News

  • Brock String and Wind orchestras to hold final concerts of the season

    George Cleland and the Brock University String Orchestra will be back on the stage soon to conclude its season.


    (From The Brock News, March 25, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    The Brock University Wind Ensemble and String Orchestra will conclude their seasons with popular repertoire and world-premiere performances in two upcoming recitals.

    Presented by Brock University’s Department of Music, the Wind Ensemble will host its recital, A Touch of Latin, on Tuesday, April 2 in Partridge Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC).

    The Orchestra’s recital, A Spring Serenade, will take place on Wednesday, April 3 in the PAC’s Recital Hall.

    Conducted by Zoltan Kalman and George Cleland, respectively, the Wind Ensemble and String Orchestra bring Brock University students together with members of the community to perform for the public. These performances are a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ (MIWSFPA) mandate of building connections between the Niagara community and the breadth of talent and creativity at Brock.

    At A Touch of Latin, Kalman said concertgoers will be treated to an evening of brilliant works from a range of composers such as George Gershwin and John Mackey.

    “Our show will also feature an intriguing mix of different musical styles and three soloists — Mark Roberts, Rebecca Heathcote and myself — performing a world premiere under the baton of Sarah McKean,” he said. “From the high energy Redline Tango, to the splendid melodies of Cuban Overtureand the grandiose Music for a Festival, our repertoire will highlight the versatility and brilliance of this dedicated group and offer non-stop entertainment for all ages.”

    Cleland said he is looking forward to the String Orchestra’s concert because preparations for the recital showcased a great period of growth for the players.

    A Spring Serenade will feature a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, which Cleland said is “one of the most popular pieces in the string orchestra repertoire, loved for its beautiful melodies and sensitive use of the tone colours of the orchestra.”

    Guests will also hear Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, which is “a rich and intricate work, playing with antiphonal sound by breaking the ensemble into a string quartet and two string orchestras,” Cleland added.

    Tickets to A Touch of Latin and A Spring Serenade are available for purchase from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office by phone at 905-688-0722 or online at firstontariopac.ca

    For more information about the concerts or other music programming, visit brocku.ca/music

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, News, The University String Orchestra, The University Wind Ensemble

  • One-night-only performance set for Encore! trio

    Trio Amore, including Erika Reiman, Gordon Cleland and Christine Chesbrough, will perform on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Partridge Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.


    (From The Brock News, March 19, 2019 |By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    Guests attending the next Encore! Professional Concert, presented by Brock’s Department of Music, will be the first to hear Trio Amore perform on stage.

    The trio is coming together for a one-time performance titled Clara’s Love Triangle on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    Comprised of cellist Gordon Cleland, pianist Erika Reiman and violinist Christine Chesebrough, the group has arranged a concert featuring works by Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

    With it being the bicentenary of Clara Schumann’s birth, the group thought this was the perfect time to play her trio. Brahms was a protégé and friend of the Schumanns, so the performers felt that adding Brahms’ Op. 8 to the repertoire was a fitting choice.

    “The fascinating relationship between Brahms and the Schumanns would also be an interesting angle for the audience,” Cleland said. “The musicians would all have known each of the pieces the other wrote and were probably mutually inspired by each other.”

    Although the musicians aren’t a full-time trio, they have played together in the past and enjoyed working together while preparing for their upcoming concert.

    “I think this concert is a great opportunity for us and we are grateful to be able to present these wonderful pieces in a fantastic hall,” said Reiman. “The repertoire promises to be full of drama, memorable melodies and originality.”

    Trio Amore will perform on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Partridge Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Tickets are on sale now through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre’s box office.

    For more information on upcoming performances, visit the Department of Music’s website.

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    Categories: Encore! Professional Concert Series, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Brock Music grad creating change one song at a time

    Music grad Danny Lamb (BA ’12) has been using his Music degree to create positive change locally and internationally.


    (From The Brock News, March 14, 2019 |

    When Danny Lamb began singing lessons as a child, he never could have predicted the role music would play in his life.

    Whether he’s travelling the world raising money for charity or contributing to initiatives in Niagara, the Brock alumnus and singer-songwriter now uses his Music degree to create positive social change and give back to aspiring artists in need.

    One year after graduating, Lamb (BA ’12) embarked on his first major international tour to raise funds and awareness for hydrocephalus and spina bifida.

    Diagnosed with the conditions himself at age three, Lamb created the A Song, A City tour in collaboration with the International Federation of Hydrocephalus.

