production than the earlier one, since he also chose the various vocal and instrumental pieces by Igor Stravinsky that make up the evening’s programme, along with the two short operas The Nightingale (Le Rossignol) and Renard.

For The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, Robert Lepage draws on ancient and contemporary storytelling traditions, incorporating singers, acrobats and Asian shadow puppetry geared to appeal to audience members of all ages. A co-production with the Festival d’Aix- en-Provence and l’Opéra national de Lyon, in collaboration with Lepage’s Ex Machina company, this is the production’s only North American engagement. It runs October 17, 20, 22, 24, 30, and November 1, 4 and 5, and is sung in Russian with English surtitles.

The programme begins with a selection of short, non-operatic pieces: the jazzy octet Ragtime (1916), a set of four nonsense songs called Pribaoutki (1914), the four lullabies that comprise the The Cat’s Cradle Songs (1917), Two Poems of Constantin Balmont (1911), Four Russian Peasant Songs (1917) and Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet (1919). The songs introduce the theme of animals central to the two operas presented after the intermission.

Both The Nightingale and Renard were unconventional works in their own time. The Nightingale had its first performance in 1914 at the Paris Opera in a production by Sergei Diaghilev with the singers in the pit and their roles mimed and danced on stage. The next year the Princesse Edmond de Polignac commissioned Stravinsky to write a piece that could be played in her salon. Stravinsky envisioned Renard as a new form of theatre in which acrobatic dance would be connected with singing while declamation commented on the action. As it happened, the premiere of Renard never took place in the salon, but as part of a double-bill with Mavra in 1922 by the Ballets Russes, again at the Paris Opera. As with The Nightingale, the singers were part of the orchestra, while their roles were danced on stage.

In The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, Lepage takes Stravinsky’s innovations several steps further. The orchestra pit will be filled with water to become a pool where the singers perform and manipulate puppets designed by award-winning American puppet designer Michael Curry. The COC Orchestra, under the baton of Jonathan Darlington, performs on stage. The set is designed by Canadian Carl Fillion, who has worked with Lepage on many projects, including Lepage’s upcoming Ring Cycle with the Metropolitan Opera. The lighting designer, Canadian Étienne Boucher, is also part of Lepage’s Ring Cycle team. The Chinese-inspired costumes are by Mara Gottler, resident costume designer with Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. Lepage’s notion, as explained in several video interviews available through the COC website (www.coc.ca), is to have the course of the action recapitulate the development of puppetry, from the simplest hand shadows to larger two-dimensional variations, and finally to the three-dimensional complexities of Vietnamese water puppetry.

12bRenard was last seen in Toronto in an imaginative COC Ensemble production directed by Tom Diamond. The story is based on Aleksandr Afanasyev’s popular compilation, Russian Folk Tales, and follows the Fox’s attempts to outsmart the Cock, who luckily is rescued by the Cat and the Ram. The cast includes Ensemble tenor Adam Luther and baritone Peter Barrett, who were both in Diamond’s production, tenor Lothar Odinius and bass Robert Pomakov. The cast is joined by five acrobats/puppeteers.

The Nightingale, based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, is narrated by a Fisherman (Odinius), who tells of an Emperor (bass Ilya Bannik), who longs to hear the song of the Nightingale (coloratura soprano Olga Peretyatko) at court. The bird appears, but when Japanese emissaries unveil a mechanical nightingale at court, the real bird flies away and the furious Emperor banishes it from his realm. Later, when the Emperor is ill and confronted by Death (contralto Maria Radner), the Nightingale contravenes the edict and returns to save the Emperor in an unexpected and moving way. Tickets are available online at www.coc.ca or by calling 416-363-8231.


Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera. He can be contacted at: opera@thewholenote.com.

13October’s main attraction in the new music community will no doubt be the fourth edition of the Music Gallery’s X Avant festival.

Past attempts at creating a steady new music festival in Toronto have met with challenges: NuMuFest disappeared in 2001 when its key organizer could no longer offer its support and the exciting soundaXis festival barely got off the ground before going on hiatus after its 2008 edition. Both festivals were built on rich but fragile networks that challenged their stability. In light of what remains – the TSO’s continuing but contained New Creations Festival – X Avant stands out as a sustainable model for the celebration of new music in Toronto.

This year’s X Avant theme of “convergence and collaboration” is very a propos, given the importance of networks and partnerships to making such a large event a success. It is also a theme that the Music Gallery practices itself, with artistic director Jonathan Bunce working alongside guest curators Gregory Oh and Andrew Timar to deliver both this festival and the season’s programming. Inspired by Brian Eno’s idea of “scenius” – the communal form of genius created by harnessing the intelligence and intuition of a whole cultural scene – X Avant celebrates the notion of co-operation in contemporary music making. It’s a timely return to the topic, given the growing discussions around the influences and impact that networks have on the intentions, ideas and actions of artists.

