Submit Event


Canada Council for the Arts to hold information sessions on the Island

by Annette Campbell

Annette Campbell works for Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa

Ask any professional artist and they'll tell you: applying for grants to support yourself and your art is a part of life, an often less-than-thrilling part. Familiar, Star-Trek-like cries of "damn it, Jim; I'm an artist, not an administrator" can often be heard echoing in the dark, late on the eve of a grant application deadline. Well, the bad news is that the grant process is not going away any time soon. The good news is that there are people who can help to make it a much less stressful experience and, hurray, you can meet some of them October 15 in Summerside and October 16 in Charlottetown. The Canada Council for the Arts will be holding information sessions for all professional artists on the Island and interested members of the general public.

What is a professional artist? For the Canada Council, it is someone who has specialized training in his or her field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized as such by his or her peers (artists working in the same tradition), who is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity if financially feasible and who has a history of public presentation. Arts supported include dance, media arts, music, theatre, writing and publishing, interdisciplinary work and performance arts, and visual arts.

As a recent newcomer to the Music Section at the Canada Council, I can honestly say that I learned more about "grantsmanship" (that dreaded word) in my first week at work than I did in the last 20 years. At these upcoming information sessions, my colleagues and I will explain how the Canada Council works, what types of grants we offer, how the application process functions, how your peer assessors make the final decisions, and most importantly, how to improve your applications. Knowing the process can give you a leg up in the oft-times fierce national competition for dollars. Take advantage of this opportunity; come speak with us and learn how we can help.

The Canada Council information sessions will be held on October 15 at the Jubilee Theatre in Summerside and on October 16 at the Arts Guild in Charlottetown, both beginning at 7:30 pm.

Opera Arias on Stage

Measha Brüggergosman to appear in final concert of symphony season

by Annette Campbell

A wise person once told me that opera is nothing more than gratuitous sex and violence. You may or may not agree, but you have to admit, there is definitely something about opera that keeps audiences coming back for more. It should come as no surprise then, that the PEISO is ending its season on April 1 with "No Foolin'!" a well-rounded sampler of some of opera's greatest hits, with special guest star, soprano Measha Brüggergosman.

Ms. Brüggergosman is a young woman on the move. You may remember her from her guest appearance on the Jive Kings' latest CD, The Jive Kings with Measha Brüggergosman, but she is also a rising star in the classical music world. A native of Fredericton, N.B., Brüggergosman graduated from the University of Toronto in 1999. Currently she is working on a Masters degree in Dusseldorf, Germany with Edith Weiss.

I spoke with conductor James Mark about the upcoming concert and Brüggergosman's appearance. "It's very exciting to have her performing with us," says Mark, "her career is really taking off and we booked her just in time. She's really in demand now, especially since her unforgettable New Year's Eve performance at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto." Having heard her myself, performing the lead role in the new Canadian opera, Beatrice Chancy, I can certainly understand Mark's enthusiasm. Her voice is at once powerful and subtle, with a wide-range that captures the heart and spirit of the role she is performing.

Brüggergosman will present several works on this April 1st concert. The audience will get a taste of both old-world and new-world opera, with the aria "Mes voiles seules" from Bizet's Pearl Fishers, and "My Man's Gone Now" from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The only non-operatic work will be a selection from André Previn's song cycle Honey and Rue, a work made popular by well-known diva Kathleen Battle. Ms. Brüggergosman will round out her half of the program with "La Wally" from Catalani's Diva, always a crowd favourite.

The orchestra will keep up the operatic vein of the concert, performing instrumental works from three different operas. Rossini's Semiramide was the last opera he wrote in Italy and its overture is one of his finest. Uncharacteristically for Rossini, the work includes thematic material that recurs in the opera itself, but the composer's unmistakable melodic flow is still present. Saint-Saëns's "Bacchanale" from Samson et Dalila is not an overture; in fact it occurs in Act III, Scene ii, as the Philistines prepare for Samson's sacrifice. In typical French opera style, this music is actually a ballet sequence, but Saint-Saëns includes augmented 2nds to give the work a Near-East feel, and lots of percussion to evoke the barbarism of the sacrificial act. Finally, the orchestra will perform Wagner's Overture to Die Meistersinger, one of my all-time favourites. Listen for the fantastically heroic brass at the end of the work; you'll never forget the tune.

