Last week I attended a wine tasting fundraising event to support my daughter-in-law who is a member of the Winnipeg Singers. It was held in a lovely backyard on a beautiful evening and besides the great wines included some delicious appetizers and first-class entertainment. One of the unexpected pleasures of the evening was chatting with two women with whom I share choir connections.
The Steinbach Treble Teens participate in A Mosiac of Music at the Centennial Concert Hall in April of 1970- I’m the very furthest to the right standing and leaning on the door and Brenda is just in front of me wearing glasses
Brenda and I used to sing in the Treble Teens together when we were in high school. The Treble Teens was a choir for young women based in Steinbach. We practiced weekly with our director Shirley Penner and did many performances throughout the year. Brenda and I talked about all the positive things we had learned as members of the choir. We also caught up on our lives chatting about our careers and families. I found out that Brenda had become a grandmother to a little girl just days before I had at the beginning of April.
Our college chamber choir. I believe Lynette is second from the left in the first row. I am second from the left in the third row.
Lynette and I sang in the soprano section of a chamber choir together at what is now Canadian Mennonite University in 1972. We practiced several times a week with our director Henry Engbrecht and traveled to many different places to give performances. Lynette also sang at our wedding. During our chat, Lynette and I caught up on our lives and families. She was just about to leave for Europe and would visit a college friend we both knew in England. I found out that Lynette had also become a grandmother to a little girl within days of when I had.
Winnipeg Singers publicity photo of their fundraiser
I guess it maybe shouldn’t be strange that at a choir event I met two women I had sung in choirs with in the past. My conversations with them brought back some good memories and enriched an already lovely evening.
I Was A Treble Teen
See You At The Concert Hall
If you are looking for some great entertainment in the next few days you need look no further than our family.
Tomorrow night the male choir my husband Dave sings in will be presenting an evening of wonderful music at Bethel Mennonite Church. Dave will be playing his harmonica for one of the numbers and I’ve been invited to be the narrator sharing personal family stories and readings from the Biblical narrative. It is the last performance by the choir with their current director the amazing Shirley Bestvater. She is retiring after tomorrow night and so the choir will be pulling out all the stops in her honor. You don’t want to miss it.
Then on Sunday afternoon our talented daughter-in-law Alisa will be performing with the Winnipeg Singers at Westminster Church. They will be reviving the music from their very popular CD Swingle Bells. The choir along with our daughter-in-law traveled to Europe this summer where they were the first place winners in a prestigious international choir competition in Florence, Italy. We will be at their Sunday Christmas concert with bells on. Why don’t you join us?
Last night we attended the Winnipeg performance of Shakespeare’s Richard II called Am I Not King? at the West End Cultural Centre. What a moving piece of musical theatre that was! You can read more about it here. And yes here is another shameless bit of family promotion…. our son Bucky and his band Royal Canoe are performing all the original music in this production. They are just terrific. The show runs till Sunday and you want to be sure to take in this unique production.
So there it is. The Driedger family is providing plenty of options for your entertainment pleasure this coming weekend. Hope to see you!
Music to Soothe the Soul
Fun Evening in Toronto
The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous
A Handel Meat Pie
Filed under Family, Music
This weekend it was all about the music! Friday night we went to hear Carmina Burana performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with the Mennonite Festival Chorus, the Canadian Mennonite University Chorus and the Winnipeg Boys Choir.
I was introduced to composer Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in a music class at university. Coincidentally my professor for that course Henry Engbrecht was directing the choir I heard sing on Sunday morning. My husband Dave is in the Faith and Life Male Choir and they were performing in a church in Altona. Henry Engbrecht conducts the choir. My father and I went along to Altona to hear the choir sing.
Then Sunday night Dave and I were at Home Street Mennonite Church to rehearse with a choir that will be performing on Good Friday morning. Our daughter-in-law is the director. We’ve never had the opportunity to sing under her talented direction before and it’s a treat.
Our daughter-in-law was also the drawing card for the musical event we attended Saturday night. It was a fund-raiser for the Winnipeg Singers. Our daughter-in-law was participating in their Singers Idol competition. Members of the choir formed groups and performed all kinds of entertaining numbers that delighted the audience. By buying tickets we could vote for the winning group. Naturally all our votes went to our daughter-in-law’s group The Sirens.
Via Facebook we were also be able to keep up with our son’s musical performances in Austin Texas where his band was part of the South by Southwest music festival.
Yes. It was a musical weekend and a good one.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Music?
Exploring Austin During the South by Southwest Music Festival
All That Jazz in Kansas City
I’m So Tired of You America
Filed under Music, Winnipeg
I’ve been getting to know St. Cecilia. Find out where we’ve been meeting on my Destination Winnipeg blog.
Sometimes after you’ve been to a cultural performance you read the review in the newspaper and nod in agreement with the writer. Other times you look at the review and shake your head. Was the critic at the same event you attended?
December 4th was the Winnipeg Singers Christmas concert and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It got my holiday season off to a great start. The Winnipeg Brass Quintet were special guests and together with the choir, and organist Diedrich Bartel they produced some thrilling sounds.
I liked the variety in the concert- music from different time periods and in different styles and the opportunity the audience had to sing-a-long with familiar carols. So I was surprised when Winnipeg Free Press reviewer Gwenda Nemerofsky criticized the concert for being too serious and high-brow. She used the words ‘plodding’ and ‘staid’ to describe the performance. I couldn’t have disagreed more. I was throughly entertained. I loved the very modern and almost haunting Lo How A Rose and when the choir sang Of The Father’s Love Begotten it was so beautiful I just closed my eyes and let the lovely sound wash over me.
Of course I have to admit I might not be totally objective in my evaluation of the concert because my future daughter-in-law Alisa is a member of the Winnipeg Singers. I don’t want to be too hard on reviewer Gwenda Nemerofsky because in my computer desktop folder labeled ‘Proud Mama’ I have a review she wrote in March of 2009 in which she mentioned Alisa favorably for a solo she did at a concert. Also in a column on December 15th Nemerofsky gave high praise to the Winnipeg Singers’ Christmas CD Swingle Bells. I have the CD and have already been enjoying it this holiday season.
On the other hand I totally agreed with CBC reviewer Jeff Schmidt’s critique of the Manitoba Theatre Centre’s production of Romeo and Juliet which I saw last night. The production is set in the modern-day Middle East and Romeo is from a Jewish family and Juliet from an Arab family. Schmidt says in his review the Middle East setting was not nearly evident enough in the play and I agree totally. Aside from the pictures of Jerusalem on the screen at the back of the stage and one character wearing a yamaka, it would be hard to know the play is set in 2011 or the Middle East.
The play’s Shakespearean language has not been altered for something more modern. Characters send letters by messenger instead of by text or e-mail. They even refer to the city of Verona in the play instead of Jerusalem or another middle eastern city and when Romeo and Juliet need counsel they turn to a priest, when obviously an imam or Jewish rabbi would have been much more believable given the religious background of the two main characters. When I was in the Middle East in 2009 it wasn’t easy to go from Israel to Palestine. It might have been realistic for the thwarted messenger, for example, to have been detained at an Israeli check stop as he attempted to deliver his letter about Juliet’s fake death to Romeo. There are many things that could have been done fairly easily to highlight the Middle East setting of the play.
The job of a reviewer is ‘have an opinion’ and both Nemerofsky and Schmidt certainly did so that makes their reviews good quality whether I agreed with them or not.
What next? Since I’m trying to explore different kinds of writing this year perhaps I need to try writing a review myself.