Feb 23, 2011

Ontario Tour - Feb 23, 2011

Charlotte Nediger (harpsichord)

We change directions today and head west for two days of school shows, first in St. Mary’s and then in Windsor. St. Mary’s brings us closer to my home turf than we usually get – my hometown is Seaforth, in Huron County 50 kilometres to the north, and I spent much of my childhood in London, 40 kilometres to the south. We played two school shows today, one for grades 3-6, and a second for grades 7-9. The kids were great, and the atmosphere in the school was fantastic. Little Falls Public School is a newly built school, just opening at Thanksgiving this year, and is an amalgamation of two previous schools. Such amalgamations often get off to a rocky start, but clearly not this one. We were all very impressed.

At the start of the “Go for Baroque” show, Jeanne compares the orchestra to a hockey team, with her as captain, the first and second violins/oboes as right and left wingers, the violas as centres, and the continuo section as the defence, including Alison on double bass as goalie. The point is to show how we all have different roles to play, but work together as a team. It’s a great ice-breaker (no pun intended!), as there aren’t too many Canadian kids who aren’t familiar with hockey! We move from the arena to the kitchen, as Jeanne compares the act of composing to baking a pie, with the children offering up suggestions (basses playing the bottom crust, violas the apples, etc.). Bach never tasted so good! We go on to explore the ability of music to make us feel different emotions, something the children are able to figure out immediately, arguably more intuitively than adults. And then the orchestra heads out amongst the students, playing a Lully Chaconne directly to them from back, sides, middle and front – the ultimate “surround sound.” Finally, Aisslinn Nosky replaces her violin with a drum and gets the kids clapping to our last piece, a rousing tambourin by Marais – they are wonderfully adept at following her every move, and she’s a mean drummer! If you live in the Toronto area and have young children in your life, you can catch the show this Sunday at the Royal Ontario Museum – it’s free with admission to the ROM, with performances at 1:00 and 2:00.

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