Media Releases

  • Assistant Professor in Visual Arts (Digital Media and Design): Candidate Research Presentations

    The Brock and wider community are warmly welcomed to attend the online presentations by the short list of candidates for this position.

    Each will give an hour-long presentation and engage in discussion about their current research interests and focus upon their contributions.

    GUSTAVO CERQUERA BENJUMEA

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 20TH, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3327547/cf3bdaf1-eac4-4aa9-8116-3fdc308ebef8

    Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a Colombian Canadian Toronto-based digital media artist, animator, music video director, and teacher. He specializes in computer animation, video installation, and drawing. His work explores psychedelia, plant biology, and Latin American histories. His work has exhibited internationally including at: Slamdance Film Festival, Glas Animation Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Art Spin Toronto, the Niagara Artist Centre, Summerworks Festival, Nuit Blanche Toronto, among others. He has directed music videos for Lido Pimienta and Chancha Via Circuito. He is the current programming chair at the Toronto Animated Image Society. Gustavo teaches at OCADU and Brock University.

    TROY DAVID OUELLETTE

    THURSDAY, MAY 21ST, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3327527/6fd67857-4515-484b-9d04-9ea9ea756a71

    Troy David Ouellette is an artist/researcher specializing in Assemblage Theory. He received his PhD, in Visual Arts, from York University in 2014 and his M.F.A. from the University of Windsor in 2007. He has taught Design, Sculpture and undergraduate courses, at various universities and colleges, in Southern Ontario. From 1999 until 2005 he was the Sculpture Facilitator at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Ouellette is a founding member of the London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) and the sound art collective Audio Lodge. His work has been included in several solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Australia and  the United States. He resides in Hamilton, Ontario.

    GWEN MACGREGOR

    FRIDAY, MAY 22ND, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3326867/e156311e-7437-4e53-a009-eada0c2fcfff

    Gwen MacGregor is a visual artist and geographer working across the disciplines of installation, video, photography, and geographic scholarship. She has artworks in collections such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Oakville Galleries and the Royal Bank Collection. Recent exhibitions include The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario and Phoenix Projects Athens, Greece. She has exhibited extensively internationally and has also participated in numerous international art residencies including the International Studio Curatorial Program in New York. She is a Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Award holder and is represented by MKG127 in Toronto. MacGregor is a PhD Candidate in Geography at The University of Toronto. Her dissertation explores the constructions and contestations of nationhood in contemporary art practices presented at art biennales.


    Please share and post this poster in your community.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Music Auditions and the DART Invitational: Applicants for September 2020, read this

    Auditions at the Department of Music for studies commencing September 2020

    As part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all face-to-face entrance auditions for Brock’s Department of Music have been cancelled until the end of May, 2020.  The Department will be contacting all auditionees by e-mail in the next little while to arrange on-line auditions.

    We look forward to meeting you online and to welcoming you in our studios and on the stage of the Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre this coming September!

    Dr Matthew Royal, Chair of Music


    Did you apply to study Dramatic Arts at Brock? We look forward to welcoming you in September!

    DEAR APPLICANTS!

    As part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department is cancelling the DART Invitational scheduled for May 2, 2020.

    We very much regret not spending a remarkable day of theatre making with you!

    If you are registered for the Invitational you are no longer required to come to campus on that day.  Refunds will be issued to all registered participants.

    In place of the DART Invitational we will be conducting online interviews.  This will require you to prepare some material in advance, answer questions from the two faculty interviewers, and will give you an opportunity to ask questions of us.

    Please read about this online interview, conducted using skype or a similar app, at this url:

    https://brocku.ca/miwsfpa/dramatic-arts/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/Alternate-Arrangement-2020.pdf

    Beginning next week, the Department will be contacting registered applicants to schedule an online interview.  We will provide you with a variety of dates and times to select from.  We hope to complete all of these interviews by May 2, 2020.

    We look forward to meeting you online and to welcoming you in our studios and theatre this coming September!

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  • Industrial Niagara, a new exhibition at Rodman Hall Arts Centre

    (image: Shawn Serfas)

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This exhibition is unavailable for viewing until further notice. It is closed as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please check here again.

    Industrial Niagara
    March 7-22, 2020, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University
    Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. Speaker Series

    Industrial Niagara, an exhibition, brings together key works by members of the Research Centre, Studies in Arts and Culture, Brock University.

