In the Media

  • Accessibility in music education at centre of upcoming talk

    IMAGE CAPTION: Music educator Erin Parkes will be the first speaker in a virtual series offered by Brock’s Department of Music as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series.

    Walker Cultural Leader and music educator Erin Parkes will address key questions about providing access to music education to people with exceptionalities in an upcoming online lecture presented by Brock’s Department of Music.

    Held online Friday, Sept. 24 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., Parkes will discuss teaching models for students who require a different approach and the benefits of opening up music studios to diverse learners.

    Parkes is Founder and Executive Director of the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, a charitable organization committed to providing access to music education for people with exceptionalities. She holds a PhD in music education from McGill University, where she researched how to effectively train studio music teachers to work with students with autism.

    This is the first online presentation of a virtual speaker series offered by the Department of Music as part of the 2021-22 Walker Cultural Leader Series. Welcoming musicians, music scholars, and music educators to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts online, these lectures and workshops are free community events and are open to the Brock and wider community.

    Registration is required by emailing music@brocku.ca

    For more information, please visit brocku.ca/music

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Future Students, In the Media, News, Special Events, Uncategorised

  • Virtual auditions for Brock University choirs now open to community

    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2021 | by 

    Image caption: Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and Artistic Director of Brock University Choral Activities, is excited for Brock choir auditions to get underway in advance of the fall 2021 season.

    Brock choirs are back this fall and singing a hopeful tune for a busy season of choral activities for the University and wider Niagara community.

    Choir auditions are now open and will be running online throughout the summer for two ensembles: University Choir and Sora Singers.

    University Choir is a mixed voice ensemble for soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices and is open to all members of the Brock community, including students, faculty and staff.

    Sora Singers (formerly the Brock Women’s Choir) is an upper-voice ensemble for anyone with a soprano or alto voice. Auditions for Sora Singers are open to the Brock community as well as the wider Niagara community.

    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) and Artistic Director of Brock University Choral Activities, is hopeful that choir members will be able to sing together in person, pending public health and Brock University protocols.

    “It has been a really tough year and as singers, we are all feeling rusty,” she said. “Building our vocal technique will certainly be the top priority when we convene in the fall to rebuild our singing community.”

    While the past year posed challenges for Brock’s choirs, Rensink-Hoff feels there were key lessons learned through experimentation with digital platforms, which she hopes will be integrated into the program going forward.

    “Because we are all familiar with collaborative opportunities in online formats, this coming year we will be virtually welcoming several composers whose works we will be studying and performing,” she said.

    Diversity and inclusion are also top of mind for Rensink-Hoff as the she plans for the coming season.

    “I am committed to diversifying our performance repertoire and spending more intentional time together exploring the voices of under-represented composers and communities,” she said.

    All audition details and rehearsal times can be found on the Sing at Brock! website. The audition is a two-part process involving a singing recording followed by a meeting over Zoom. Students who are interested can enrol in a choir for credit as a Brock course elective.

    The last day to audition for both the University Choir and Sora Singers will be Monday, Sept. 13.

    Choir rehearsal and performance formats are subject to change and will be delivered in adherence with Brock and public health protocols.

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Virtual workshops for Brock Choral Ensembles open to the public

    Caption: The Brock University Chamber Choir directed by Rachel Rensink-Hoff gathers virtually to rehearse and attend Shared Perspectives, a new virtual workshop series offered by Brock’s Department of Music.

    Originally published in The Brock News THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2021 | by 

    Brock’s Choral Ensembles are getting front-row access to a diverse lineup of artists — and the public has been invited to tune in.

    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Choral Ensembles at Brock University, launched a virtual workshop series called “Shared Perspectives: Live talks featuring guest conductors, composers and vocal choral specialists” in the fall. Funded by the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) and the Walker Cultural Leaders Series presented by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), the series is continuing this semester, welcoming a guest speaker each week.

    The online presentations are hosted on Zoom, with some artists choosing to give a formal presentation and others engaging in an interview-style format. Time is always allotted for a question-and-answer period, enrichening the experience for all participants.

    “Any opportunity to hear more than one voice should be cherished,” says Rensink-Hoff. “Teaching online synchronously is challenging because there is always only one person talking. I knew in August that I needed to shake things up.”

    Rensink-Hoff has since brought in a diverse roster of guests, many of whom speak to issues relevant to today.

    “This semester, a number of our guest speakers will be engaging us in conversations around cultural appropriation and appreciation in the arts — and how we can navigate these pathways more respectfully and thoughtfully,” she says.