Given the Music Gallery’s desire to celebrate innovation and experimentation throughout the full continuum of the creative music scene, X Avant not only spans four days, eight concerts and various workshops and symposia, but also numerous genres and generations of music exploration.

The festival opens on October 21 with one of the world’s oldest electronic collaborations. The German duo Cluster, which set many landmarks for modern-day electronic music, has re-formed after a decade-long hiatus to release their 2009 album Qua (their first in 14 years), and now to make their Canadian live debut. Cluster members Dieter Mobius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius have been collaborating since the 1960s. Their influence predates other electronic music pioneers like Kraftwerk, and extended well into the 1990s, sometimes in partnerships with talent like Brian Eno. Sharing the concert bill is relative newcomer Hauschka, the alias of German pianist/composer Volker Bertlemann, who has built a reputation with his miniature sound vignettes composed for prepared piano. In this second engagement with the Music Gallery (Hauschka paired up with John Kameel Farah for a local show in 2007), he will partner with a local string quartet to explore new musical territory.

Some of the youngest partnerships at X Avant are those suggested by the festival curators as part of a musical laboratory they are calling “Beats, Notes and Loops: A Hip-Hop/New Music Summit.” Take, for example, the three-way improv between the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, emcee Abdominal and DJ duo iNSiDEaMiND slated for October 23. Experimental turntable music will meet rap in a new music frame filtered through traditional Indonesian gamelan. What will emerge remains to be heard, but this curious combination offers interesting possibilities. Sharing the summit is the emerging yet already consummate crossover composer Nicole Lizée with DJ P-Love and chamber ensemble. Nicole has made her name in part as a member of Montréal’s indie-rock band Besnard Lakes, but more so as a music creator who crosses the boundaries between popular musical tropes and contemporary musical language. For X Avant she will present works that explore both the continuing karaoke phenomenon and the integration of turntablism into contemporary chamber music.

Other collaborations are looser, such as Czech violinist/singer Iva Bittova’s occasional creative collisions with British art-rock percussionist Chris Cutler. The two will meet again on October 24 at the Polish Combatants Hall. Still others are more regular, like the Phantom Orchard project of downtown New Yorkers Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori. The combination of Mori’s laptop artistry and Parkins’ extended techniques on electric harp started coming together as Phantom Orchard around 2004, although the two have been friends and colleagues since 1988. The duo will perform on October 22 at the Music Gallery on a double bill with Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble, which provides a vehicle for this improvising guitarist, bandleader, composer, producer and organizer to explore more nuanced contexts for his compositions and ensemble-based ideas. The Convergence Ensemble, which has been recording together since 2006, will take its X Avant opportunity to release a new CD.

Rounding out the festival are two very different presentations by local, long-standing new music outfits. On October 24, Arraymusic offers a new way of hearing in collaboration with the Sound, Music, Auditory Research and Technology (SMART) Lab based at Ryerson University. The auditory research at work in this concert involves a new device called the emoti-chair – a sensory substitution technology that converts sound into a dispersion of vibrotactile information and, therefore, provides greater access to music for all people, including the hearing impaired. The chairs will be test-driven through new music by percussionist and composer Rick Sacks, alongside Arraymusic standards by Jo Kondo, Michael J. Baker and Claude Vivier.

On the festival’s closing night, Continuum will converge on a set of musical works that explore the push and pull between past and present, convention and disruption, start and stop. Compositions by Chris Paul Harman, Samuel Andreyev and Lucas Franesconi play with notions of continual inception, dissolution, truncation and perpetuation by exploiting the customs of classical music construction. As well, the concert will feature the subtly shifting colours of Fuhong Shi’s Emanations and the driving rhythms of Juan Trigos’s Pulsacion y Resonancias.

In total, X Avant asserts the Music Gallery as the central hub of Toronto’s creative music scene, and offers an intense concentration of what we can expect to find expanding across the course of the season ahead. For more information about X Avant and the Music Gallery’s 2009-2010 season visit www.musicgallery.org. For tickets visit www.ticketweb.ca, call 416-204-1080, or go to Soundscapes or Rotate This.

Jason van Eyk is the Ontario Regional Director of the Canadian Music Centre. He can be contacted at: newmusic@thewholenote.com.

16If you were a court “musician in ordinary” during Tudor and Stuart times, you’d be required to provide music for the Royal Household on any occasion, on call at any time of the day or night. And if you played the lute or sang, your duties would be in the Privy (private) Chambers, as purveyor of the gentler, more intimate music appropriate to this setting.

Toronto’s own Musicians in Ordinary have been inviting audiences into the Privy Chambers of kings and queens for many years now, to listen to the gentle and heartfelt music of John Dowland and others of the 17th and 18th centuries. And core members Hallie Fishel, voice, and John Edwards, lute and guitar, bring a wealth of scholarly activity to their performances. Fishel is in demand as a coach and lecturer on performance-practice and the place of music in early modern culture at universities and colleges across North America; Edwards is a Fellow of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto, and has given lectures and demonstrations throughout North America.

