Articles tagged with: FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

  • Meaningful Movements Reshape: Come to the Edge at Brock University and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    (From: The Sound, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 | by Kerry Duncan)

    Being invited into a space not built by you, or for you, offers the inherent need for trust and vulnerability. When audiences entered into the Come to the Edge Cafe on August 24/25 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, audience members were transported to a land of imagination built by, and for, wheelchair users with Cerebral Palsy (CP). This evolving storyscape replaced the traditional confines of theatre with an unlimited creation of shape and space, prioritizing the communication options for performers and participants with CP. The team working on this production aimed to foster an empathetic and reflective space for participants to sit in a potential level of unknown, discomfort, and to ultimately trust that they could not necessarily know the answers to questions like ‘Where are we? What’s it like to not know exactly what’s happening around you? What’s it like when you have to re-evaluate the things that don’t exactly apply?’.

    Come to the Edge is a collaborative development of immersive theatre, creating a new understanding of performance through dance, play, and improvisation. The central performance elements built by and for the Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team, made up of automatic and manual wheelchair users with CP. The group has been working with St. Catharines based creative collaborators from the March of Dimes Canada and the Brain Injury Community PET (Personal Effectiveness Training) Re-Entry Program to welcome audiences to trust in the idea that ‘not knowing’ is an opportunity for learning and empathy. The performances are supported by facilitators Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett from Toronto-based organization, Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), as well as a much broader team of musicians, artists, and support workers.

    With a long-standing history in St. Catharines, the ADCID has been working with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) since 2016 with the first iteration of Imagining Possibilities, the precursor to Come to the Edge. As a facility that was built under the universal standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) for inclusive physically spaces, this began a longstanding partnership for reshaping how St. Catharines builds and understands performance theatre. Professor David Vivian, Director of the MIWSFPA and an ongoing collaborator with ADCID explained that “Inviting the lead artistic team to join us and local artists in our first spring season at the MIWSFPA theatre was one of the highlights of our inaugural year in 2015-16. Come to the Edge is a long term project that has continued to develop over the years and bring together artists in a number of Ontario communities”.

    The development of the show over the past several years has taken this community and discussions about it global with performances and workshops in Toronto, Belgium, Prague, Hamilton and St. Catharines. Connecting with the Imaging Possibilities Movement through the Engaging Possibilities project at Brock University in 2015, Kris Daunoravicius has been involved with the growth and evolution of this project ever since. A local to St. Catharines and core member of the Leadership Team, Daunoravicus travelled with the ADCID team to Belgium in 2017 for a week of Envisioned Scenography workshops for the disability-focused Huize Eyckerheyde Residence. In speaking with Daunoravicus and Elaine Drover, another member of the Leadership Team, both utilized a range of augmented technology, body movement, facial expressions, and sound to showcase the range of experiences and stories that were being brought into the creative process during the years of work it took to create the latest version of this production.

    In speaking with Come to the Edge performer and ADCID collaborator, Frank Hull and long-time Leadership Team member Laura Leskur, they shared how the creation of this show was rooted in growing one another’s understandings of the other performers, and building a movement vocabulary unique to each performer and each moment of interaction. With a long-term career as a professional wheelchair dancer, Hull spoke to the multiple layers of relationality and equity between those involved in the show, “there has to be those moments where we are becoming equal together, regardless of how my ability may be different from Laura’s. But if we are moving together, we need to find a way to move together and not overpower one another”.

    As a verbal CP performer, he explained that “my world is very instant when I communicate. What I’m learning with this group is I’m facing my own ableism. It got me thinking about how from my role I have not been patient enough, not just with this group”. He elaborated on his reflections of needing to be more cognizant of not finishing other people’s sentences, but instead, learned to give people time to communicate within their abilities in order to share and explain their perspectives on the situation. Utilizing her bespoke communication board system*, Leskur also elaborated on these points, highlighting the necessity for patience as to “not miss the magical moments” and the necessity of utilizing body movements and the range of abilities in each performers arms and legs to construct meaningful exchanges.

    In discussing the necessity of moving towards an inclusive way of facilitating theatre for the performers, Sillett explained that “we created the processes with the community of those who are non-verbal in mind. There’s a lot of routes we could take which would be much easier to get an impact in the short-term, but it wasn’t our aim to go there. Our aim was to try and work honouring the deep engagement. The idea of re-establishing the relationship between the audience, and what their journey is going to be, the community making it”. Hull asserted that his role in adding the movement and dance elements to the show has been “a dream come true to work with manual and power wheelchairs to create movement together,” emphasizing the liberation of spaces focused on the lived experiences of the team rather than a more traditional methodology of prioritizing the audience.

    In reflecting on his work with the Imagining Possibilities Movement, Vivian explained how “my specific interests in working with the company lie in aspects of accessibility, universal design and the development process of improvisational, immersive performance spaces under very specific conditions. It has been a very humbling learning experience that we will adapt for my university course development and professional practice”. Breaking from the expected traditions of theatre development, the broad range of creative in communities in St. Catharines can take the fundamental ideas of change to expand who is in the audience, who is on stage, and how can we expand the experiences and interactions between these world.

