blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Family Day at the music festival

Juxtapositions galore, yesterday. It was the free entry family day of the Music and Beyond festival, held at the university under the ubiquitous red and blue balloons. The organisers had even "planted" flowers in the gardens –– coloured sheet music turned into pinwheels.

Lois Siegel with a young audience
For five hours, musical things were happening both indoors and outdoors. Once the key to unlock the piano keyboard had been found after a 15 minute delay while the organisers hunted for it, I saw the Vienna Trio playing in the Tabaret Hall (see my previous blogpost). Next came four female singers of Tapestry on their third visit to Music and Beyond, each member of the a capella group standing in a corner of the hall to enhance the polyphony before they met together on the stage.  They were singing in Latin: two extracts from a contemporary composition, The Nine Orders of the Angels by Patricia van Ness of Boston. Their middle song was an arrangement of a lullaby from Montenegro, Lyulyala, Lyulyala. In another room on the ground floor I found Lois Siegel of the Fiddle Chicks, entertaining visiting children with a performance on the spoons.

In the auditorium at Perez Hall across the road, I watched a series of displays of Russian dancing, to recorded music. Between dances, a tall young lady in a long, Russian dress sang soulful, Russian art songs. In a lecture hall elsewhere in that building the versatile saxophone quartet "Sax Appeal" played arrangements of Bach, an Irish jig, The Pink Panther and Fly Me To The Moon. I liked their versatility, their trilbies and their sense of humour. Sitting beside me, a boy my grandson's age observed them with rapt attention and answered all their questions.

Families watching outdoor musicians
Outside, in the university grounds, the young audience was watching a gentleman playing a piece called "Old Joe Clark” on a banjo, with a lady dancing: these people were the Celtic Rathskallions. Some of the kids were later allowed to have a go on their banjo and harp. Seven members of the Nepean Panharmonic Steel band were playing outside the Perez Hall and another of the outdoor shows was a complete Balinese gamelan orchestra. Snacks and drinks were on sale, salespeople from a musical instrument shop were allowing children to try out their fiddles, trombones and such, and a van from Ottawa's Bookmobile library fleet was taking the opportunity to advertise its services too.

Celtic Rathskallions with fascinated toddlers watching

In the numerous rehearsal rooms of the Music faculty at the university, a variety of mini-recitals were taking place, which, with the doors open, made rather a cacophony. One was by a third year student of Paul Merleyn, Jaeyoung Chong, on the electric 'cello, playing an extraordinary piece called "Raindrops" that he had composed himself for this instrument, its voice electronically duplicated 18 times. I caught two of Frédéric Lacroix' students giving a performance of a Quilter's lovely song, Come Away Death, the singer a bearded baritone and Evelyn Greenberg accompanying a 'cellist playing Fauré's Après un rêve. This experience was making me decidedly nostalgic, for one reason or another. I heard another young 'cellist playing music my son used to play –– the Swan from Carnival of the Animals, and Squire's lively Tarantella.

On the third and fourth floors, they had more musicians than space, so that some had to play in the corridors or, like the young ensemble Musicalement Fleet (siblings), on violin, harp and 'cello, squeezed into a corner outside the elevator doors. A strings tutor was accompanying much younger children on his 'cello, the little girl wearing face paint but taking her turn very seriously. I was glad to see how well he had taught his pupils to hold their violins.

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