In the first concert of their eighth official season (though they’ve been together as performers for much longer than that), the Musicians in Ordinary explore, in words and music, the many facets of a condition as relevant to commoners as to royalty, and as pervasive in the 21st century as it was in the 17th: melancholy (or depression, as we today might perhaps think of it). Two famous personnages are represented: English composer John Dowland, who expressed deeply felt emotions with exquisite originality in his songs for voice and lute; and Robert Burton, vicar in Oxford and then rector of Seagrave, who published in 1621 the first version of his book The Anatomy of Melancholy.

Apparently both men were subject to bouts of despair. But fortunately, both also had a spectacular sense of humour, and the dark and tragic aspects of melancholy were by no means the only ones they dealt with. The Anatomy abounds in all sorts of unexpected references, from goblins to the geography of America, and is obviously a very entertaining treatise to read. Dowland’s lute songs display a wide range of temperaments and are collectively one of the pinnacles of 17th-century English song. We can fully expect that the Musicians in Ordinary will present a wide-ranging spectrum in their concert.

Fortunately too, Fishel and Edwards have David Klausner as their collaborator in this performance. Klausner, who is a professor in the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies and Department of English (and who was one of the original members of the Toronto Consort), will read from The Anatomy of Melancholy. His delivery of the text is described by Edwards as “stentorian.”

The performance takes place on October 10 at 8:00pm in the Heliconian Hall.

Purcell’s Fantasias for Viols

In the autumn of the 350th anniversary of Purcell’s birth, the Toronto Consort presents music he wrote in the spring of his life: the Fantasias for viols. These were almost all composed in the summer of 1680 (some dated precisely); and as far as one can tell, came into being as Purcell’s challenge to himself, to affirm his mastery of what was by then an archaic form. They are masterpieces of contrapuntal writing in the old style, a summing up of what had gone before and was now abandoned in favour of newer styles. This is not music for casual enjoyment. Be prepared to enter an introspective world of rare sonic palate (from three to seven viols), music that will reward you for listening intently to its great beauty.

Les Voix Humaines and friends perform on the beautiful Hart House viols (featured in last month’s column). The concerts take place on October 30 and 31, 8:00pm, at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre.

Some of the many other interesting early music performances this month are:

October 3, 7:00pm: The Elmer Iseler Singers, with guests the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, present what seems like a lovely programme, Gibbons to Gospel, including music by Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons, Whitacre and Tomkins, as well as gospel repertoire.

October 10, 8:00pm: In their own take on melancholia, the ever-daring I Furiosi Baroque Ensemble presents In Corpore Sano with guests, oboist Marco Cera and Jonathan Addleman, harpsichord.

17

October 15 to 17 at 8pm, October 18 at 3:30: Taflemusik’s Sizzling Strings offers music by Corelli, Vivaldi and C.P.E. Bach, and reaches into the 19th century with music of Mendelssohn. Violinist Aisslinn Nosky is the featured soloist.

October 17, 7:30pm in Barrie: Barrie Concerts presents Baroque Gypsies. Montreal’s Ensemble Caprice perform music from their repertoire, which no doubt will include samples from their 2009 Juno award-winning Vivaldi CD. Their members are shining lights in the early music world: Matthias Maute, recorder, baroque flute and composer;

November 3, 12:10pm: You have a chance to hear samplings of the Toronto Masque Theatre’s work, in U of T’s Voice Performance Class series – a free concert in Walter Hall.

To avoid melancholy one must avoid idleness, states Robert Burton; so grab a friend and heigh yourselves off to some of these concerts, and others that will be presented this month. Full details can be found in The WholeNote’s daily listings sections both in print and online.

Simone Desilets is a long-time contributor to The WholeNote in several capacities, who plays the viola da gamba. She can be contacted at earlymusic@thewholenote.com.

18aOctober opens with the continuation of the eighth annual Small World Music Festival which began in late September. Remaining shows include Beyond the Pale klezmer fusion band at Lula Lounge, October 1; and Parno Graszt gypsy band, October 2, also at Lula.As well, there’s Music, Movement and Mythical Creatures, a childrens’ show with bellydancer Roula Said and friends, October 3 at Harbourfront’s Lakeside Terrace; Saeid Shanbehzadeh, Persian music and dance, also October 3, at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre; and Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village, a multicultural kids’ show with Chris McKhool, October 4 at the Lakeside Terrace.