    *Laura Leskur’s communication board is a bespoke system created at Bloorview and extended over the years. Laura has now memorized 1000 words with corresponding numbers. Elaine Drover and and Christine Jimenez have experience using Blissymbols to communicate. Blissymbolics is a semantic graphical language that is currently composed of more than 5000 authorized symbols – Bliss-characters and Bliss-words. It is a generative language that allows its users to create new Bliss-words as needed. It is used by individuals with severe speech and physical impairments around the world, but also by others for language learning and support, or just for the fascination and joy of this unique language representation. Elaine and Christine are both on the Board for Bliss Communication Institute Canada. See blissymbolics.org for more information.

    [The creators and producers of Come to the Edge wish to thank the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, for the generosity of their support by providing rehearsal space and technical support in the studios and the MIW Theatre through July and August 2019.

    The article was edited and amended for accuracy and reprinted with permission.]

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    Categories: Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock students embrace partnership with French music festival

    First-year Brock Music student Cassandra Sullivan, right, learns the mechanics of performing opera in French with the guidance of Suzanne Leclerc, an arts teacher at École élémentaire LaMarsh in Niagara Falls. Leclerc led one of the numerous workshops in the Monde le Son Festival that took place at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts May 13 to 15.


    (From The Brock News, May 16, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Brock University students got to offer some musical insight and even take in a lesson or two during a recent French festival held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    For the first time in its four-year history, the annual Monde le Son Festival, or World Sound Festival, was hosted at the MIWSFPA by French school board Conseil scolaire Viamonde.

    The event drew about 200 elementary and secondary school francophone students from across Ontario to participate in workshops from Monday, May 13 to Wednesday, May 15. Students learned how to play instruments, sing in different vocal styles, compose music and perform in front of live audiences in several performances held at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC).

    Brock Music students were invited to participate in the workshops and to observe the different strategies teachers had for leading the sessions.

    Brock Recruitment and Liaison Officer Madison Roca said she jumped on the opportunity to host the festival when the board initially suggested it last year.

    “It was a great chance to welcome new students to our campus and expose them to the possibility of pursuing the arts beyond high school, while also building a meaningful relationship with a new school board and supporting their initiative,” she said.

    Event organizers said the MIWSFPA seemed a fitting choice for the event after the decision was made to move the festival from its former home in the Greater Toronto Area. Students interested in music were attracted to the downtown arts school’s music facilities and close proximity to the PAC, and embraced the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the university experience while staying in Brock’s Earp Residence.

    “I liked the idea of joining a post-secondary institution to give the kids that experience and to also entice them to do further studies after they graduate from secondary school,” said Jeffrey Hughes, Viamonde’s Director of Educational Services. “It was a winning combination.”

    Mark Nouhra, the board’s Cultural Co-ordinator, said the opportunity to foster interaction between current Brock students and Viamonde’s younger learners was also a plus.

    “Knowing we could have some Brock students talk to and interact with our students, to see how things really happen here in a university music environment, was a priceless experience,” he said.

    First-year Brock Music student Cassandra Sullivan said participating in the festival’s workshops meant hands-on learning experience applicable to her future career path.

    With the goal of one day working as a vocal teacher and choir director, she said that “observing how teachers are teaching and what strategies they are using to engage with the young people was really useful for me.”

    Sullivan also felt the festival was an opportunity to embrace and celebrate her francophone roots.

    “I’ve had the opportunity to learn music and to learn French, but I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to learn music in French,” she said. “I really appreciated the opportunity to learn that new vocabulary and to combine my two favourite subjects.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Future Students, News

  • Season-ending Brock Choirs concert to explore stages of life

    The Brock University Women’s and Chamber choirs, shown at a recent performance, will again take the stage in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m.


    (From The Brock News, March 26, 2019 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    The Brock University Women’s and Chamber choirs are back for the second and final performance of the school year, with a program exploring the different stages and seasons of life.

    Led by conductor and Brock Assistant Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff, the two choirs will perform together on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The performance is part of the Viva Voce! Choral Series, which sees the University’s choral ensembles come together as the Brock Choirs in recitals that take place throughout the year.

    Since their most recent performance in November, the two groups have been working on new and diverse pieces for their upcoming concert.

    “Second semester always has more experimentation,” explained Rensink-Hoff, “so we do a lot of moving around in terms of our seating and how the voices work together.”

    The two choirs will perform a wide range of repertoire, from traditional pieces by Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms, to more contemporary songs by Canadian composers Nancy Telfer, Jane Siberry and Jon Washburn.

    Rensink-Hoff selected poems to include by authors Christina Rossetti, Robert Burns and Charles Dickens, which she believes will resonate with the audience.

    The choirs will also perform a few pieces in different languages. Rensink-Hoff said working with that material has been both challenging and rewarding for the groups.

    “When you work with languages a lot through singing, you really get an understanding of how a language works,” she said. “From an educational perspective, it’s really wonderful to see.”

    Along with pieces in Latin and German, both choirs will perform a composition in Xhosa arranged by South African composer Michael Barrett.

    Brock Choirs in Concert II will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) in downtown St. Catharines.

    Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. There is also a $5 option available for eyeGo program members. Tickets are available through the PAC box office at 905-688-0722 or on thePAC website.

    The final performance in the Viva Voce! Choral Series is also approaching on Saturday, April 27 featuring the Avanti Chamber Singers. For more details on upcoming concerts, visit the Department of Music website.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, 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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  • 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: Events, 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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  • 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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  • 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

  • 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, Department/Centre News, Events, News

  • 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