Saturday, January 19, 2019

The weather outside may be frightful, but the music is so delightful!

I am looking out my home office window this afternoon thinking I am glad this is the weekend and I don't have to go out in this weather unless I want to.  Which I don't frankly.  I get enough of that during the week with my very early morning starts for work, leaving the house most mornings before 5 am.  If there is snow on the ground I usually try to clear it before I leave for work.

But today in a rare move, I decided since it was Saturday I deserved a snow day.  Oh I did go out this morning, but not until after I would normally be finished work during the week, and not to go far.  I shovelled the snow for what will likely be the umpteenth time this weekend, and then walked downtown to the Market, which goes Saturday mornings no matter what.

Not as many people nor vendors for that matter, but I didn't care.  It is my Saturday morning ritual and it will have to be worse weather than this to prevent me from going.  I also managed a side trip to Beechwood Doughnuts on St. Paul Street as well...hey, it may be snowing but I won't suffer this weekend!

Nor should you.

What's all this leading to, you ask?  Well, I thought with the colder weather these days and finally a good dumping of snow expected throughout the weekend, it would be a good time to open the arts calendar and see what's on over the coming week should you wish to escape the weather for some musical enrichment.

Let's begin tonight and tomorrow with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, getting an early start on celebrating the birthday of one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Everyone's favourite precocious child wunderkid who turned into an even more precocious adult musical genius was born January 27th, 1756.  We're well past the big anniversaries of Mozart's birthday for awhile now, but any clever music programmer would never miss a chance to celebrate Mozart in January.  It's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for curing the winter doldrums.

The NSO will be presenting an all-Mozart programme tonight at 7:30 and tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 in the Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.  Tomorrow afternoon is, as I understand it, pretty well sold out now, but if you choose to venture out tonight there should still be some good seats still available.

Maestro Thachuk conducts Masterworks 4 this weekend and NSO Principal Flute Doug Miller is the featured soloist on Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 1 in G-major.  Also on the programme is Mozart's popular Symphony No. 35 in D major, known as the "Haffner", and one of my personal favourites, his Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major.

There might be a little less sheen on the Mozart crown after all these years, but for most music lovers he offers more musical bang for the buck than just about anyone else out there, so why not go with a winner?  Besides, he will certainly cure the January Blues at least for a little while.

Tickets are available by calling the FirstOntario PAC box office at 905-688-0722 or go online to  You can also visit the box office personally if you care to venture out earlier today.

Speaking of the PAC, this coming Wednesday evening January 23rd the Canadian Jazz All-Stars take to the stage at Partridge Hall at 7:30 pm for a concert featuring such artists as Robi Botos, Dave Young, Davide Di Renzo, Heather Bambrick, Mike Murley and Guido Basso.  Mike Zettel of Niagara  This Week writing in the current PAC programme guide, points out the collective years of all musicians on stage for that concert totals about two centuries worth of musicianship.

Many of those names will be readily recognizable to many jazz fans, especially the legendary Guido Basso on trumpet and flugelhorn.  Heather Bambrick, too, has a high profile due to her many concerts in and around the GTA and her regular appearances on 99.1 Jazz FM as a programme host.

Should be a swinging affair this coming Wednesday evening, and tickets should still be available through the PAC box office by calling 905-688-0722 or going to

Still in Partridge Hall at the PAC but for an entirely different sound, the Encore! Professional Concert Series presents the TORQ Percussion Quartet this Friday night at 7:30 pm.  The four extraordinary percussionists of TORQ will likely be making plenty of noise in the most musical of ways possible, and it promises to be a most interesting concert.

The Encore! Professional Concert Series is part of the Department of Music at the adjacent Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts at Brock University, and is always a very affordable way to get into some interesting and sometimes more challenging music right in the heart of the city.

Tickets are general admission and available by calling the FirstOntario PAC box office at 905-688-0722 or by going to

Finally, it has been awhile since I wrote about a wonderful classic music series held up in the Waterloo region for many years now.  The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society programmes an ambitious season of recitals year-round, and the next concert is this coming Wednesday evening in the Music Room in Waterloo.

Recognized Bach expert Peter Vinograde will perform most of the seven toccatas of J.S. Bach, dating from his early period, especially Weimar from 1708 to 1717.  The music is described by the Chamber Music Society as "freely constructed works, all quite different, alternating virtuoso display, slow expressive interludes and contrapuntal dance forms".  Bach, of course, was a recognized master of them all.

In addition to the Bach keyboard works, also on the programme is probably the most popular trio in the Russian chamber music literature, Arensky's Trio in d-minor, a work dating from 1894.  Joining Vinograde for this late-romantic work are violinist Adam Diderrich and cellist Miriam Stewart-Kroeker.

Tickets are only $35 or $20 for students, and available through WordsWorth, directly from the Chamber Music Society, or at the University of Waterloo box office.  The website for the society is, and the Music Room is located at 57 Young Street West in Waterloo.

That should give you plenty of choice for the coming week for some great music.  Have a great weekend in spite of the weather!

January 19th, 2019.

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