Media Releases

  • 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

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    Categories: Announcements, Future Students, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • 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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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, The University Wind Ensemble, Uncategorised

  • Join us for Guitar Extravaganza 2020! A Walker Cultural Leader Event.

    The Mighty Niagara Guitar Orchestra presents The Guitar Extravaganza 2020.  Always a popular annual event, join us for this remarkable evening of student, community, and professional performances on the stage of the Recital Hall.

    Saturday February 01, 2020 – 7:30 pm
    The Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    Brock University’s annual celebration of the guitar continues, featuring The Mighty Niagara Guitar Orchestra, comprised of 70 classical guitarists from Niagara and Southern Ontario.  Orchestra members travel from as far as Sarnia, Sudbury, Ottawa and even Boston – all under the direction of Artistic Director/Conductor and Brock University Guitar Instructor, Timothy Phelan.

    Tickets: $18.00† adults; $13.00† seniors/students; $5* eyeGo program. General admission.
    Tickets available as part of the Brock Student Experience Package.
    † Includes the $3 FOPAC Cultural Capital Improvement Fund (CCIF); other applicable fees and taxes are extra.
    *No CCIF applied; other applicable fees and taxes are extra.

    Purchase tickets from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Box Office: 905 688 0722; 1 855 515 0722; firstontariopac.ca

    The 2020 concert is a special Walker Cultural Leader program for the Department of Music. Niagara natives Paul Wiebe and James Bryan (Philosopher Kings, Prozzak, Nelly Furtado, Shawn Mendes) join the special guests and internationally-renowned soloists René Izquierdo & Elina Chekan, and Emma Rush.  The music is composed and/or arranged by three Niagara-native musicians: James Bryan, Timothy Phelan & Floyd Turner.

    This year’s program features 3 World Premieres:

    BEATLES – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, arranged by Floyd Turner.
    Written especially for GUITAR EXTRAVAGANZA 2020, an arrangement that masterfully incorporates four beloved songs by The Lads from Liverpool: “Michelle”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “The Long & Winding Road”, and “She’s Leaving Home”. (World Premiere)

    I Know. Deep Breath. by Timothy Phelan,
    Elina Chekan & René Izquierdo, Soloists
    Composed especially for GUITAR EXTRAVAGANZA 2020, and dedicated to René Izquierdo, Elina Chekan and members of The Mighty Niagara Guitar Orchestra.
    (World Premiere)

    Follow Me. by James Bryan, arranged by Timothy Phelan.
    James Bryan, Soloist
    Composed especially for GUITAR EXTRAVAGANZA 2020. Three Songs originally written by James Bryan for Solo Guitar (“The Chase”, “Falling Deeper” & “Follow Me”) and re-imagined for Guitar Orchestra by Timothy Phelan. (World Premiere)

    Performers and Composers (in order of appearance):

    The Mighty Niagara Guitar Orchestra
    Classical guitar orchestras have experienced an immense surge in popularity in recent decades. One of the first such orchestras with international recognition and influence was that of the University of Toronto, under the artistic direction of Professor Eli Kassner, and including founding member Timothy Phelan, who arranged much of its repertoire, and later became its Conductor/Instructor. (One such international performance was at the Havana International Guitar Festival, where a very young René Izquierdo first met and studied with Eli Kassner!). The Mighty Niagara Guitar Orchestra was formed for the very first Brock University Guitar Extravaganza in 2015 with approximately 30 guitarists, primarily from the Niagara Region, and later more than doubling in size, with this year’s members joining us from as far away as Sarnia, Sudbury, Ottawa and Boston! The concert that you are enjoying this evening was accomplished through the diligent individual practise of the guitarists involved, two preliminary optional rehearsals on the preceding weekends for primarily local members who were available, and one very full day of rehearsal today!

