Saturday, March 3, 2012

A musical first weekend in March in Niagara

As always, we have a wealth of musical experiences this weekend in Niagara.  I will highlight just two of them this weekend in my blog, but you can access all the latest information anytime by just going to my website, at  I work on updating the information on a regular basis, but if there is something you don't see that you feel should be posted, you can always email the information to me directly at

Chorus Niagara premieres an ambitious new Canadian work this Saturday evening at 7:30 at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria in downtown St. Catharines.  No Mortal Business by Allan Bevan is a dramatic musical work inspired by Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest, long regarded as autobiographical in nature and indicating aspects of the author's life and faith.  The interesting aspect of this work, aside from the Shakespeare inspiration, of course, is the fact Bevan composed the work specifically for the remarkable acoustic of the Cathedral at the corner of Church and Lyman Streets, which just happens to be my home church.  Bevan loved the sound of the church and especially the massive Letourneau organ, known to parishoners as "Opus 12".

The choral work also utilizes a narrator, and tonight the role will be played by one of the great actors in Canada today, Geraint Wyn Davies, who is currently working down on Broadway apparently and has spent the last several seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  Those of us who go back even further will remember him for his memorable roles at the Shaw Festival as well.  Mr. Wyn Davies and Chorus Niagara are joined tonight by the Orpheus Choir of Toronto and the Talisker Players.

The other major work on the programme is the Mass in C Major by Beethoven, which is unfortunately not as well represented on choral programmes these days.  In fact, there are not even a large number of good quality recordings of the work currently available, but one with Giulini conducting on EMI Classics is currently available through the Mike's Picks section of my website at

Tickets for tonight's concert should be available at the door if you don't already have them, but I would suggest ordering in advance through the Brock box office if possible by calling 905-688-5550, ext. 3257.

Sunday afternoon, the Ukrainian Black Sea Hall on Welland Avenue is the scene for the 20th anniversary Women in Music concert, celebrating International Woman's Day.  Hard to believe this is the 20th anniversary, but Laura Thomas, organizer of the event, told me this week it is still very much a labour of love for her and her musical friends making up the group Broadband, who will once again be the featured performers.  Other musical guests will also be featured in a cabaret setting at the Black Sea Hall along with lots of items up for auction as well, with all proceeds from the concert and auction going to help our Hospice Niagara.

Doors open at 3:30 and the concert starts at 4, and Laura tells me the whole event should last about 3 hours.  My far better half, Sophie, always looks forward to this event, so if you have no plans for late Sunday afternoon, this might be something you want to discover for yourself.

Enjoy your weekend!

March 3rd, 2012.

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