Also on October 4, Africa New Music presents Festival Bana y’Afrique, a free outdoor celebration of African music and culture, at Metro Hall Square (near King and John streets). The line-up of performers includes JP-BUSE from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Blaise La Bamba, also from Congo, Madagascar Slim & Kintana Gasy, Valu David from Angola, Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba (Cameroon), Akwaba Cultural Dance Group (Ivory Coast), Kgomotso “KG” Tsatsi (jazz singer) and more. The festival runs from 1 to 10 pm. See www.africanewmusic.org for more details.

18bProbably the most exciting event in Toronto’s musical landscape this fall has been the opening of the Royal Conservatory’s new concert venue, Koerner Hall. And to celebrate this event, a concert series featuring local, national and international stars has been launched and continues throughout this season. A number of world music acts have been programmed – and among them, none other than world renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar will grace the stage on October 17, along with his daughter Anoushka Shankar. The elder Shankar is probably India’s best known musical ambassador, and for over five decades he’s collaborated with the late renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and composer Philip Glass, and has composed three concertos for sitar and orchestra. An accomplished sitarist in her own right, Anoushka Shankar has explored musical linkages between Indian classical music and electronics, jazz, flamenco, and western art-music.

The same evening at Roy Thomson Hall, Spanish guitarist Paco Peña presents a show titled A Compás (Primal Pulse), with his troupe of three dancers, a singer, three guitarists and percussion in an exploration of flamenco rhythms.

The month comes to an end with another African drum and dance festival: Baobab Afrikan Arts presents Mandingue Summit, October 29 to November 1. Mandingue refers to the people of the ancient empire of Mali, which in the 13th century encompassed the countries known today as Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. The festival presents local artists who specialize in the Mandigue style of drumming and dancing, as well as film screenings, cuisine, and drum and dance workshops. Visit www.baobabafrikanarts.org and our listings for more details.

Karen Ages is an oboist who has also been a member of world music ensembles. She can be contacted at: worldmusic@thewholenote.com.

22In last month’s issue we mentioned the superb organization of the summertime-only Uxbridge Community Concert Band (UCCB). After their final concert of the season the local newspaper, Uxbridge Cosmos, published an editorial praising the band and its tireless director as assets to the community. To quote a few excerpts from Editor Conrad Boyce.

All of them sacrifice a summer evening each week , some of them coming from considerable distances for the sake of a couple of concerts at the end of a season. So it’s not just the opportunity to perform that attracts them to UCCB, and not just the need to keep up their playing and music-reading skills over the summer break. So what is it that makes the band get bigger every year, and brings many of its members back year after year – ? The clue came towards the end of Sunday’s concert, when both band and audience spontaneously rose for an ovation to the UCCB’s director Steffan Brunette.”

As the editor pointed out, Steffan is a school teacher who conducts music classes at school from September to June, and teachers are supposed to have summers to escape. “How can he get a real vacation if he has a rehearsal every week?” The answer to this and other questions is obvious: “His love of music tops all other priorities.”

Two significant band events in October show similar commitments to community involvement by a number of bands in their own and neighbouring communities. Both are, in a number of ways, commemorating anniversaries.

The first takes place in the Town of Ajax. There, the town will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first major naval battle of World War II. The Battle of the River Plate, off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay, saw three light cruisers of the Royal Navy, the Ajax, Achilles and Exeter, take on the much more powerful German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. When the wartime shell-filling plant was built on farm land East of Toronto, the new small town was named after the British cruiser Ajax.

No fewer than five bands with differing affiliations will be performing at the parade and monument unveiling ceremony on Sunday, October 4. The Cobourg Concert Band, in their role as official band of the Royal Marines Association, will be joined by the band of Toronto’s Naval Reserve Division, HMCS York, the pipes and drums of Canadian Legion Oshawa Branch 34 and the Harwood Sea Cadet Corps. This cadet corps is named after Commodore Sir Henry Harwood, the commander of that British force at the Battle of the River Plate in 1939. At the site of the new memorial, visitors will be entertained by the Pickering Concert Band. For details of this event visit the Town of Ajax web site at www.townofajax.com.

23The second Anniversary event entitled More Tunes of Glory takes place at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday, October 25. This 20th Annual Massed Military Band Spectacular, sponsored by the Royal Canadian Military Institute, will feature 11 massed military bands, and pipes and drums of the Toronto Garrison. On the anniversary side, this concert will include a salute to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robbie Burns. Doors and military displays open at 12:30 pm, and the concert begins at 2:00 pm.

Bill Patton, formerly of the Lydian Wind Ensemble, informs us that the new Community Concert Band of Whitby is now prospering. After struggling to maintain a one-to-a-part ensemble, it was decided to form a completely new band. With the blessing of the remaining five charter members from 1998 it was decided to seek a new beginning. The activities of the Lydian Wind Ensemble were terminated in March 2008 with an officially registered name change. Bill then advertised for the formulation of a new community band, and on January 29 the first rehearsal with 20 members took place.