Upwardly Mobile

Young musicians fill sabbatical positions in the UPEI Music Department

by Annette Campbell

If you have been around the UPEI music department at all this semester, you've probably run into them, two fresh new faces, jostling around and doing all manner of things professorial. "They" are Karen Bulmer(left) and Ross Osmun, two young professional musicians gaining teaching experience as sabbatical replacements for the 2001 winter term.

With Greg Irvine and Francis Gray both on sabbatical this term, the department needed highly qualified individuals to fill their shoes for four months. The call went out and these two young scholars willingly stepped into the breech.

Karen Bulmer, a native of London, Ontario, began playing the tuba at the age of sixteen. "Before that, I played the flute," she confides, "people always seem to find that interesting." She began her music education at the University of Western Ontario, then continued with professional studies in Florida, finally ending up at Yale, working toward her PhD in performance with Toby Hanks. She completed the course work in May 1999 and is now getting some of the professional experience required to obtain her doctorate.

Ross Osmun is from Windsor, Ontario, and he too started to play at an early age. After completing his ARCT in piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, he moved onto a combined bachelor of Music, Science and Education. Science? Yes, well originally, Osmun was going to be a world-famous biochemical engineer, but his love of music kept drawing him back to the piano. He went on to graduate work in music at Eastman and graduated in September 2000 with a PhD.

Of course, I posed the obvious question: "So what do you think of UPEI?" After a chuckle and the requisite "it's great" response, the two became quite serious. "As the saying goes, `it's a great small university,'" stated Bulmer, "it's a much warmer atmosphere here, there's more comraderie than at a large institution." Both found that the smaller classes were a great plus as well. "With smaller groups, there is more room for creativity," agreed Osmun, "you try things you wouldn't be able to do with a larger class."

What does the future hold in store for these two? "A tenure-track position, hopefully," smiles Osmun. Both agree that performance will continue to be a big part of their careers as music educators. There it is, a snapshot of two music professionals on their way up.

Ready for a Recital?

Music students and faculty present annual recital program

by Annette Campbell

UPEI Music students (back, left to right): Christa Rehberg, Lisa Sanderson, Carrie MacLellan, Kelly Carpenter; (front, left to right): Mark Ramsay, Jonathan MacInnis. Absent: Allalie Bent

March means one thing at the UPEI Music Department-it's time for recitals! As the winter semester heads into the final lap, professors and students alike are busily preparing to present their musical best to Island audiences.

Things start off with a bang on Saturday, March 3rd, with vocal professor Sung Ha Shin-Bouey. Audiences will remember Shin-Bouey from her several appearances in Handel's Messiah, as well as performances at Indian River and on CBC Radio Two. Because of her heavy teaching schedule, this is only her second recital during an academic year since her arrival at UPEI in 1997. Yet as Professor Shin-Bouey says, "it is important for my vocal students to get to hear a professional vocalist in performance, and unfortunately, this experience isn't readily available in Charlottetown." Her recital will reflect a great variety of styles and eras to give the audience a wider perspective of the vocal repertoire. Shin-Bouey will be joined by her husband Stephen, a baritone, and friends, Francis Gray and Ross Osmun on piano.

As for music students, March has traditionally been the month of "senior" and "junior" recitals. Translated for the rest of the world, this means that third and fourth year music students get the opportunity to perform either a half hour or a full, one hour recital. Not just anyone is giving the occasion to do this; students must audition in December before a panel of three faculty members. If they pass the audition, they are then accorded the privilege of presenting a recital as a part of the Department of Music's Recital Series.

Allalie Bent, Kelley Carpenter, Carrie MacLellan, Jonathan MacInnis, Mark Ramsay, Christa Rehberg, and Lisa Sanderson are this year's lucky performers. All of them have been working very hard on their repertoires since last fall, but they all agree that knowing the material isn't the biggest challenge they face-it's nerves. Preparing for your first major solo appearance calls for a great deal of mental preparation in addition to actual practice time. "Ideally, you run your program through each day the week of your recital," says Jonathan MacInnis, "then you're really comfortable with the actual physical activity of performing it." Kelley Carpenter agrees, adding that she probably won't play through the whole recital on the big day. "I like spending the day of the performance relaxing, mentally imagining a flawless execution, and enjoying the music."