    Upcoming sessions include topics such as cultural appropriation and culture sharing in choral music; decolonizing the music curriculum; debunking myths around vocal health; and traditional South African music.

    Even in a fully online format, the Brock Choral Ensembles meet every week, rehearse online, and discuss musical elements. Rensink-Hoff believes that adding guest speakers in the mix has brought something unique to the “Zoom classroom.”

    “The opportunity to hear different perspectives on a wide variety of topics related to singing and choral music has been very rewarding. In normal circumstances, we would not have had such a rich display of voices in just one year,” she says. “The students are so fortunate to have been introduced to so many amazing artists.”

    The Shared Perspectives series is also open to the public, making this a valuable opportunity for Brock’s Music Department to connect with the local community. Past sessions have seen up to 20 community members in attendance, Rensink-Hoff says.

    The series continues Brock and the MIWSFPA’s strong history of community engagement in Niagara, enhancing vitality in the region and offering experiential opportunities for connection through the arts.

    While this initiative was always designed to be virtual, given its success and positive response, Rensink-Hoff plans to run the series again next year.

    “I hope to partner with other colleagues who want to bring in guests on a range of music related topics. Stay tuned for Shared Perspectives 2.0 next year.”

    To learn more about upcoming Shared Perspectives workshops, please visit ExperienceBU.

    To register for a free workshop, please email sing@brocku.ca

    More information available on the Sing! At Brock website. 

    Upcoming Shared Perspectives workshops

    • Wednesday, March 3, 2:30 p.m.: Rollo Dilworth — Cultural Appropriation and Culture Sharing in Choral Music
    • Monday, March 15, 12:30 p.m.: Cynthia Peyson Wahl — Decolonizing the Music Curriculum
    • Wednesday, March 17, 2:30 p.m.: Leanne Vida — A Spectrum of Sound: Vocal Resonance
    • Wednesday, March 24, 2:30 p.m.: Christianne Rushton — Fact or Fiction: Debunking the Myths Around Vocal Health
    • Monday, March 29, 12:30 p.m.: Ardelle Ries — The SingAble Society
    • Wednesday, March 31, 2:30 p.m.: Michael Barret — Traditional South African Music

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series, Special Events, Uncategorised

  • Music@Noon concert series goes virtual

    Former Music students Gavino Oresta (left) and Eric Godfree perform their recitals during a previous Music@Noon Series event. This year, the concert series will be held online in accordance with public health guidelines.

    The RBC Foundation Music@Noon Series returns Tuesday, Nov. 17, albeit with a new format.

    The anticipated concert series will be held virtually this season, with Brock Music students recording solos from their own homes.

    In the past, performances have taken place live on the stage of the Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC), adjacent to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). This year, the PAC and Brock’s Department of Music changed the format in accordance with public health guidelines.

    Self-recorded performances from the solo recital students will be streamed Tuesday through the MIWSFPA and PAC YouTube channels and Facebook pages, marking the first online presentation of the 2020-21 concert series.

    Generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation, the free concert series takes place most Tuesdays at noon throughout the academic year. The recitals are open to the public and feature Brock’s performance faculty and special guests, as well as talented students and alumni.

    For full event details, please visit the Music concert listings page.

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  • Upcoming: The Department of Music virtually attends Royal Conservatory of Music College & University Music Fair 2020

    The Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University is excited to virtually host future musicians at their online booth! The Royal Conservatory College & University Fair is going virtual this year. Set for October 3, 2020, registration is FREE. It has never been easier for future students to learn about the programs offered, admission requirements and much, much more. See you there!

    Register for free: https://bit.ly/2ZS1cLR

    To learn more about the programs offered through the Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, drop by our degree programs page.  

     

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  • Brock Choir sings new tune for virtual 2020-21 season

    (including content published THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2020 | in The Brock News by )

    Choir at Brock University will look a little different this fall by moving to a virtual rehearsal format.

    “Given the known risks of singing together in groups, we will not attempt to do what we normally do until health guidelines permit us,” says Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music and Choir Director.

    While not being able to safely gather and practice in person together is a challenge for those in choir, Rensink-Hoff sees it as an opportunity.

    “We have a unique opportunity to get to know and learn from one another in new ways through online discussion and active engagement.”

    Rensink-Hoff will focus the choir on pursuing some of the things they haven’t usually had time for, such as building individual skills in vocal technique and stage presence, analyzing music as a vehicle for storytelling, and reflecting on the historical and cultural contexts of songs. There will also be a “Shared Perspectives” series of guest interviews and workshops with conductors, composers and vocal-choral specialists from across Canada and the U.S.