    Visual artists Candace Couse, Catherine Parayre, Shawn Serfas, Donna Szőke, and ARTIndustria share their insights by responding to the natural environs and the features that distinguish the presence, loss or history of industry in Niagara’s landscape. A combination of hinterland, cataract and escarpment, waterways and canals, hydro-electric generators and high tension wires, manufacturing facilities, factories, subdivisions and farmland, this is the first of a series of reflections or aesthetic interpretations on the meaning of locale (genius loci).

    download poster

    Curated by Derek J.J. Knight, with a speaker series programmed by Catherine Parayre, on Saturday, March 14.

    Visit the Industrial Niagara Virtual Gallery.

    See the video produced by YourTV Niagara, on March 16, 2020.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The below event has been cancelled as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rodman Hall Art Centre will host a cultural event on Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. featuring readings by award-winning authors Natalee Caple and Adam Dickinson as well as short reflections by Niagara residents on their observations, research or experience, from the impact of the Welland Canal to the generation of hydro-electric power: Clark Bernat, Derek Knight, Reinhard Reitzenstein, David Sharron, Penelope Stewart, and David Vivian.

    Open to members of the public this event is organized as part of the Research Centre’s outreach and to encourage future partnerships in an ongoing series of thematic projects.

    download the program for Industrial Niagara

    The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture acknowledges the support of Brock University: Centre for Studies in Arts and Cultures, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Studies in Comparative Literature and Arts, Dean’s Office in Humanities, Research Services, and Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    New research centre fosters interdisciplinary approach to arts and culture
    [brocknews, alison innes. MONDAY, MARCH 02, 2020]

    The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture (RCIACC) establishes a network of researchers and creators across Faculties at Brock and beyond the University. The research centre is part of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC).

    “STAC has an established reputation as an interdisciplinary academic centre and it was therefore logical to home an interdisciplinary research centre in the unit,” says Associate Professor Catherine Parayre, who led the initiative with Associate Professor Derek Knight and is the Centre’s new director.

    The Centre will engage with a broad range of creative expression, including visual arts, dramatic arts, music, creative writing and translation, book and graphic design, cultural heritage, and photography.The Centre includes faculty from Arts and Culture, Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, Music, Curatorial Studies, French Studies, English Literature, Digital Humanities, and Education.

    The centre will be doing outreach at Rodman Hall Art Centre through exhibitions and talks and in collaboration with the Willow Arts Community.

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Our Walker Cultural Leader for March 2020: The MIWSFPA welcomes Landon Mackenzie to Niagara

    Signal (Red Star), 2017-2018. oil and synthetic polymer on linen, 82 1/2 x 126 in.

    Walker Cultural Leader Public Lecture and Artist Talk by Landon Mackenzie 

    March 12, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

    Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, L2R 3M2

    reception: March 12th, 5 p.m. at the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts. (This is also the reception for the CrissCross exhibition, above.)

    Niagara welcomes one of Canada’s most celebrated painters!

    The Moon is the Message: A survey of works traversing over four decades.  A revealing personal exploration of creativity, painting and mapping.

    Landon Mackenzie is an acclaimed visual artist based in Vancouver. Her international exhibiting and teaching career has been awarded the inaugural Ian Wallace Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II Medals for outstanding contribution to culture in British Columbia and Canada, and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2017), among others.

    Blue Star / Red Light, 2018-2019. oil and synthetic polymer on linen, 82 1/2 x 126 in.

    This is a free community event. No tickets required. Join us for the reception at the MIWSFPA at 5 p.m. and then walk over to hear Landon talk about her work in the Robertson Theatre of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m.

    For more information about her work visit www.landonmackenzie.com


    Landon Mackenzie is an acclaimed visual artist based in Vancouver. The National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and Confederation Centre for the Arts are among the institutions that collect her paintings. As well, her large format works are in several Canadian embassies. Her works have been shown in over 100 exhibitions in Canada and internationally. Recent exhibitions include a 40-year touring survey of her works on paper, “Landon Mackenzie: Parallel Journey, (1975-2015)”, accompanied by a book by Black Dog publishers; “Landon Mackenzie: Nervous Centers” at the Esker Foundation in Calgary; “Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie: Woodchopper and the Monkey” at the Vancouver Art Gallery; and “Tracing Mobility: Cartography in Networked Space” at HKW, Berlin.

