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Mike Cochrane, SPO bass, was one of the musicians who gathered this past Sunday at All Saints Church on Saltspring to remember our friend and fellow musician, Jean Knight, and he sent us a few words about the memorial.

J K

                                     .

 THIS IS JEAN

A pale sunlit afternoon, the welcoming vestibule of All Saints-by-the-Sea.

This coolly pleasant January.

        This is Jean’s church.

There in the sanctuary a smile: compelling, magnetic, irresistible.

Her beauty, alluring, delicate.

        This is Jean not so long ago.

And there is another photo:

Jean’s smile ever more invincible… ever more gracious.

        This is Jean now.

Jean the den mother. Nurturing her “kits”.

Those seconds Norman met.

        This is Vancouver Jean.

The Elgar Serenade; profound

Inevitability of life’s passage.

        There is Jean playing second.

And Mozart, carefree, cheerful, cheeky; Jean all over.

I believe she’s dancing, sharing joy, as we play.

        This is the Jean we know.

In my tiny cramped place as I play, a daisy is misplaced

From the vase behind my Bass. Detached from its stem

It rests like a delicate white posy at my feet.

The Service concludes – retrieving my fragile posy I place

Her back in her family’s vase, Jean smiling from her portrait.

        This is Jean.

Mike Cochrane played his bass at the memorial.

Mike Cochrane played his bass at the memorial. (Brenda Knight, photo.)

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Norman and Anne working with young string players

Norman and Anne working with young string players

Playing a musical instrument is good for the brain; research has shown this. Norman Nelson, Lorna Bjorklund and Anne McDougall are planning to implement this idea with Sooke youngsters, particularly those who lack support or resources; who are, in the words of the organisers, “under-served”.

The U.S.-based Harmony Project has developed a method to put these new findings about brain development and music into practice. It has been successfully set up in urban schools in Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. Lorna and Anne went to L.A. in the fall to see the projects first-hand and meet some of the teachers involved.

Anne is the concertmaster of the SPO

Anne is the concertmaster of the SPO

We all know Anne, our concertmaster. Lorna, of course, is the Journey Middle School music teacher who is responsible for their extremely successful string and band programs. Norman and the Sooke Philharmonic Society are fully on board.

Lorna is the music teacher at Journey Middle School

Lorna is the music teacher at Journey Middle School

Norman was introduced to the program through the Ernest Lieblich Foundation, and he immediately saw its enormous potential to make a positive change in young people’s lives.

“If things go through as planned, this will be the first instance in Canada of the fast-developing Harmony Project, making this American endeavour an International one — on a par with the Suzuki programme. The importance of this situation should not be underestimated,“  Norman said, just back from meetings with the Harmony people and the  Ernest Lieblich people, in California.

Youngsters who are interested and willing to make certain basic commitments can be accepted in the program as early as Grade 2. The child must agree to attend his or her music lessons and music classes, to take care of the musical instrument, and to demonstrate responsible behaviour generally. The music program stays with the student through school, and at graduation there are university scholarships available.

The purpose of the Harmony program is not to turn out musicians; it is literally to develop young brains. Of the 2014 Harmony graduates in L.A., no fewer than 97% were accepted into four-year college or university programs.  This is not because they were pre-selected as kids who would do well, but because, as music students in the Harmony program, they developed the ability to do well. Music develops intellectual skills that have been shown to be good for academic subjects like reading and math. Participation in the program also benefits the whole person: the kids learn how to behave in a community of musicians. And of course, the pleasure of making music can give them something to stay in school for.

The L.A. Harmony Project started out with 36 students and now has almost 2,000. The projects vary:  in L.A., projects feature drums, mariachi, and choir.

Sooke plans are to start with a string program At this point, Norman, Anne and Lorna are exploring the details and developing a budget. Instruments will need to be bought and teachers will be paid. Fundraising is just getting underway.

All Harmony projects require three partners: one is the site donor, which in Sooke is School District 62; second is the project manager and music teachers; the third Sooke partner will be Norman Nelson and the Sooke Philharmonic Society.

For more information about the American projects, go to the Harmony Project site.

It’s an intriguing and exciting prospect for all of us here in Sooke!