That's another point that all these students agree on: this is a chance to do what they love and have fun on stage. With the hard work of the year behind them, these budding professionals are ready to enjoy the excitement and satisfaction of a truly good performance. "Then, it's off to the green room for a reception and celebration," declares Lisa Sanderson.

With a group of seven performers, there will be a great variety of music this March. On March 10, Kelly Carpenter starts things off with a full senior recital on alto saxophone. Carrie MacLellan on trombone and Mark Ramsay on piano will each perform a half-hour junior recital on March 13. Senior sax-man Jonathan MacInnis will be joined by junior soprano Allalie Bent for a concert on March 22. Finally, trombonist Christa Rehberg and trumpeter Lisa Sanderson rap up the month on March 25. All senior and junior recitals are free of charge.

UPEI music students tend to dominate the ECMAs in their later careers. Come see the next generation of award-winners now at the Steel Recital Hall in March.

Sounds of the Season

by Annette Campbell

Running between the raindrops, I dashed through a cold and dreary evening. Shaking the rain off my coat, I headed up the stairs at the MacKenzie Theatre, my mind filled with questions and facts to check. Half-way up the stairs, I stopped, listened, and all of the tensions of the day melted away as I heard a collection of children's voices sweetly singing "O Holy Night." It was then that I remembered a simple truth: you can actually hear the spirit of Christmas in the sound of a children's choir.

Don Fraser was putting the chorus through its paces, getting ready for the Confederation Centre's annual Sing Noel concert. They started practicing this material in early October and now the December 17 concert date is fast approaching. After several minutes of polishing a song or two, Don dismissed the choir and sat down with me for a chat.

The Children's Chorus has a proud and lengthy history. Beginning in 1970 as a Boys' Choir, it has grown through the years to its present format-60 boys and girls from the ages of 8 to 16. "It is almost like a small conservatory," explains Fraser, "we have more rehearsal time than a school choir would have, so we can do repertoire that most kids would not see until university." The concert program bears him out. After several traditional, "audience sing-along" carols, the choir will tackle challenging arrangements of English, French and German songs, including "Coventry Carol," "Ding, Dong, Merrily on High," and "In Dulci Jubilo." The Confederation Centre's mandate to promote Canadian art is also upheld as pieces arranged by Keith Bissell and Healy Willan figure prominently in the program. There is definitely something here for everyone, from the most knowledgeable choral enthusiast to the weary Christmas shopper.

Not surprisingly, this is just the beginning of a busy season for the Chorus. As many of the excited choristers informed me, the choir is going "on tour" in late April to Washington D.C. The trip promises to be an inspiring one; a major highlight will be a performance at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, one of the largest cathedrals in North America and the site of JFK's funeral. "It's definitely the biggest building I've ever performed in," confides Fraser, "It should be a wonderful experience."

Wanting to get another perspective, I spoke with several choir members. A lively bunch, they all agreed that it was a love for singing that drew them to the group. "That, plus the trips," one confessed. "Why should people come to your concert?" I slyly asked them. After the inevitable "because we're great!" answer, Crystal Robertson, a student from Colonel Grey High School, spoke up: "I think it's good for people to see what kids our age can do. We're the biggest children's chorus on the Island and it's a great chance for people to see us learning in progress." So when the hustle of the season takes over your life, come to the Confederation Centre at 3 pm on December 17 and let these burgeoning singers remind you what Christmas is all about.

Photo:The Confederation Centre Children's Chorus prepares for their annual Sing Noel concert under the direction of Don Fraser

"O Canada"

The PEI registered Music Teachers' Association celebrates Canada Music Week

by Annette Campbell

Mary MacDonaldMark it on your calendars now-this year Canada Music Week™ is November 19-26. Why should you remember? Because if Canadians won't support Canadian music, who will?

That's what the founders of Canada Music Week™ thought in 1961, when they began the annual tradition. They wanted to introduce contemporary music to Canadian students, to encourage music teachers to widen their knowledge of Canadian music, to support composers and performers of Canadian music, to bring Canadian music to the attention of the general public, and to emphasize not only Canadian works, but also the significance of music generally.

So now you know why you should celebrate, but how to celebrate? Well, the PEI Registered Music Teachers' Association has three events up its sleeve for just such an occasion: a Compositions, Artwork and Essays Competition; a Young Musicians Recital featuring Canadian works exclusively; and the Contemporary Showcase, a concert put on in conjunction with the Canadian Alliance for Canadian New Music projects.