Their first concert in April, 2009 was performed by 24 members. They now have 36 members ready for the coming season. Of these, only 12 play or have played in another band. The rest are all people who played in high school or university and, after establishing themselves in business and family now have time to play again. The Community Concert Band of Whitby’s 2009 /2010 concert season begins with the return to rehearsals 7:30 to 9:30 pm Thursdays under the direction of conductor Stewart Anderson. They are still welcoming prospective members. Visit their web site www.communityconcertbandofwhitby.ca, or contact the secretary at patton62@sympatico.ca, 905-666-3169.

From Newmarket we have a message from Joe Mariconda about the start of new beginners band and orchestra for adults. Here’s his message: Did you play music in high school? Do you think about playing the instrument you have in your closet. If so bring your instrument out of the closet and join a concert band for adults. You must bring your own music stand and instrument. Tuesday’s class will focus on brasswind/woodwind instruments. Thursday’s class will focus on wind/string instruments. All sheets of music will be provided. For information phone 905-895-5193 or e-mail at joemariconda@gmail.com.

Definition Department

Some months ago, while attending a rehearsal, one member of our group asked the conductor how he was supposed to know the meaning of the many musical terms which he found on his music. When the conductor suggested that he might look at the bottom of the music folder he was using, the band member sheepishly found the information required.

However, to assist with those more obscure terms not found on most folders, we have decided to provide a new definition in each issue. This month’s musical term is Allaregretto: “When you are 16 measures into the piece and realize that you took too fast a tempo.” We invite submissions from readers.

Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments, and has performed in many community ensembles. He can be contacted at: bandstand@thewholenote.com.

Last month I wrote about the general decline in jazz clubs, and the concert hall or festival stage having become almost the only way of seeing and hearing “name” performers.

It got me thinking about the early days of jazz in Canada when, in fact, there were no jazz clubs as we have come to know them. For much of the following historical information I am greatly indebted to Mark Miller and his richly informative book about the early development of jazz in Canada: Such Melodious Racket, a must-have if you’re interested in the history of the music.

Toronto has a wealth of theatre history and plays a role in bringing ragtime, which was a precursor to jazz, to Canadian audiences. Shea’s Victoria was built in 1910 at the southeast corner of Victoria and Richmond, and with 1,140 seats was considerably larger than the original Shea’s Theatre on lower Yonge St. In 1911 a group called  the Musical Spillers played a week there, sharing the bill with humourist Will Rogers. The Spillers had been touring the Pantages circuit, featuring “original ‘rag time’ music on six saxophones, three cornets, three trombones and six hundred dollars worth of xylophones.” In the same year, a saxophone ensemble called the Brown Brothers, sons of Canadian cornetist and bandmaster Allan W. Brown also played Shea’s with the Gertrude Hoffman Revue.

The next Shea’s Theatre stood from 1914-1956 on its new location, (a fire destroyed the previous theatre on Victoria Street), on Bay Street opposite old City Hall, until it was demolished in 1957 for new City Hall. Incidentally, the pipe organ was eventually relocated to Casa Loma. With 3,663 seats it was one of the largest vaudeville theatres in the world – one of the big four, including the Orpheum in Los Angeles, Loew’s State and the Palace in New York, and it attracted the best vaudeville acts. In late 1917 a group called the Verrnon Five, “expert exponents of the new music known as jazz,” appeared there, and the Toronto Globe reviewer wrote that they “succeeded at times in making a diabolical noise, thus justifying their claims to [being] a ‘Jazz’ company.”

It would be a major overstatement to call these events jazz concerts, but for thousands of people it was their first introduction to this new music. (The jazz concert as a formal occasion came to Toronto much later – at the Eaton Auditorium in October of 1945, a month before Charlie Parker’s first appearance at Massey Hall.) So, in a sense, we’ve gone full circle, from early “jazz” being presented in theatres to jazz being presented in concert halls. It has to be remembered, of course, that in those early days there were no jazz clubs in Toronto to go out of business!

Toronto the Good

When we talk about alcohol we think of prohibition and speakeasies in the U.S., but not everyone thinks of Canada – although Ontario, for example, introduced Prohibition measures from 1916 to 1927. There were exceptions however. Ontario’s wineries were exempted, and many breweries and distilleries remained open to serve the export market. It was also possible to ask your doctor for a prescription of rum or whisky – strictly for “medicinal” purposes, of course. This sort of legislation reminds me of the old joke: “Why did the Canadian cross the road?” “To get to the middle!”

Even when I arrived in Toronto in the mid-60s I can remember my amazement when I went to my first official liquor store (to this day a government monopoly) where there were no bottles on display. It was illegal to have even a glimpse of the liquid pleasures in store – and I had to fill in a form giving my name, address and what I wanted to purchase. It was a far cry from the Glasgow I had left; but that was then and thank goodness things have changed.