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Mike Cochrane writes…

With Handel’s Water Music as an opening, our concert could have been titled From Warming To Winter.  On July 17th, 1717 the Water Music premiered aboard a barge on the River Thames. The musicians’ barge trailed the King’s barge, riding a vigorous flood tide from Whitehall Palace to Chelsea.  There the King disembarked upon an “errand” and the musicians and Handel, no doubt, relocated to a local to await the completion of the errand. The King’s return journey, now upon the ebb, commenced around 11.00 pm, accompanied by an encore Water Music performance. Handel might well have composed an additional movement for the Water Music return cruise, “At The Pub Awaiting “, possibly another hornpipe…!  The need for large numbers of players for a performance to be heard over water accentuates the marvelous vigour and robustness of everything Handel.  Our selection of movements from the Water Music Suite #1 shows off the robust playing of our horn players, the fine playing of our woodwinds and the vigorous playing of the strings.

Bach’s Air from the Orchestral Suite #3 in D continues our warming to winter theme. The familiar tranquil melody floats above a gentle ground base. Leaping and diving octaves below the serene melody seem full of repose. You could drown in this lovely Air, but it’s a sunny afternoon in late summer with a mild breeze… punting… punting on the mirror that is the River Cam.

Teleman

Telemann

George Phillipe Telemann, a contemporary of Bach and Handel, was equally prolific in producing both sacred and secular music, and was in fact the wealthiest and most famous composer of the day. Although he lived entirely in Germany there’s something Italianate in his music. Being self-taught and studying Corelli may explain the texture, structure and style of much of his string music.

Rae Gallimore at the Concerto Competition

Rae Gallimore at the Concerto Competition

Here’s what Rae Gallimore , our viola soloist, has to say about the Viola Concerto in G.

The Telemann Concerto was actually the first piece I learned on the Viola. I was disappointed with the technical aspect because at that time I was also learning the Khatchaturian Violin Concerto and I seemed to judge pieces by their virtuosity. However with the Telemann I learned the importance of colour and commenced my journey on how to create a great bowed articulation. I love this concerto not only from the wonderful character Telemann shares but because of the musical journey I have travelled.  Two years ago I took my first bow strokes on the viola and now I am blessed with this wonderful music..!

Nancy Washeim

Nancy Washeim

 

Our vocal performers take centre stage for the remainder of our Warming with the mellow Cantilena Pro Adventu by Haydn first up.  To Haydn a Cantilena is much like a Da Capo Aria, or repeated verses just like a Hymn. This Cantilena is a song of praise of the Virgin during Advent. Structured in Haydn’s simple “folk” style, perhaps intended for a countryside church, the work is pastoral, celebratory and yet a delicate accompaniment to the soprano soloist. We are blessed with Nancy Washeim’s soprano: her peerless intonation sparkles with the purity of white cut diamond. Vocal brilliance finely accompanied by strings, horns, bassoons and organ… a mood of gentle exaltation ensues.

Three Carols for SATB, Strings and Winds, by John Rutter, creates a lullaby sandwich with a clippety-clop filling…! The Nativity Carol sets your imagination soaring to the heavens of a Gothic Cathedral, the choir, as if choirboys, effortlessly reaching flawless high ‘A’s “.  Candles in the choir… a gloriously pure traditional carol. And then the Donkey Carol … clippety-clop. A cheerfully lopsided gait over the bumpy road, carrying Mary to Bethlehem. This of course had to be in 5/8 time… the “Gina Lollabridgida” time signature. Take out the “Gina” and Lollabridgida becomes 12, 123… or BridgidaLolla becomes 123,12.   (Thanks to Norman Nelson for this insight!)  Oh! and give a carrot when the journey’s done.

What sweeter music can we bring

Than a carol for to sing

The birth of this our heavenly King

A-Wake a voice. A-Wake a string.

 

Words by Robert Herrick (1591-1674), music by John Rutter (1945-  ) in G flat Major — that soft rich purple key. Resplendent music enhancing a beautiful poem.

And give the honour to this day

That sees December turned to May

Why does the chilling winter morn

Smile, like a field beset with corn

Or smell like a meadow newly shorn.

 

Wade Noble’s hale and hearty baritone, perfectly suited to the choral works of Handel, is no less fitting for the Fantasia of Carols.   First performed in Hereford Cathedral in 1912, it presents four English carols. Vaughan Williams scores this for full orchestra, solo baritone and chorus.  After a fine cello solo the baritone intones and gradually more instruments and voices fill out The Truth Sent from Above .The work overflows with a lustrous smooth cantabile, familiar Vaughan Williams to our ear. A joyful tempo announces, “Come All You Worthy Gentleman” with a somewhat non-Handelian robustness as we drive through to the conclusion. A lovely a capella, “Both Now and Evermore… Amen” and an impressive conclusion to our winter celebration.