    Mackenzie is a passionate educator starting at Concordia University followed by 33 years at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver where she was appointed the university’s first full Professor. She has been a visiting artist at over 75 universities, art departments and galleries in Canada, US, UK, Europe and China. She has served on many juries including the Canada Council for the Arts, VIVA, BMO 1st, and RBC Painting Award. She has been a trustee of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and Joseph Plaskett Foundation. Her work is represented by Art 45 and Nicholas Metivier Gallery.

    Mackenzie holds a BFA from NSCAD and an MFA from Concordia University. Her work has been extensively written about and she has received many awards including the inaugural Ian Wallace Award for Excellence in Teaching, both the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II Medals for outstanding contribution to culture in British Columbia and Canada and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2017).

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Sacred Spaces: a student exhibition about mental health, at the MIWSFPA

    Sacred Spaces:Student Exhibition

    Feb. 6 to 29, 2020
    Opening reception: Feb. 12, 2020 — 5 to 8 p.m.

    VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, MIWSFPA
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines

    The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    With a focus on mental health, an exhibition about understanding emotional vulnerability and self-reflection, while unpacking the human need for comfort. Featuring Visual Arts students Kaitlyn Roberts and Chardon Trimble-Kirk.

    Sacred Spaces – Artist Statement
    Kaitlyn Roberts and Chardon Trimble-Kirk

    Mental illnesses often destroy from the inside out. It is a sickness that is hidden through the action of covering oneself from the world, in fear of discovery. Doctors will prescribe medication in an attempt to cure mental illness; medication that comes with dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, bruising, sexual dysfunction, and countless other side effects. All of which to shut out the voices from inside one’s mind. Voices that proclaim that you are not good enough, you do not deserve to be happy, you do not deserve to eat. I would much rather stay in bed. If I stay in bed, the medication isn’t necessary. The demons and monsters can be let out and no one will ever know.

    When living with mental illness, it is living a double life. One must hide behind a mask, only finding true relief in the intimate space of the bedroom, amongst the comfort of bedding. Only within these spaces is one truly allowed to express the realities of mental illnesses, whilst finding safety in the sacred spaces of the bed.

    Each work represents the safety and intimacy found within these spaces, whilst offering a juxtaposition between the covering and uncovering realities of the illnesses. The uncovering comes from personal texts written across these spaces, as well as the exposure of the body, and curiously the covering of the eyes in each figurative work. The text which is a direct thought, and nude figures which are an indirect representation of vulnerability, invite viewers into the sacred spaces of one’s true thoughts. The vague figures and various text will resonate with viewers, bringing awareness to mental illness, its prevalence, and its resonance within many.

    The works aim to de-stigmatize some of the most serious and misunderstood mental illnesses, all within the sacred spaces of our beds.

    download poster

    Kaitlyn Roberts is currently in her fourth and final year at Brock University, achieving an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a major in Studio Art. Her artistic education birthed an attraction to explore autoethnography. Roberts’ studio practice, specifically, surveys the complexity of mental illness translated through visual art while highlighting how it affects both the artist and the viewer.

    Roberts is currently using her practice to investigate the relationship between the mind and the body, through the artistic process of ‘mapping’. This includes research into the connections between mental illnesses and the physical sicknesses that follow, including trauma.

    Roberts has shown her work in juried shows around Ontario including, St. Catharines City Hall’s Transformations, Niagara Artist Centre’s Fortune Favours, and the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington’s The VAC 39th Annual Juried Show where she was the only student, and youngest person to be accepted. Roberts has also shown her work in exhibitions including; Niagara Artist Centre’s Small Feats, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine, and Performing Arts’ Art Block: BAC
    on the Block, as well as many exhibitions hosted by Mahtay Café.

    Roberts will be showing her thesis work titled, Dear Euodia, in April 2020 at Rodman Hall in St. Catharines, Ontario alongside co-artists Chardon Trimble-Kirk, Brianne Casey, Rachel McCartney, Zach White, Kira Pretty, Curt Richard, and Jess McClelland. Opening reception is Friday, April 3rd at 7 pm.

    Roberts is planning on pursuing a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts once she graduates from Brock University.

    Chardon Trimble-Kirk is a Canadian painter based in St. Catharines. Through the use of figuration and pattern making, themes of femininity and gender roles are explored within her work. In addition to this, Trimble-Kirk is interested in the themes of sexuality, vulnerability, repetition and mental health, and their intersections within femininity. Thematic and aesthetic contrasts are often included within the work, allowing viewers to interpret the work individually while also thinking critically about the concepts presented.