Footnote: In a conversation with Mark Miller before finishing this piece, he told me that he had unearthed some interesting information, after Such Melodious Racket had been published. At 14 King Street East, opposite the King Edward Hotel, in the years 1917-18 there was an establishment called the Cafe Royal that imported jazz bands from the United States!

24aSee  Hear

The partnership between jazz and visual arts has been a sometime feature of programming at the McMichael Gallery. On October 18, 2009 at 1:30 you can enjoy an afternoon of jazz with Tara Davidson, and on November 1st the featured artist will be Alberta-born Colleen Allen. They’re both outstanding reed players representative of the younger generation of established and highly creative players on the local and international scene. The Gallery is at 10365 Islington Ave., Kleinburg. 905-893-1121.

24bMeanwhile, the Jazz Vespers at Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street, continue and on Sunday, October 11, 2009, Joe Sealy (piano) and Paul Novotny (bass) will be featured, followed by the Dixie Demons on the 18th, and Tara Davidson and Mike Murley on the 25th.

Degrees of jazz

The University of Toronto continues its presentation of Small Jazz Ensembles on Wednesday evenings, at 7:30pm in Walter Hall in the Edward Johnson Building.

There’s no admission fee and you have a chance to hear the work of the next generation of musicians. Also, one of the clubs where young players have a chance to get their feet wet in the school of hard knocks and mix with established players is The Rex on Queen Street West, which continues to programme 19 bands per week, including top student ensembles.

There is music out there, so get out and hear some of it live.

Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and Artistic Director of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival. He can be contacted at: jazznotes@thewholenote.com.

39stevewardThere might be a growing number of spots around town that serve polite jazz with your dinner, as inspired by Diana Krall’s, but not many rooms specifically cater to free, avant-garde, or experimental branches of the music. Thankfully for those who enjoy straying from the mainstream, trombonist-composer Steve Ward (www.myspace.com/stevewardtrombone) has been booking live music at the Tequila Bookworm at 512 Queen Street West.

Currently enrolled in the Jazz Performance Masters program at the University of Toronto, Ward maintains a busy schedule as a performer, composer and teacher. I emailed Ward some questions about booking the room.

How did the music policy at the Tequila Bookworm come to be?

I started booking jazz here last July, and originally I was booking one act a week. Eventually the owner and I agreed to expand the policy to three nights a week, and now four. The rent is extremely high on Queen St W so therefore it was hard to get any money out of Tequila for the bands, etc which is why we have pay-what-you-can shows.

What are musical characteristics you look for when booking?

Enthusiasm, sincerity, creativity. Artists looking to evolve creatively in a live setting, that aren’t looking for a brainless jobber.

What are the greatest strengths of the room itself?

Since I have no financial quota to fill I’m able to be adventurous with my programming. I’m interested in an environment where ideas are shared and challenged. Culture! The arts! It’s time.

What are some of the challenges of the room?

One of the biggest challenges is communicating with the audience. Since we’re playing for the tip jar it is important to be able to communicate with our audience and give them context of why we’re making the music that we are. Most times its types of music they have little knowledge of, so it’s time to educate!

Three acts you would recommend to readers for this month and why?

Tuesday September 8th: Lee Mason (from Amsterdam). Its always cool when a group from another part of the world wants to put on a show at a venue you book. Very interesting sounds. Shouldn’t be missed. www.myspace.com/leemason

Saturday September 12: Chris Cawthray Trio. Its going to be a CD release, & I’m proud that Chris decided to have it at Tequila. They groove hard.  www.chriscawthray.com

Friday September 25: MiMo. These guys are great!!! Nothing like processing sounds underwater in a big bucket. You got to see it to believe it.www.mimomusic.com, www.myspace.com/mimoonmyspace

Ward’s passion for this music is apparent not only in his playing but also in his booking. “I don’t get paid to do this, and I have no other help. My motivation is art, it’s what keeps me breathing. Please come support live music. ... Also we might be moving in the next couple of months so watch out on our website and Facebook for more info to come!!”

For all the news, including a possible change of location, visit: http://tequilabookworm.blogspot.com/

 

Looking to expand your own musical horizons but don’t know where to start? Below is a short list (by no means comprehensive) of commuity education organizations offering classes in a variety of world music traditions.

28Sora

But first, some concert highlights for this month. The 8th Annual Small World Music Festival runs September 24 to October 4 at various venues, and features 23 artists from 20 countries, including Zakir Hussain with Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer (September 29, part of the Grand Opening concert series at the RCM’s new Koerner Hall), Tasa, Bajofondo, Electric Gypsyland, Beyond the Pale, Omnesia Live, to name just a few. See our listings, or visit www.smallworldmusic.com for full details. The Klezmer Kids, from Winnipeg, perform September 12 at the Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Ave., followed by a workshop the next day. (www.winchevskycentre.org or call 416-789-5502); and KlezFactor, Toronto’s “alternative” klezmer band, performs at the Tranzac Club, September 29. Finally, Bernardo Padron and his band are at Hugh’s Room, October 1 (Venezuelan influenced jazz, with Alan Hetherington, Mark Duggan, Marylin Lerner and Andrew Downing).