    A native of Minsk, Belarus, Elina (Ella) Chekan holds Master of Music degrees in Orchestral Conducting, Pedagogy and Classical Guitar Performance from theBelarus Academy of Music and a Master of Music degree from Yale University. She is currently finishing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. Combining active performance and teaching careers, Elina performs as a soloist and chamber musician around the world. Some of her recent appearances include Iserlohn Guitar Festival, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; The Volterra Project, Italy; Guitar Festival in Lanciano, Italy; Series of Concerts in the Camino de Santiago, Spain; Festival in East Carolina University; Barrios Festival in Manaus, Brazil; Brussels Royal Museum of Musical Instrument, Belgium; Yale University; Guitar Festival in Mannes College, New York; Tucson Classical Guitar Society; Guitar Festival in Salamanca, Mexico among others. Elina is a frequent conductor of the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra and the Usdan Center for the Performance Arts Guitar Orchestra. Guitar faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 2005, Ella is working with musicians and composers encouraging them to write appealing and musically interesting pieces for the next generation of guitarists. In her quest for present-day student repertoire, Ella commissioned Jorge Morel to write a series of solo and ensemble pieces which have been published by Mel Bay. Morel also dedicated to Ms. Chekan his composition Campanas published in The Magnificent Guitar of Jorge Morel. Elina enjoys arranging a wide variety of music for solo and ensemble settings.

    Rene Izquierdo, a native of Cuba, graduated from the Guillermo Tomas, Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and Superior Institute of Art in Havana. In the United States, Mr. Izquierdo earned a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma from the Yale University School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Verdery. While at Yale he represented the university in an exchange program with the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Danse du Paris and worked with guitarists Olivie Chassain and Roland Dyens. Rene has appeared as a guest soloist and in chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Cuba and Europe. He has shared the stage with prestigious guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Benjamin Verdery and Jorge Morel, as well as renowned flutist Ransom Wilson, soprano Lucy Shelton, David Jolley and Paquito d’Rivera. Renowned composers such as Jorge Morel and Carlos R. Rivera have dedicated works to him. Mr. Izquierdo is a recipient of numerous awards. He is a winner of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition in 2004, Extremadura International Guitar Competition, Schadt String competition, Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition, among others. He is currently a professor of classical guitar at the Wisconsin State University in Milwaukee and an active solo performer and chamber musician worldwide. Rene has studied with Leo Brouwer, David Russell, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Eli Kassner, Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Starobin, Eduardo Fernandez, Jorge Morel, Robert Beaser and Anthony Newman, among others.

    Guitarist/Conductor/Composer/Arranger/Educator (and St. Catharines native) Timothy Phelan made his CBC debut recording at the age of eighteen as concerto soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and American conductor James DePreist, and he has since been heard in solo, concerto and chamber music broadcasts over CBC Radio & Television, Radio France, Radio Caribbean, Cuban Radio & Television, and Radio Jalisco (Mexico). He performs internationally as a solo guitarist, chamber musician and conductor, with concerts in many places throughout the world, including Canada, the USA, Mexico, Cuba, Martinique, Europe, Scandinavia and China (including performances in the megacities of Chongqing & Chengdu, and masterclasses at the Sechuan Conservatory of Music). Tim’s recent chamber music collaborators include fellow Canadian guitarist Emma Rush, violinist Julia Wedman (Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra), Swedish cellist Kristin Malmborg, and Niagara Symphony Principal Flutist Doug Miller. As a member of The Gallery Players of Niagara, Tim collaborates with artists including world-renowned Canadian baritone Brett Polegato, the Eybler String Quartet and members of Tafelmusik. Tim is a prolific composer & arranger of music for solo guitar, guitar ensemble, and chamber music combinations with guitar. He has performed his compositions for guitar & choir with several of Canada’s finest choral ensembles, including Chorus Niagara & the Niagara Symphony, and he regularly conducts his guitar orchestra compositions at international guitar festivals. A former faculty member at both The University of Toronto and Mohawk College, Tim has taught at Brock University for the past decade.

