James’ Brand New Blog

Extended weekend of joy: NYOC, Embassy Cultural House, Maggie’s farewell

- July 31st, 2012

Bob McKaskell

Windsor curator Robert “Bob” McKaskell poses with a Bernice Vincent work at the post-opening reception Sunday in swank West SoHo for his Museum London exhibition The Embassy Cultural House: 1983 to 1990. Taken with trusty BlackBerry.

embassy cultural house coaster

The exhibition’s iconic coaster emblem. Courtesy of Museum London.

NYOC_logo

Logo courtesy of NYOC. Visit nyoc.org for more.

The couple sitting behind us at the Grand on Friday asked if I could ever come up with the words for the National Youth Orchestra Canada’s concert. Here’s a try: Stupendous. Moving. Inspiring. Patriotic. Intelligent. Passionate. Not necessarily in that order.

The program had the world premiere of Quebec composer Nicolas Gilbert’s Resistance. He came up to greet conductor Alain Trudel & talk about the work. (By the way, John Gerry you have a twin & his name is Nicolas Gilbert). The composer’s words about the levels of resistance & conflict within the orchestra as the piece progressed were helpful & bravo. Let us hear it again & again. Vive la resistance in general, too, because some of Gilbert’s comments, without being directly political, made me think of the pot-banging heroes in the streets of Montreal. An admirable bilingualism has always been part of the NYOC’s visits here & good for that.

Then it was London’s own Cameron Crozman playing a spectacular Dvorak cello concerto . . . standing ovations etc. Bravo. JBNBlog has written a lot about Cameron & one of my regrets is that the NYOC’s class of 2012 also had such London stars as Peter Gajdek (trumpet) & Evan Wood (horn) & I never met them during the boot camp up at Western.

Orchestra London cellist Christine Newland who was right at the front came by at the intermission & said she hopes Cameron gets to play the 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello she sold to the Canada Council’s instrument bank earlier this year . . . it’s been a fine summer for London cellists.

Shostakovitch Symphony No. 10: Sorrowful. Cold & demonic (in the movement apparently depicting Stalin). Tender & filled with a sense of loss.

Then, the madrigals for the encores & it was a treat to see Calgary’s Catherine Gray strum the notes or whatever the term is to provide the cue . . . Catherine & Blake Pouliot (violin) & Hugo Rinfret-Paquet (bass) were among those from the Reaney’s Pick quintet  for video as the concert raced on so splendidly. Thanks again to all at the NYOC for your help this summer.

PS It was great to hear the NYOC at the Grand this time instead of Alumni Hall as in other years . . . if this terrific orchestra is back in London next summer, let’s plan to fill the place. Music so inspiring must be heard.

Saturday’s pleasures included the Hyland for Your Sister’s Sister which JBNBlog will get around to praising soonest.

On Sunday afternoon, Robert “Bob” McKaskell led a tour through The Embassy Cultural House exhibition . . . acoustics at Museum London are always mystifying. Maybe all speakers should be issued arty bullhorns. But Bob was scholarly & enthusiastic as ever & the collective genius here will knock you up . . . so will the great King Ganam (Tommy Hunter’s chief on Country Hoedown back in the day) making his Museum London debut with Cattle Call which plays over&over&over&over as it should. Cattle Call is the tune of choice on the late Reid Diamond’s Story-telling Jukebox. King Ganam, you rule & rawk.

Jamelie Hassan, Ron Benner & Eric Stach were all on hand for this celebration of their vision of almost 30 years ago . . . bravo . . . & then Ron worked like a fiend (in the good chef sense) roasting corn from Fergusons down in Elgin County, gathered up that v. Sunday morning, for the best corn roast you could ever hope for . . . Bob McKaskell chatted for a bit at the reception down in swanky West SoHo later in the afternoon & I told him missing his London 1960s exhibition in Windsor still makes me glum. The Embassy show uplifts & keep on doing this marvellous work, Bob.

On Monday, there were so many people to see a true all-star gathering of musicians . . . wow! Maggie’s inspired so much love & respect . . . surely there must be a way to keep the grandeur going & going in some fresh way.

 

 

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