Arabesque Academy

1 Gloucester Street, Suite 107

416-920-5593

www.arabesquedance.ca

In addition to being one of the best places in the city to study the art of belly dance, (including an auditioned professional course), Arabesque Academy offers classes in Arabic instrumental music. At the time of writing, the fall schedule was not available, but check their website for updates. Music classes are offered by noted local Arabic musicians Dr. George Sawa, Bassam Bishara and Suleiman Warwar on a variety of traditional instruments including dumbek, Qanoon, Naye, Oud, Voice, Violin, Saz, as well as history and theory.

Clapping Land – songs, movement and rhythm for young children

Sophia Grigoriadis

416-220-8161

sophia@clappingland.com

www.clappingland.com

“Through moving, singing and instrument play, music opens those crucial pathways for your child’s language and social development and physical coordination, giving opportunities for creative thinking and exploration.” Classes begin soon in the following age ranges: Newborn to 18 months; 18 months to 3 years; 3 to 5 years. Check the website for schedules and registration.

Gamelan Degung Sora Priangan

“Voice of the Spirit of the Ancestral Mountains”

Arraymusic studio, 60 Atlantic Ave. Suite 218 (rehearsal location)

atmar@istar.ca (Andrew Timar, contact)

Sora Priangan is the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan’s community group, directed by Andrew Timar. The instruments and repertoire are indigenous to the highland Sundanese people of West Java, Indonesia. Sora Priangan’s mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation of the gamelan degung music of West Java, and the unique repertoire commissioned by its parent group, the Evergreen Club. Membership is open to the public, and the group presents concerts and workshops. Rehearsals are Tuesdays 6-9 pm.

Kathak Dance

355 College St., second floor

416-504-7082

joanna@mdo-tte.org

www.mdo-tte.org

In partnership with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Joanna de Souza offers classes in North Indian Kathak dance, from beginner to professional levels, in the Kensington Market area. For full schedule and registration, visit the website.

Koffler Centre of the Arts

Prosserman JCC’s Donald Gales Family Pavilion

4588 Bathurst St

416-638-1881 x4269

registration@kofflerarts.org

www.kofflerarts.org

In addition to a number of music classes and workshops offered by the Koffler Centre, new this fall is the opening season of the Toronto Jewish Chorus, under the direction of Judy Adelman Gershon. Auditions to be held in the fall.

Miles Nadal JCC

750 Spadina Ave., at Bloor

416-924-6211

info@mnjcc.org

www.milesnadaljcc.ca

In addition to a vast array of recreational and cultural activities, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre offers a number of music classes, including a Community Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Klezmer Ensemble. See their website for schedules.

RCM Conservatory School

273 Bloor St. West

www.rcmusic.ca

Back in their newly renovated old location, the Royal Conservatory offers a number of community classes in world music traditions, inbcluding Brazilian Samba, Celtic-Canadian Fiddling, Latin Jazz, Taiko Drumming, and a World Music Chorus. Visit their website, click on “brouse courses,” then “world music” for schedules and registration.

Samba Kidz

Drum Artz Studio, 27 Primrose Ave. (Dupont/Dufferin)

416-538-6342

info@drumartz.com

www.sambakidz.com

www.drumartz.com

Run by Drum Artz Canada, the Samba Kidz fall 2009 session begins September 29, Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30pm. This multi-arts programme for kids aged 7-14 encompasses group-inspired world drumming, steel pan, dance and visual art projects culminating in performance opportunities throughout the city.

Samba Squad

Drum Artz Studio, 27 Primrose Ave. (Dupont/Dufferin)

slamdog@sympatico.ca

www.sambasquad.com

Lead by Rick Lazar, Samba Squad offers workshops in Brazilian Samba (beginners welcome) most Sundays all year round from 11:30am to 1:30pm. No need to sign up in advance. Instruments are provided. Bring your own ear plugs and a tape recorder if you wish. Some “graduates” become members of Samba Squad itself.

Toronto Tabla Ensemble

43riteshdas355A College St. West

riteshdas@tablaensemble.com

www.tablaensemble.com

416-504-7082 x1

Ritesh Das offers classes in North Indian tabla drumming, from beginner to professional levels, in the Kensington Market area. See the website for full schedule and registration.

Worlds of Music Toronto

416-588-8813

info@worldsofmusic.ca

For years, Worlds of Music has been a wonderful source of world music classes and workshops in a wide variety of traditions. At time of writing, the fall schedule does not appear to be in place; but do check their website or call for details.