    Composer/arranger/guitarist Floyd Turner (b. 1955) began his guitar studies in 1962. His fate was sealed when, on the February 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan Show, he witnessed the first North American appearance by The Beatles. While in high school, he studied Piano and Theory with Ethel Kindy, and later, Classical Guitar performance with Jonathan Earp at Brock University. He subsequently studied Jazz Guitar performance with Lorne Lofsky and Jazz Theory with Shelly Berger at Humber College. Floyd currently focuses on new repertoire for solo Classical Guitar – both original compositions and concert-level solo arrangements of popular songs with a special focus on the 1960s. Many of these solo compositions and arrangements have been performed internationally by Timothy Phelan, in places as far-reaching as Mexico, Sweden and China, and several of his arrangements of Canadian music were recorded by Emma Rush on her Canadiana CD. Floyd’s large-scale work, Carpe Noctem, for Guitar Soloist with Guitar Orchestra (2017), was premiered at Brock University’s Guitar Extravaganza III with internationally-renowned Scottish guitarist Matthew McAllister as soloist. Floyd lives in Niagara Falls.

    Emma Rush’s career has commanded world recognition. Recent touring highlights include a four-city tour in China, starting with the Altamira Shanghai International Guitar Festival, appearances at major guitar festivals including Festival de Guitarras Lagos de Moreno (Mexico), the Nyköping Gitaarseminarium (Sweden), and a prestigious concert at the Internationales Gitarren Symposion, Iserlohn (Germany). She tours throughout North America and in 2016-17 toured extensively in Eastern Canada as a Debut Atlantic artist. She performs regularly as Azuline Duo with flutist Sara Traficante and in 2018-19 the duo toured throughout Western Canada in the Yukon, BC, and Alberta. Rush recently appeared in the McMichael Gallery’s Group of Seven Guitar Project documentary alongside such notable guitarists as Bruce Cockburn, Jesse Cook, and Don Ross. In 2018 Rush completed two residencies to both create and research at the Sointula Art Shed in British Columbia and in Lübeck, Germany. She has received three City of Hamilton Arts Awards, and has had her work supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Hamilton City Enrichment Fund, and FACTOR. Rush is on faculty at Mohawk College in Hamilton. She has been a guest lecturer at colleges and universities throughout North America and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University in the fall of 2016. Rush is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Guitar Hamilton concert series that includes the Hamilton Guitar Festival.

    Paul Wiebe was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario. After completing a B.A. in Music at Brock University, he went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a focus on music of the early modern period. Paul studied guitar with Timothy Phelan and Jonathan Earp. He has performed solo recitals and as an accompanist, and spent several years as a vihuelist in the University of Michigan’s El Mariachi Michicano. He has sung in numerous choirs, including the Avanti Chamber Ensemble. Paul currently lives with his family in St. Catharines, where he is an elementary school teacher.

    James Bryan (b. James Bryan McCollum) is a Juno and Latin Grammy-winning Canadian guitarist, songwriter and producer. From his contributions as a member of 90’s acts Philosopher Kings and Prozzak, to his solo career and work with international artists Nelly Furtado, Luis Fonsi, Shawn Mendes and more, James has played on countless recordings and performed on stages from Wembley Stadium to Madison Square Gardens and Massey Hall. At the heart of all this music is the passionate, soulful and uplifting sound of James’ guitar. Hailed as one of Canada’s top guitarists, few songwriter/producers balance musicality and inspiration in the studio as effortlessly as James, and his track record with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Yuna, Backstreet Boys, Olly Murs, Luis Fonsi, Shawn Mendes and many more have proven the success of his approach. James grew up in St. Catharines and local guitar mentors include Timothy Phelan, Guy Cayen, and Warren Stirtzinger. While studying at the University of Toronto, James and some friends formed the Philosopher Kings, signing his first record deal with Sony at the age of 18. Platinum albums, a Juno award for best new group and tours across North America, Japan and Brazil gave James his first taste of success. His next band, Prozzak, became a pop culture phenomenon in Canada, further proving James’ skills as a songwriter and producer. His reputation for crafting hit songs, along with James’ instantly recognisable guitar style, began attracting other acts including Fefe Dobson and Nelly Furtado. After playing on her Grammy-winning debut Whoa Nelly and followup Folklore, James travelled the world with Nelly on the Loose Tour, including the Princess Diana Memorial Concert at Wembley Stadium in 2007, sharing the stage with Sir Elton John, Pharrell, Rod Stewart, Kanye West and more. Since then, James’ credits include co-writing and producing songs for Nelly’s Latin Grammy-winning album Mi Plan, work in London UK with Jessie J, James Morrison, Jason Mraz, James Blunt, and more, co-writing several songs for Lisa Marie Presley’s album Storm & Grace, and work with Malaysian singer/songwriter Yuna that led to MTV Europe Music Award and World Music Award nods. James has released three albums as a solo guitarist: Beautiful World (2005), By Your Side (2017), and Hush (2019).