    He travelled to five cities in Europe and, quite literally, wrote one song per city to promote the benefits of music therapy for those living with the conditions.

    The initial tour ended in Izmir, Turkey, in 2013, where Lamb co-facilitated a music workshop called P.U.S.H (People United For Spina Bifida) and co-wrote a song with a group of young people who live with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

    Since then A Song, A City has turned into a successful social enterprise and continues to support similar initiatives today.

    Lamb’s most recent venture took place this past summer, when his band, Danny Lamb and the Association, set out on a six-city fundraising tour to send a child to ME to WE Take Action Camp.

    The Bethany, Ont., leadership camp gives children from ages nine to 18 the opportunity to make a difference in their communities.

    Lamb, who spent many summers working there as an ambassador and workshop facilitator, wanted to provide a child in need with the chance to take part in the unique experience.

    “The whole idea snowballed from a single song really,” he said, explaining the tour began after facilitating a workshop for a group of particularly inspiring youth from Trinidad and Tobago.

    Lamb wrote a song about the experience, called Army of Love.

    With the support of ME to WE, he then translated the song’s message of hope and desire to make the world a better place into the Army of Love tour.

    The tour started in Windsor and made subsequent stops in St. Catharines, Ottawa, Montreal and North Bay, before concluding in Halifax.

    In each city, as the band played Army of Love, the audience was asked to toss donations into the body of an old, beaten-up guitar. Lamb also auctioned off a different guitar — this one donated by friend Adriana Cinapri on behalf of Hydrocephalus Canada — to raise the additional funds needed to send 13-year-old Indya Kennedy to Take Action Camp.

    As the initiative’s beneficiary, the young visual artist attended the camp last summer, where she discovered a passion for women’s rights.

    “I wanted the grant to go towards a young person who is passionate about using their music or art to create positive change in their community and who potentially would not have been able to go to camp without the support,” explained Lamb. “Indya, among so many incredible young folks who applied, jumped out at me.”

    Lamb said the initiative would not have been possible “without the support of the local champions, partners and businesses who see music and the arts as having an impact locally and globally.”

    “It worked out better than I could’ve imagined.”

    Now, after a whirlwind couple years, Lamb is back living in Niagara. He said he is honoured to be part of a supportive community that encourages musicians to achieve their goals.

    “I love the community that I’ve grown up in and it’s given me a really good sense of what community is,” he said. “There are so many people in the world who are searching for a sense of community and trying to find what community really means. That’s a privilege I’ve always had, wherever the world takes me.”

    Lamb also noted that Brock instructors Deborah Linton and Lesley Kingham, were “huge champions” in helping him earn his Music degree and achieving all that he has today.

    The young musician has no plans of resting on his past achievements and slowing down anytime soon.

    “I think too much; I have way too many ideas,” he said with a chuckle.

    With plans to release new music and another tour in the works, Lamb hopes to keep using his music to create change — both in Niagara and around the world.

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    Categories: Alumni, Alumni, News

  • Student performances to wrap Music@Noon season

    Voice student Marcus Tranquilli (right) performed last semester with professional accompanist Gary Forbes as part of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.


    (From The Brock News, March 8, 2019)

    It’s time once again for Brock University Music students to take over the stage as part of the Music@Noon Recital Series.

    For the next five weeks, guests will hear performances by voice, guitar, piano and instrumental students.

    The next performance of the series, which features piano students, will take place Tuesday, March 12 in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, and will be followed by additional student performances on consecutive Tuesdays.

    Instrumental students will perform March 19, followed by voice, guitar and piano students March 26, and piano students April 2.

    Brock’s instrumental students will close out the season on April 9. This performance was rescheduled from Feb. 12 due to inclement weather.

    Thanks to the generous donation of the RBC Foundation, Music@Noon is a free one-hour concert that occurs most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year. All are invited to join the Department of Music in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    For more information on upcoming concerts, please visit the Department of Music Website.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series

  • String quartet returning to the Music@Noon stage

    The Walker String Quartet performed last season as part of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series and will return to the stage March 5.


    (From The Brock News, March 1, 2019)

    The final faculty and guest recital of the Music@Noon season will feature the Walker String Quartet.

    The group will take to the Recital Hall stage in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines on Tuesday, March 5.

    The Department of Music’s quartet in residence works with local students in high school string programs to share their love for music while promoting Brock’s Music program.

    The quartet will play Brahms’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2, one of the milestones of the romantic string quartet repertoire.