The Compositions, Artwork and Essay Competition is open to all students of association members. The aim of the competition is to stimulate an interest in and appreciation of Canadian music, as well as giving students an opportunity to use their other creative abilities, with music as an impetus. Prize winners will be chosen from four age categories in each medium. Art work will be displayed at the Canada Music week™ Young Musicians Recital. The deadline for all entries is November 1.

The Canada Music week™ Young Musicians Recital will be held Saturday, November 18 at the Steel Recital Hall at UPEI. The PEIRMTA typically hosts one Young Musicians Recital a month to promote the performing skills of music students in a non-competitive environment. This concert will be dedicated to Canadian music in any form, as well as the winning compositions of Island students entered in the Association's competition. Anyone may perform in this concert, but you must contact series coordinator Jaymin Baird (368-3702) at least two weeks in advance.

Finally, the association will host the Contemporary Showcase on November 24. In 1997, the PEIRMTA joined the Canadian Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects, and became the first group in the Maritimes to do so. One of its first initiatives was to plan such a showcase. Here musicians have the opportunity to perform contemporary Canadian works and be adjudicated by Alasdair MacLean, composer-in-residence with Symphony Nova Scotia. Again, all music disciplines are encouraged to participate and there will be some scholarships awarded. The result should be a superb concert of provocative Canadian works. For more information, call Jacqueline Sorensen at 892-1809.

Come Blow Your Horn

Kelda Lawlor returns home to PEI to perform with the PEI Symphony

by Annette Campbell

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but to musicians, it's the world-a chance to perform as a soloist with a symphony orchestra. Island-born Kelda Lawlor is going to get that chance on November 26, when she appears with the PEI Symphony Orchestra in their "It's Almost Christmas" concert.

This accomplishment is a milestone on the long road to a career in music. After graduating from the PEI school band program, Kelda began her professional french horn studies at UPEI, first with Dave Kutz, then with Greg Irvine. She soon ran the gamut of performing opportunities here on the Island, playing with the UPEI Wind Symphony, Prince Edward Brass, and the Confederation Centre Brass Quintet. Looking for something more, she followed the time-honoured tradition of ambitious musicians before her and moved to the "big city"-in this case, Toronto. There, she began studying with Chris Gongos of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and soon was accepted into the Glenn Gould Professional School, an extension of the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 1999, she was chosen by the adjudicators of the PEI Music Festival to be the recipient of the Suzanne Brenton Award, allowing her the opportunity to appear as a soloist with PEISO. Today she is continuing her studies and is playing with the National Academy Orchestra under the direction of Boris Brott.

Kelda faces many challenges with her performance of Strauss' Concerto for Horn. By its very nature, a concerto contrasts and blends an individual performer with an orchestra. The soloist must be an independent entity, allowing the orchestra to back her up. As Kelda puts it, "I've played solo lines in orchestral music before, but there, the conductor was still the boss. Here, I will have to take a more active role, I can't just follow the orchestra. They will be relying on me, through the conductor, to lead the piece."

As for her future plans, Kelda would like to "eventually be a solid orchestral player, with a gig, of course!"

Kelda is not the only feature of the PEISO's second concert of the season. Called "It's Almost Christmas," the concert offers much more musical variety than a strictly Yuletide show. Don't worry though, dance umbrella will still be performing, this time with an interpretation of Boutique Fantasque, composed by Rossini and arranged for ballet by Respighi. Peggy Reddin's troupe will tell a Christmas-y tale of two dolls (who are best friends) facing the prospect of separation as they are to be sold to two different owners. (I have in on good authority that there is a happy ending!) The symphony will round out the concert with the Overture to Weber's opera Oberon and Northern Lights, a work by Canadian composer Nick Peros, a fitting end to Canada Music week™. Come out and support fabulous Island talent November 26 at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Events Calendar

February 2019
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28

Recent News & Articles

New location for PEI MFRC

After being closed for most of 2018, the PEI Military Family Resource Centre (PEI MFRC) has re-opene [ ... ]

Music PEI SOCAN Songwriter of the Year A...

Music PEI kicked off the first of the ticketed shows for 2019 Credit Union Music PEI Week on Thursda [ ... ]

PEI director

Charlotte Gowdy to direct Crimes of the Heart at Watermark Watermark Theatre has announced that Cha [ ... ]