    In conjunction with Guitar Extravaganza 2020, guest artists René Izquierdo & Elina Chekan will also give masterclasses, plus a concert of their own featuring Solo and Duo Guitar Music.

    Open to the public, Rene will give a class on Cuban Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday January 31 in MWS 156.

    Also open to the public (with an auditor’s fee of $20) will be masterclasses for advanced students from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday February in MWS 104 and 107.

    The concert of Solo and Duo Music will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday January 31 at St. Barnabas Church in St. Catharines. (Poster, left)

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Media Releases, Special Events, Uncategorised

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Media Releases, News

  • 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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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, Media Releases, News, Viva Voce Choral Series

  • 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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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Future Students, Media Releases, News

  • Avanti Chamber Singers – Choral Flora

    Avanti Chamber Singers presents “Choral Flora: A Garland of Song” for spring.  Successor to conductor Harris Loewen to be named.

    On Saturday, April 29, Avanti Chamber Singers (ACS) will present their final concert of the season, and their very last with conductor Harris Loewen. In celebration of spring, the theme is “Choral Flora,” which will include colourful choral suites and part-songs on the topic of flowers and trees.

    Joining Loewen and Avanti Chamber Singers will be Zoltan Kalman, clarinetist extraordinaire, who will perform with the choir alongside soprano soloist Melissa-Marie Shriner, as well as playing several solo works. Kalman is Loewen’s colleague at Brock University, and conducts the University Wind Ensemble.

    Avanti Chamber Singers will also take this opportunity to announce Harris Loewen’s successor as Conductor and Artistic Director.  Loewen founded ACS in 2006, at the encouragement of his former students, and has had a very successful 11 years as their conductor, producing three CD recordings.  He will be retiring this spring from a long and active career as a choral conductor.

    The concert “bouquet” will feature lyrical works by both Canadian and international composers. The main items on the program will be three delightful short suites by acclaimed Vancouver composer Stephen Chatman (“How Sweet and Fair”), as well as prolific American composers James Mulholland (“Robert Burns Ballads”) and Gwyneth Walker (“The Great Trees”).

    The program will also include several premiere performances of new arrangements by Niagara composers.  The choir will perform John Butler’s take on the French-Canadian folksong “The Rosebud”, as well as Loewen’s own version of the famous “Heidenröslein” by Heinrich Werner.  Works by famous composers such as Dvořák, Mendelssohn and Vaughan Williams will round out the program.

    Loewen states, “A floral arrangement in choral music is not only a fitting seasonal program, but a beautiful way to wrap up my career. I have loved making great music with the dedicated singers of Avanti, as well as our guest artists, and promoting the music of Niagara composers along the way.
    It’s been just a fabulous community experience in all of its various aspects.”

    The Viva Voce Choral Series, presented by the Department of Music, is a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and Brock University.