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  • The MOSAÏQUE PROJECT arrives in St. Catharines to launch the ENCORE! Professional Concert Series for 2020

    This Friday, January 24, at 7:30 pm the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and the FirstOntario Performing Arts will be co-presenting the final performance of the massive musical initiative by Ensemble Made In Canada: The Mosaïque Project.

    The project is a suite of new compositions by 14 Canadian composers, inspired by each province, territory, and the Indigenous regions of Canada. The thrilling new works from composers including Ana Sokolović, Sarah Slean, Kevin Lau, Samy Moussa, Julie Doiron, Barbara Croall, David Braid, encompass a wide variety of musical genres – from classical, jazz, singer-songwriter, electronic, and First Nations traditions – making up a richly inspiring whole to represent the beauty and diversity of Canada.

    Travelling to almost every corner of the country – from Iqaluit, Nunavut to British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast to Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, and beyond, Ensemble Made In Canada has chosen St. Catharines as the final performance of the two-year long tour, featuring a live-streamed concert and album launch in Partridge Hall.

    The evening promises an extraordinary cinematic concert experience featuring multiple screens providing close-ups of the musicians and their instruments, footage from the tour across the country, as well as newly-created images inspired by the music.

    Friday’s performance will also be the first ENCORE! Professional Concert of the decade for the 250 students enrolled in MUSI 1F10 Introduction to Classical Music, a Humanities context elective course offered by the Department of Music.

    Many of the students attending Friday’s concert have traveled from international destinations to pursue their university studies in Canada. Ensemble Made in Canada’s performance will be an introduction to the piano quartet as a genre and an opportunity to discover a wide variety of musical styles from geographically and culturally diverse regions of the country.

    This course is offered as part of the Walker School’s commitment to exposing Brock students to a broad range of cultural experiences, and nurturing future audiences for the performing arts.

    Ensemble Made In Canada (EMIC) is rapidly gaining recognition as Canada’s premier piano quartet. Awarded the 2006 CBC Galaxie Stars Award from the Banff Centre for the Arts, EMIC was featured in 2008 Chatelaine Magazine’s 80th anniversary issue as “Women to Watch” and called “an ensemble that is leading the next generation of classical musicians.” The members of the group: Angela Park (piano), Elissa Lee (violin), Sharon Wei (viola) and Rachel Mercer (cello) have been forging outstanding individual careers and bring together a wealth of experience having already appeared at prestigious festivals such as Marlboro, Ravinia, Orford, Verbier, Prussia Cove, Pablo Casals and Evian. EMIC has been Ensemble-in-Residence at Western University since 2014.

    The concert will be live-streamed on Ensemble Made In Canada’s website as well as via the streaming service Stingray, reaching millions across Canada and 156 countries around the globe. The same day features the release of the Mosaïque Project album, which will be available on CD, download and streaming channels.

    Maestro Johannes Debus will be hosting a pre-show chat with composers Kevin Lau, Sarah Slean, David Braid and Richard Mascall at 6:45pm

    To purchase tickets visit the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website.

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  • Donna Szőke presents ‘On Invisibility’, January 21 at the MIWSFPA

    On 21 January, the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture welcomes artist Donna Szőke, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and a member of the recently created Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture, as a Walker Cultural leader for 2020.

    Szőke will present an artists’ talk “On Invisibility” at 7:00 pm at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts of Brock University (MIWSFPA). This is a free community event and everyone is welcome to attend.

    Invisibility is this year’s theme at The Small Walker Press, a small press valuing interdisciplinary cooperation and the exploration of image and text, homed in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) at the MIWSFPA.

    Szőke creates expanded animation, media art, video, drawing, and collaborations. She investigates immanence, embodied perception, and the fluidity of lived experience.

    In her artist’s talk, she will present her work and her current book project The Dark Redacted in cooperation with author Gary Barwin, to be published in April 2020 by the Small Walker Press.

    In an excerpt from the forthcoming volume, editors Catherine Parayre and Derek Knight write:

    Donna Szőke thoughtfully investigates the fluidity of meaning and presence. Rather than elucidating a concept or an experience, she proposes a semi-abstract perusal of collective or intimate issues. Offering a reflection on the evocative instability of the biographical and the personal, and opting for an approach close to autofiction, her work constellates subtle possibilities and its scope defies the limitations of certainty. The artist is a compelling storyteller for whom the quest for meaning and the vagrancies of that search are more significant than plain facts. For The Dark Redacted Szőke proposes traces of a fragile story and never-faltering endurance. Her sequence of images alternates beautifully detailed natural life – a buffalo, intricate vegetation – and minimally sketched-out human presence and personal objects. As a result, her work addresses the viewers’ intuition and sensitivity to the environment.