 

As I return to the keyboard after my summer hiatus it was suggested that the WholeNote columnists focus on the significant new developments which were anticipated for their beats in the coming weeks. In my case that meant what interesting musical happenings were on the horizon for September and perhaps into October. After a brief and very unscientific survey of the community bands and orchestras I came up cold. Not a single communiqué reached my mailbox to tell of an exciting musical event to herald the advent of the fall season. Similarly, telephone queries drew blanks.

27 bandstandThis doesn’t mean that our community groups are languishing in some sort of apathetic stupor. On the contrary, almost without exception they are busy planning for a new season. However, for most, that season does not include any significant performances until well into the autumn, when leaves on the trees have started to change colour. It’s the start of a new rehearsal season. That is the big event.

By now, most ensembles will have established their schedule of regular concerts and may have come up with a basic framework of the sort of repertoire. In the coming months they’ll undoubtedly add extra performances as they are invited to perform for a variety of functions. What is the process of selecting the repertoire? Does the music director perform that function in isolation or is it a committee decision? Are all members invited in on the process, or are they in the dark until the music appears in the concert folders? In music selection how does one strike a balance between appeal to audiences and appeal to band or orchestra members? We know of one community group where those decisions rest almost solely with the librarian. Who should decide? Why not establish a repertoire and programme committee for your group?

Yes concert performances are important, but for most members, rehearsals fulfill an important social function. Rehearsal night is an evening out to make music with like-minded friends. This brings up the matter of difficulty level. What difficulty level is appropriate for the majority of group members? Should a rehearsal be simply an entertaining evening out to make music with friends or a challenge to the musical abilities of the members?

Should every concert have a distinctive theme, or just consist of a balanced, pleasing musical experience? While I have participated in some “themed” concerts, many, in my estimation, have fallen flat with a jungle of disjointed works that don’t provide the audience with the sense of a pleasant integration.

Are guest performers desired? Certainly they are, if they enhance the quality and variety of the experience for both the audience and the band or orchestra members. To not have soloists would remove from concert programmes a vast array of wonderful music featuring instrumental and vocal soloists. On the other hand, what about visiting ensembles? It’s not uncommon for community ensembles to invite other groups to perform as guests. If this enhances the musical experience, that is fine. However, I know of more than one such occasion where the principal motive was to fill more seats with the families and friends of the visiting group. Musical merit was secondary.

On the subject of rehearsals, my personal preference is for rehearsals that provide both a performance challenge and some pleasant melodies to remain in my head as I wend my way home. I have some anecdotal memories of rehearsals in which I was involved covering the spectrum from excellent to appalling. Let’s start with two in the appalling category.

The first occurred many years ago in a community symphony orchestra. I arrived well in advance of the scheduled 8:00pm start time, set my music on the stand, warmed up and awaited the downbeat. The conductor, a string player, started by working with the string sections on some sections where they were having difficulty. I listened with my trombone on my lap as the string players were coached on bowing techniques etc. I played my very first note at 9:30pm. I never returned.

In another community symphony, I arrived well in advance of the scheduled downbeat only to find that the librarian had forgotten all of the low brass music at home. Rather that offer to rush home to retrieve the music, it  was suggested that I “come back next week.” I didn’t.

On the excellent side, I had the pleasure, for many years, of playing under the guidance of the late Clifford Poole. From Gilbert and Sullivan pit orchestras to the York Regional Symphony, Cliff was always considerate and sympathetic to the concerns of all of his orchestra members. Rehearsals began with sections requiring all orchestra members and ended with those components requiring only the strings. In that way every member played until there were no more notes for them to play. Rather than sit around listening to other sections labouring over difficult parts, these members were free to leave when they had nothing more to do.

Also on the excellent side is the young conductor Steffan Brunette and his Uxbridge Community Concert Band (UCCB). Unlike the vast majority of community groups we discuss here, this is a summertime-only ensemble. After their final concert on August 30, members folded their respective tents and went back to their regular fall and winter groups until next May. This conductor is the most organized of any I’ve had the pleasure to work with. At the first rehearsal of the season every member is given his or her music folder for the season. In addition to the music, the folder contains a sheet with the complete rehearsal and performance schedule, detailing which selections will be rehearsed each night. Also included is a sheet covering all information from rehearsal expectations, contact phone numbers to concert information and membership fees.

Earlier, mention was made of concert programmes with a theme. The UCCB has an interesting theme this year. “The Classical Connection” features works by Bach, Beethoven, Fauré and Mozart. In contrast, we have works by contemporary composers which, if not directly inspired by these, took some inspiration from the form. The Bach Toccata in D Minor is paired with Frank Erickson’s popular Toccata for Band, The Fauré Pavane is contrasted with Morton Gould’s Pavane, and other masters are similarly paired. It works well for both the performers and the audiences.

Please write to us: bandstand@thewholenote.com

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