    Come and enjoy this choral celebration on Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m., held at Covenant Christian Reformed Church, 278 Parnell Rd, St. Catharines. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors & students, $5 for the eyeGo high school ticket program, and are available to be purchased at the door. A $5 discount is available on advance tickets in St. Catharines from Thorold Music (289 Glendale Ave.) and Booksmart (Scott/Vine Plaza, 350 Scott St.), or from members of Avanti Chamber Singers. Discount is not applicable to eyeGo pricing.

    For an interview or more information contact:
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    T: 905-688-5550, x 4765 | E: miwsfpa@brocku.ca | W: brocku.ca/miwsfpa

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    Categories: Events, Media Releases, News, Viva Voce Choral Series

  • The Brock University Wind Ensemble presents “Music for the Soul” on stage in Partridge Hall

    Plato states, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” On Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 7:30 pm, join us as the Brock University Wind Ensemble explores their full breadth of repertoire with music that will move your soul.

    Under the baton of conductor Zoltan Kalman, the University Wind Ensemble features the talents of 60 musicians drawn from Brock University, elementary, and high schools within the Niagara Region and the broader music community. This concert also includes musicians from Burlington’s Symphony on the Bay: Peter Macdonald, Mary-Anne Pearson, David Pearson, and Graham Young.  As well as Patrick Beard from the Niagara Symphony.

    Elementary and high school students performing with the Wind Ensemble include: Christine Kim, a grade eight student from Glynn A. Green Public School (Fonthill); Lucas March from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School (St. Catharines); Jessica Traynor and Synthia Khairallah from Lakeshore Catholic High School (Port Colborne).

    Zoltan Kalman states: “Our concert features a captivating mix of classical, romantic and easy listening works that will highlight the brilliance and versatility of the Brock University Wind Ensemble. From the amazing love story of “Romeo and Juliet” to the high energy “A Weekend in New York” this evening aims to capture the celebration of love, power and passion.”

    The evening program includes: Philip Sparke: Prelude to a Celebration; Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Variations on a Theme of Glinka, featuring Nicholas Cooper, Oboe; Charles Gounod: Faust Selection; Roger Cichy: Geometric Dances; Leroy Anderson: The Waltzing Cat; Jan Van der Roost: Flashing Winds; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy; Alexander Arutiunian: Trumpet Concerto, featuring Tim White; Samuel R. Hazo: Arabesque;
    Philip Sparke: A Weekend in New York; and Bill Holcombe: Lennon/McCartney Portrait.

    The Department of Music is a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and the breadth of talent and creativity at Brock University.

    Experience “Music for the Soul” on Tuesday, April 4th at 7:30 pm, held in Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $10† general admission; $5† child (14 and under); $5† eyeGo high school program (†applicable fees and taxes are extra). Current students of the MIWSFPA may each redeem a complimentary ticket with valid ID.

    Purchase tickets through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office: 905.688.0722; long distance toll free: 1.855.515.0722; online: firstontariopac.ca; e-mail: boxoffice@firstontariopac.ca; or at the door.

    -30-

    Media call: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm in Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines

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    Categories: Events, Media Releases, News, The University Wind Ensemble

  • Brock University Choirs and Brock Music Alumni – Finale

    Brock University Choirs and Music Alumni join conductor Harris Loewen in his farewell concert, “Finale”

    Saturday, April 1, 2017 marks the end of Dr. Harris Loewen’s career as conductor of the Brock University Choirs with a festive concert appropriately titled “Finale!”  The current men’s, women’s and mixed choirs will be joined on stage by 50 Music alumni, the Walker String Quartet and other guest artists to celebrate his 30 years of choral music-making at Brock University.

    The Department of Music invites all Music alumni and former choristers to attend this musical event, held in Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.   Additional activities for alumni are planned for the weekend, including social events and tours of the new Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts building.

    Joining the choirs and Music alumni on stage will be the recently established Walker String Quartet (WSQ), along with guest artists Fil Stasiak (double bass) and Devon Fornelli (percussion). The WSQ is a professional ensemble completing its first year as quartet-in-residence with the Department of Music.