    The event is presented by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture for the Walker Cultural Leader Series, generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker. The Walker Cultural Leader series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Engaging, lively and erudite, these sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society.

    Join us on January 21, 2020 at 7-8:30 pm.  The presentation takes place in the Art & Val Fleming Smart Classroom (MWS 156), located on the lower level of the MIWSFPA.  Limited parking is available at the MIWSFPA, with additional parking nearby at the Garden Park/Carlisle Street Parking garage and adjacent lots.

    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture: Walker Cultural Leader Artist’s talk
    ‘On Invisibility’, with Donna Szőke
    21 January 2020, 7-8:30 pm, MWS 156

    download the poster

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Local musician’s legacy lives on through new Brock University jazz ensemble

    A new community jazz ensemble and concert series is being established at Brock University in honour of the late musician Hugh Logan and his wife, Marie. Photo courtesy of the St. Catharines Standard.


    (From The Brock News, January 28, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    If you’re a jazz lover in Niagara, you’ve likely crossed paths with Hugh Logan.

    Affectionately known as ‘Hughie,’ the Toronto-born musician was a prominent part of the local music community for decades — known as much for his upbeat demeanour and quirky antics as he was for being a valued and dedicated member of a number of bands.

    Logan died in 2016, but his legacy will live on for years thanks to a generous gift to Brock University’s Department of Music.

    Brock students and members of the community are invited to audition for the Department of Music’s new jazz ensemble, which is funded by a generous gift from the Bassett family in honour of late musicians Hugh and Marie Logan. Pictured is Brock Music student Aaron Cardona.

    Logan’s sister, Norma Bassett, has created a fund that will support a new student and community jazz ensemble, an accompanying instrumental jazz techniques course and the Hugh and Marie Logan Jazz Series. The gift is Bassett’s way of honouring her late brother and sister-in-law, who were loved for their musical accomplishments and larger-than-life personalities.

    The ensemble and three-concert series will launch in the fall out of Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Brock Department of Music Chair Matthew Royal said he is “extremely grateful” for the generous contribution.

    “This is a fitting way to memorialize Hugh and his wife Marie and we are delighted to be able to offer this programming for our students and musicians in the broader community,” he said.

    Logan’s love of music was evident to those in the Niagara community who knew him — as was his wife Marie’s never-wavering support of that passion.

    “Music was integral to Hugh’s being,” Bassett said simply. “It really was his life, and Marie was very supportive.”

    Encouraged by his father’s musical talents, Logan began playing the flute and clarinet in his early teens in the Toronto neighbourhood where we grew up.

    Among his early musical accomplishments was earning a place in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, which he played in at the age of 15.

    A few years later, his father passed away from cancer, leaving Logan on his own to support his mother and sisters.

    The love of music instilled in him by his father stayed near to Logan’s heart, however.

    Bassett laughs when she recalls a time that Logan was reprimanded at work because he couldn’t stop dancing and singing along to a jazz number while working on a factory line.

    Logan later moved to Niagara, where he played with a number of bands across the region until his death at 90 years old. He played alto sax in the Niagara Falls Concert Band, flute in the Thorold Reed Band, flute and lead tenor sax with the Ambassadors Swing Band and baritone sax in the American-based Dick Griffo’s Jazz Workshop.

    He would occasionally sub in with the Jimmy Marando Swing Band, too, and Bassett said her brother was known to always carry his instruments with him, so he would be prepared if an opportunity to play presented itself. It wasn’t unusual for someone to need a fill-in and phone Logan up to come jam.

    “We wanted to do something to honour that passion for music,” added Bassett, “and giving back to students at Brock and other musicians in Niagara was the right choice.”

    Pamela Shanks, Executive Director, Development and Alumni Relations at Brock, said the gift serves to strengthen ties between the University and the community.

    “We thank Norma for her generous gift to the University,” said Shanks. “It will create new programming for our students and the Niagara music community, and for that we are grateful.”

    Royal added that although the Department has traditionally focused on classical music, the jazz ensemble provides an opportunity to bring students and the community together to learn a popular musical style.

