Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Busy season underway at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts at Brock University

I am always amazed when the brochure arrives outlining the season's offerings at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts up at Brock University.  If you love music, drama or the visual arts, there is something there for you this season well worth investigating.  So I thought I'd outline some of the highlights in my mid-week blog post just in case you want to escape your everyday world for something a little more satisfying.

One of the best deals in the city is the RBC Foundation Music@Noon series most Tuesdays at noon through to the end of next March.  The recitals are absolutely free, and feature established talent as well as accomplished students in the Department of Music at Brock.  Just today for example, local guitar virtuoso Timothy Phelan performed at the Concordia Seminary Chapel up at Brock, and I hear it was a great concert.

In coming weeks, there will be recitals by Voice Students, Instrumental Students and Piano Students at Brock before the Christmas break.  The series resumes in January with another 11 recitals planned. And did I mention they are all free and open to the public?

The University Wind Ensemble performs two concerts each season at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre, both directed by Zoltan Kalman.  The fall concert comes up December 2nd. and the spring concert on March 31st.  Both concerts pair up established Niagara musicians with both university and high school students as they perform major wind band repertoire.

The Viva Voce! Choral Series gets underway this coming weekend with a performance by the Avanti Chamber Singers directed by Dr. Harris Loewen, entitled Viva La Musica.  The concert at St. Barnabas Church on Queenston Street is Saturday evening and will also be a release party for their third CD, "Beauty is Before Me", the fifth instalment in the "Voices of Niagara" CD series.

As with the previous four recordings in the series, the music on this new disc is either written or arranged by composers with a Niagara connection, with most being recorded for the very first time.  Composers represented on the latest recording include Penny Blake, John Butler, Nathaniel Dett, Erik Gero, Brock professors Peter Landey and Harris Loewen, Gail Poulsen, folk singer Stan Rogers, Matthew Tran-Adams, and Ronald Tremain, Brock's first Professor of Music.

The concert itself opens with a work written especially for the occasion, based on the familiar round "Viva La Musica", and follows with a number of works by Renaissance composers and modern composers.  Tickets and the new CD will be available for purchase at the door.

The rest of the Viva Voce! series continues November 29th with the Brock University Choirs directed by guest conductor Glenda Crawford with their fall concert, and the spring concert on March 28th; and two more performances by the Avanti Chamber Singers, on February 7th and April 25th.

The very popular Encore! Professional Concert Series gets underway November 21st with the Madawaska Ensemble performing two works by Johannes Brahms; Toronto-based Quartetto Gelato on January 30th; local jazz diva Sarah Jerrom and Friends presenting something called The Yeats Project on February 27th and Trio Surgite presenting Voices of Eastern Europe on March 27th.

The Department of Dramatic Arts presents a couple of plays each season, with the fall offering opening this coming Thursday evening at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre:  Hannah Crowley's The Belle's Stratagem, directed by Gillian Raby and featuring music by local musician Joe Lapinski.  The cast is made up of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock, and the play is a comedy exploring the city and how we cope in this more modern, digital age.  If you can't make the Thursday evening opening, there are additional performances Friday morning at 11:30 and evening at 7:30, as well as Saturday evening at 7:30.

Finally, if the visual arts interest you, the Walker Cultural Leader Series continues in the spring with the Department of Visual Arts presenting acclaimed Canadian painter Janet Werner in March and April.  The public presentation of Painting the Imaginary Portrait takes place at Rodman Hall on March 5th, and that is a free community event.

In April, Rodman Hall hosts Janet's exhibition, From likeness to fiction:  the portrait inside out, running from April 1st to the 26th, and again it is a free community event.  The exhibition then travels to the University of The West Indies in Trinidad for May and June.

So there you go:  lots to choose from and literally something for everyone as is the case each year with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts at Brock.  And just think, all that creative talent will be in their new home in downtown St. Catharines come next year, so why not get involved now prior to the move?

Many of the concert events are at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre up at Brock, and for any of the events requiring tickets, you can get those through the Brock Centre for the Arts box office by calling 905-688-5550, ext. 3257, or go online to www.Arts.BrockU.ca.  For many of the events tickets will also be available at the door prior to the performance.

I have all the events listed on the Calendar page of my website at www.finemusic.ca, and you can alway check out their website as well for more information at www.brocku.ca/finearts.

There is always something interesting happening at MIWSFPA, the rather unwieldy acronym for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts; all they need is you to share the excitement!

Enjoy the show when you go...

November 11th, 2014.

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