    Choir members will need headphones, a video recording device such as a phone, computer or tablet, as well as internet connection.

    The Treble Choir (sopranos and altos) will rehearse together virtually on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m., and the Mixed Voices choir (sopranos, altos, tenors and basses) will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

    “Our work will emphasize the process, rehearsing, over the product, performing,” says Rensink-Hoff. “This is a tough transition for those of us in the arts, but it is also a chance to for us to strengthen our performance skills and to reflect on the significance of live performance to individuals and communities.”

    Choir auditions are open to Brock students, faculty, staff as well as members of the wider Niagara community. Both new and returning choir members may book their auditions online before the deadline on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Michelle Pressé, Brock University Communications, mpresse@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 905-246-1963


    SING@BROCK ONLINE EDITION: audition for choir 2020-21

    Open by audition to all students, faculty, staff and members of the Niagara community!

    For the 2020-2021 academic year, choir will be fully online until guidelines allow for other forms of gathering. As such, the course will be less about performance outcomes and more about the process of learning, connecting, exploring and innovating as key elements of ensemble participation.

    Singers will engage with a diverse body of choral repertoire in sessions on vocal technique and choral skill development, explorations of movement and stage presence, analysis of music and text, workshops with guest artists, and collaborations through innovative singing projects. Rehearsal and performance skills will be developed in the context of a supportive community that promotes cross-cultural understanding and self-expression.

    Previous singing experience and ability to read music is required.
    For more information contact:
    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, rrensinkhoff@brocku.ca
    SEE >>> brocku.ca/sing

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Special Events, Uncategorised

  • Redesigned course explores global music and identities

    (Published FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2020 | in The Brock News by )

    This fall, Brock University students will have the opportunity to explore how music shapes, and is shaped by, global cultures.

    Music in Global Cultures (MUSI 1P50) will explore how music expresses and shapes identity around themes of race, gender, spirituality, disability and sexuality.

    “Every unit will have case studies from all over the world,” says Nina Penner, Assistant Professor of Music. “We’ll be doing a lot of non-western music.”

    For those who may associate music appreciation classes with symphonies and string quartets by predominantly white men from previous centuries, this course will offer a fresh angle with a diverse repertoire.

    “We’ll be talking about music and its relation to the society and culture in which it is a part,” says Penner.

    Students will be exploring music from countries such as Gambia, India, Nepal, Japan and Cuba in genres including hip hop, jazz, sufi, disco and blues.

    Students will explore issues of race through the music of the Black Lives Matter movement and American blues and examine disability through the music of the Goze, a group of female Japanese musicians with visual disabilities, and the Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles. They will investigate how Buddhist chant, the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Sufi order and traditional Jewish music express spirituality, and explore gender expression in opera and Balinese gamelan music.

    Penner hopes students from all disciplines across Brock will consider taking the course.

    “I really enjoy teaching music for non-majors,” she says. “I find it really exciting to take people who like music but think they aren’t skilled in music and show them how much they can learn and develop skills to listen to and describe things about music.”

    In North America, Penner says, students traditionally don’t get a lot of instruction in thinking about and discussing music critically.

    “It’s exciting to see students develop this vocabulary and to talk about music in a precise and informed way.”

    Course enrollment is open to any students who are interested. There are no theory requirements or prerequisites. The course is offered entirely online and the enrolment cap has been lifted to reflect the online learning environment.

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  • Brock University Wind Ensemble performs Musical Treasures

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The March 31 concert 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.

    A Concert of Magnificent Works Including:

    Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol
    Moussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
    Debussy/Razek: Reverie
    Chaminade: Flute Concerto featuring Carolann Moisse

    Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 7:30 pm
    Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    250 St Paul’s Street, St Catharines

    Order tickets from the
    FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office:
    905 688 0722; 1 885 515 0722
    firstontariopac.ca

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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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    Categories: Announcements, Encore! Professional Concert Series, Events, In the Media, News, Special Events, Uncategorised

  • Music@Noon is on the stage for November 12, 2019

    Today’s performance of the Walker Quartet will commence as scheduled at noon in the PAC Recital Hall.  Please join us!

    The Walker String Quartet is: Vera Alekseeva, Faith Lau (violins), Roman Kosarev (viola) and Gordon Cleland (cello)

    see the event listing: experiencebu.brocku.ca/event/132926 

    FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON

    Please drive safely!

     

    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series, Uncategorised