    Formed in 2016, the Walker String Quartet is now comprised of violinists Vera Alekseeva and Anna Hughes, violist Faith Lau and cellist Gordon Cleland.

    Music@Noon is a free one-hour recital series that occurs most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year. The Department of Music invites all staff, faculty, students and those from the community to attend.

    For more information on upcoming performances, visit the Department of Music’s website.

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    Categories: Events, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series

  • Brock prof to premiere new works by St. Catharines composer

    Pianist Karin Di Bella will perform at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines on Tuesday, Feb. 26.


    (From The Brock News, February 22, 2019 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    Following her recital with Maltese-Canadian flutist Rebecca Hall last semester, Associate Professor Karin Di Bella will give a solo performance on Tuesday, Feb. 26 as part of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.

    Focusing on one of her areas of expertise, contemporary Canadian repertoire, Di Bella will premiere a set of works by St. Catharines composer James Moffett during her performance in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Di Bella is currently working at Brock where she teaches studio piano, master classes, accompanying, keyboard harmony, piano literature and piano pedagogy. She has been sought after as an adjudicator for music festivals across Canada and is a senior piano examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music.

    The RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series features free one-hour concerts most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year. Students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to join the Department of Music on Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    For more information on upcoming performances, please visit the Department of Music website.

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series, Uncategorised

  • Avanti Chamber Singers to give a cappella performance

    The Avanti Chamber Singers will perform an a cappella concert at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. (Photo: Julie Hoff)


    (From The Brock News, February 15, 2019 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    Guests at the upcoming concert performed by the Avanti Chamber Singers are in for a surprise.

    Voices Raised, led by Rachel Rensink-Hoff on Saturday, Feb. 23, is a chance for Brock University’s choir-in-residence to celebrate the raw power of the human voice.

    The group will be performing an a cappella concert, with pieces ranging from early classical works to contemporary repertoire. The show promises to be the most diverse concert to date, with everything from open-throated chant singing to spoken word poetry.

    Members of the Avanti Chamber Singers have been working hard since their performance last November to build confidence with pitches and tuning, since there are no accompanying instruments this time around.

    “I am proud of what Avanti has accomplished in the short period of time since our last concert,” said Rensink-Hoff. “We can’t wait to share this program with our audience next week.”

    The group will also be performing a bit of beat-boxing and a deeply moving text by Indigenous poet Rita Joe titled I Lost My Talk. The singers will also be premiering two new compositions — one by Niagara-based composer James Moffett and the other by Laura Hawley.

    The Avanti Chamber Singers will also be inviting the audience to join in a singalong during the concert.

    Seating at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church is limited and guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets as soon as possible.

    Voices Raised takes place Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Advanced tickets are available through the Avanti Chamber 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.

    Rensink-Hoff is also the conductor for the Brock University Choirs, which includes both the chamber choir and the new women’s choir. Their next performance is Saturday, March 30.

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

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

  • Spotlight on students for next Music@Noon recital

    Music student Jessica Tigchelaar performed last term as part of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019)

    For the second week in a row, Brock University’s Music students are the focus of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.

    The instrumental students will perform on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    The upcoming recital will include performances by Jacob Gill, Synthia Khairallah, Rebecca Heathcote, Zack Guo, Alyssa Shanghavi and Jessica Tigchelaar.

    Music@Noon is a free, one-hour recital series that takes place most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year. The Department of Music invites and encourages staff, faculty, students and the community to attend.

    For more information about the Music@Noon Recital Series, please visit the Music@Noon web page.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series

  • Students ready to shine for Music@Noon

    Music student Ruth Jones performed last semester as part of the Music@Noon Recital Series, which continues Feb. 5 in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.


    (From The Brock News, February 1, 2019)

    It’s time once again for Brock University Music students to take over the RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.

    Instrumental, Piano and Voice students will perform on Tuesday, Feb. 5 in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    This week brings both previous performers and newcomers to the stage including Divya Iyer, Alyssa Shanghavi, Ruth Jones, Marcus Tranquilli, Patrick Tanner, Nicole Abbruscato, Can Kilic, Donglan Liu, Grace Martins, Taj Crozier, Cassandra Sullivan and Ryan Baxter.

    Music@Noon is a free, one-hour recital series that takes place most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year. The Department of Music invites and encourages staff, faculty, students and the community to attend.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, News, RBC Foundation Music @ Noon 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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    Categories: Announcements, Media Releases, News