    The concert program will feature a variety of repertoire, opening with Vivaldi’s “Magnificat,” which Loewen first performed with the choirs in his debut concert at Brock University in the fall of 1987.  Several new works written by colleague Dr. Matthew Royal will also receive their premiere performance.  This continues the tradition that Loewen has established throughout his career, in both concerts and recordings, as a champion of choral music by Niagara composers.

    Loewen has also been active as a community choral conductor throughout Southern Ontario, founding both the Niagara Vocal Ensemble (1991-2011) and Avanti Chamber Singers (2006) locally.  With these ensembles he has recorded five albums in the “Voices of Niagara” CD series, documenting the choral works of area composers.  He has also been active as a baritone soloist, performing in both classical and jazz styles, as well as an arranger, choral composer and choral clinician. Several of his choral arrangements and original works are now being published by Cypress Choral Music.

    Loewen states, “I have been privileged with an extremely rewarding career at Brock University.  I have enjoyed my students, had good collegial relations, and fulfilling opportunities to serve the university and community.  Most of all, I have loved the experience of making music, whether as a choral conductor, singer, clinician or composer.  I really can’t imagine having done anything else! ”

    The Viva Voce! Choral Series, presented by the Department of Music, is a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and Brock University.

    Join us for this choral celebration on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m., held at Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul St., St. Catharines. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $5 for the eyeGo program. They are available from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office: 905.688.0722 or Long Distance Toll Free: 1.855.515.0722; online: firstontariopac.ca.

    For more information contact:
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    T: 905-688-5550, x4765 | E: miwsfpa@brocku.ca | W: brocku.ca/miwsfpa

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  • The Avanti Chamber Singers host “Light and Dark,” a cross-border choral exchange with the Harmonia Singers of Buffalo, N.Y.

    On Saturday, February 18, 2017, the Avanti Chamber Singers will host the Harmonia Singers of Buffalo, N.Y. in a first-time joint concert for these two respected chamber choirs. The evening program features a captivating variety of choral repertoire on the theme of “Light and Dark,” including classical works as well as popular songs.

    The concert concludes with a nod to Black History Month. Robert Pacillo, conductor of the Harmonia Singers, will lead the combined choirs in Moses Hogan’s arrangement of “Walk Together Children.” Avanti’s conductor, Harris Loewen, will lead the ensembles in a premiere performance of his own “On My Way to Canada,” a new setting of abolitionist Joshua McCarter Simpson’s 19th century poem.

    This program also includes 19th century works by Brahms and Dvořák, as well as 20th century pieces by Houston Bright (Stars are with the Voyager), Canadian composer Stephen Chatman (On the Beach at Night), Lloyd Pfautsch (Stars). Rounding out the performances are choral arrangements from the Great American Songbook, including Hoagy Carmichael’s “Star Dust.”

    Harmonia Singers, founded by conductor Pacillo in 2005, is a semi-professional ensemble based in Buffalo, N.Y. They are active in presenting concerts and educational workshops in New York state, but have also made several forays across the border, previously performing in Niagara-on-the-Lake as part of Music Niagara’s concert line-up.

    The Viva Voce Choral Series, presented by the Department of Music, is a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and Brock University.

    Join us for an evening of superb music on Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m., held at Covenant Christian Reformed Church, 278 Parnell, St. Catharines. Admission at the door is $25 for adults; $20 for seniors & students; $5 for the eyeGo program for high school students. A $5 discount is available for advance tickets (excluding eyeGO) and can be purchased at two St. Catharines locations: BookSmart (Scott & Vine Plaza) and Thorold Music (Glendale Avenue).

    For more information contact: Marie Balsom
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    T: 905-688-5550, ext. 4765 | E: mbalsom@brocku.ca | W: www.brocku.ca/miwsfpa

     

     

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    Categories: Events, Media Releases, News, Viva Voce Choral Series