    “Having students play alongside experienced musicians is a great way for them to learn jazz because they benefit from that cross-generational interaction,” he said. “The jazz series will also afford an opportunity for jazz lovers in the region to perform together and develop new creative collaborations.”

    The jazz ensemble will add to Brock’s existing roster of string and wind ensembles and will be open to Music and non-music majors, as well as members of the broader community. Anyone interested in auditioning should contact Royal at mroyal@brocku.ca for more details.

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  • Avanti Chamber Singers to commemorate the Christmas Truce at first concert of the season

    The Avanti Chamber Singers are led by conductor Rachel Rensink-Hoff during rehearsal for their upcoming performance Saturday, Nov. 24 at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in St. Catharines.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday November 14, 2018 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    On Christmas Day, 1914, French, British and German soldiers along the Western Front laid down their weapons, emerged from the trenches and joined in song to celebrate the season. Now referred to as the Christmas Truce, the unofficial ceasefire was a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amid the violence of the First World War.

    To mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice, conductor Rachel Rensink-Hoff will lead the Avanti Chamber Singers in a performance to remember the truce on Saturday, Nov. 24 at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in St. Catharines. This marks the first performance of the season for Brock’s choir in residence.

    Titled And on Earth, Peace, the concert will include Remembrance Day tributes, popular songs from the time of the First World War and classic Christmas carols. Songs will be performed in English, German and French, and the audience will be invited to sing along to carols that soldiers would have sung.

    “The moving story of the Christmas Truce was fitting inspiration for our first performance of the season,” said Rensink-Hoff, Assistant Professor of Music in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. “As we look back to Remembrance Day and forward to the holiday season, we will join together in song — just as those soldiers did more than 100 years ago.”

    Many differing stories about the Christmas Truce have been shared. Even today, it is still unclear exactly what happened on Christmas Day all those years ago.

    The most commonly shared account is that soldiers all sang carols together in celebration on Christmas Eve before emerging to wish their enemies a Merry Christmas the next day. After the soldiers ceased fire, they met to exchange small gifts and souvenirs.

    The Avanti Chamber Singers is comprised of 30 musicians from around the Niagara region.

    Rensink-Hoff said she works with different individuals every year, and hopes to showcase the hard work and talent of this year’s choir at the opening concert.

    “The challenge with a new choir is gelling together as a group — not just musically, but interpersonally,” she said. “This is now my second season with Avanti and it makes a big difference when you know people more closely because it helps all of us feel that we are in this together.”

    Accompanying the Avanti Chamber Singers will be pianist and organist Lesley Kingham and guest trumpeter Timothy White.

    And on Earth, Peace takes place Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Advanced tickets are available through the Avanti Singers website, at Thorold Music and Booksmart, or from choir members for $20 for adults and seniors. Tickets at the door are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. A $5 ticket is available for students and eyeGo program members.

    The Avanti Chamber Singers will also be performing on Feb. 23 and April 27 at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church.

    Rensink-Hoff is also the conductor for the Brock University Choirs, which includes both the chamber choir and the new women’s choir. Their first performance will take place Dec. 1.

    For more information about upcoming choral performances, visit the Brock University Music website.

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  • Auditions for Brock’s new Women’s Choir open to the public

    Brock’s new Women’s Choir, to launch this fall, is open by audition to Brock students and Niagara community members.

    (from The Brock NewsWednesday, June 20, 2018 | by )

    Voices from the Brock and wider Niagara community will come together in harmony this fall as the Department of Music launches a new Women’s Choir.

    The all-female ensemble will be open by audition to Brock students as well as the general public.

    “I am hoping that this choir brings together women from the University and the Niagara region to offer something very special to our local arts community,” says Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Assistant Professor of Music who will direct the new group.

    The Women’s Choir will rehearse on Thursday evenings beginning this fall, readying for performances with Brock’s Chamber Choir on Dec. 1 and March 30 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The department’s established mixed-voice Chamber Choir is also open by audition to all Brock students and staff.

    Also included among Brock’s choirs, an integral part of the Music program, is the Avanti Chamber Singers. The community-based adult ensemble, also directed by Rensink-Hoff, is the department’s Choir in Residence.

    “The choirs allow students the opportunity to rehearse and perform in the fantastic FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre,” says Rensink-Hoff. “My hope is that more students from across campus and members of the public will consider joining us.”

    To audition, previous singing experience and some ability to read music are required.

    Students who successfully audition can enrol in choir for academic credit.

    For more information or to schedule an audition, please visit the Music Department’s website.

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