Oh and keep an eye out for donkeys on the way home… !

 

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point 1

6.5” Poinsettia White, Pink or Red, $12

point 2

point 3

 

 

 

                                                       10″ Poinsettia, $30

22” Wreath, Red Berries and Bows $25

 

point 4

 10”  Holiday Tropical Planter,  $30   

point 5

 

 

These poinsettias, wreaths and planters are top quality and are from the well-known Devry Nursery on the mainland. They are delivered to the island fresh and beautiful. Not only will you be able to start your holiday decorating early, but this fundraiser will benefit the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

Please contact Margaret Lintern at mlintern@shaw.ca 250-642-6747 or Kathryn Mainguy at kathray1@gmail.com with your order.

Holiday Greenery Planter,  $40

Unfortunately we are unable to take payment online, but we can make arrangements for payment by cash or a cheque made payable to the Sooke Philharmonic Society.

To ensure that you get the plants you want, we require your order and payment by November 13.

Your plants can be picked up on Friday November 28 at the home of Margaret Lintern, 5681 Wisterwood Road East, Saseenos side of Sooke.

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Off we start with the “Lord of the Rings” Symphonic Suite, with high school string players from SD #61 and #62 in our midst. Young string players who probably know more about the likes of Melker, Gandalf and the Witch-King of Angmar, than most of the rest of us. A fitting commencement to a musical evening of Dark Lords, Wizards, Witches, Kings, Queens and Emperors… particularly Emperors.

Our soloist, Masahiro Miyauchi at the Concerto Competition. photo: Michael Nyikes

Our soloist, Masahiro Miyauchi at the Concerto Competition.
photo: Michael Nyikes

Masahiro Miyauchi…[aka “Mitchy” at Vic High School ], has been known, since childhood for hours of piano playing and building castles… Lego castles that is. Castles fit for an Emperor. When the piano lid lifts skyward, there will be Mitchy to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 in E Flat, the “Emperor”.
Named the” Emperor” by an officer in Buonaparte’s army besieging Vienna in May 1809, Beethoven, after fleeing cannon balls, completed his Piano Concerto at his brother’s place, also in Vienna. Dodging cannon balls was probably one reason why Beethoven wasn’t too keen to honor Napoleon with a Piano Concerto.
Imperial, magnificent and splendiferous are not inappropriate descriptions of this concerto and Masahiro, considering his age, justifies this description through his rendering.

The Man
“Now he will become a tyrant like all the others”, raged Beethoven in 1804, as he ripped off the title page from the score of Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major. Now here’s a Symphony breaking new ground… expressive; gigantic in scale; profound… heroic by original intent with the hero disregarded. By 1806 for the first public performance the title page read “Composed to celebrate the memory of a great man”.
Orchestral musicians consider the Eroica profoundly challenging. As if a battle is raging… all the instruments battling… musical cannon balls flung around with menacing intent… Napoleon losing his struggle with heroism.
Our very own Norman Nelson has a recollection of a performance recording of Eroica some few years ago. “One memorable occasion not easily forgotten, occurred during the London Symphony’s recording session of the work with, I believe, Solti conducting. The towering first movement, on average 14 minutes of glorious slog… was finally rehearsed enough to put on disc, and so we gave it our best. After the mandatory 5 seconds of silence in the hall, we all relaxed and began reaching for the cigarettes, when a familiar voice came over the speaker from the recording room with the shattering question… “Are you ready to record now?”
ENOUGH SAID INDEED….! Mike Cochran

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If you receive alerts about new posts on SPOtlight in your email inbox, you may be confused about the Saturday concert. We showed the date as June 29th by mistake.

The concert at the Community Hall will take place on June 28th, Saturday night, at 7:30.

The High School is closed because of the strike.

We apologise for the mistake.

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communityHall-Xmasside[1]

The ongoing labour dispute between the teachers and the province has made the High School a no-go zone for the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

We hope you will enjoy the June 28th concert in the new venue!

Sooke Community Hall
2037 Shields Rd
The community hall is opposite the Legion on Eustace Rd and across from Mom’s Café.
Concert time is unchanged, at 7:30 p.m.
SEE YOU THERE!

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