The Montreal New Horizons Band - end of year concert text: Monique Bourbeau; pictures: Marc-Andre Fournier and Audrey-Kristel Barbeau
Having been unable to participate in the spring session, instead of going on stage with my friends, I sat down with the audience. What progress we have made in the last 5 years! The band has grown (3 levels now: Inititation, Adagio and Allegro), the repertoire is rich and varied. Congratulations to all my musician friends: the show was brilliant. My favorite: the beautiful waltz No. 2 from Shostakovich. A somewhat biased choice I admit, because it has accompanied my skating several times at the Boucherville Arena. The performance was magical.
The band with David on the podium
From left to right, the team: David Peretz-Larochelle, Melissa Tardif, Mariane Generale, Audrey-Kristel Barbeau
Concerts given by the Wind Orchestra of Film Music by Monique Bourbeau
On June 13 and 14, The Wind Orchestra of Film Music (and video games) gave 2 concerts at Claude Champagne Hall - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back and Zelda: A link to the Past. Unable to choose, I went to both concerts. I became addicted to film music and video games: I, who have never seen a Star Wars movie or held a Nintendo console in my hands! And if I have developed such an interest, it is thanks to my participation in our band that has allowed me to broaden my musical horizons. I fell in love with the Wind Orchestra of Film and Video Game Music and its director Jocelyn Leblanc. What a man! A colorful, whimsical character (see his concert outfits and his luminous wand) loquacious and funny. We didn't get bored and the show seemed to please the children who were present! With him, the music is both listened to, and seen: he goes to the piano to explain to us how John Williams builds his music; he makes us see turtle battles, castles and dungeons. Sometimes you hear the rain and the storm or the lullaby of Zelda that he interprets himself on the ocarina. The vocal soundtrack ensemble (EVTS) under the direction of Francis Choinière was also performing for the Zelda concert and some singers stood out with their whimsical costumes. Every OVMS concert is a surprise: some musicians and animators are costumed. A prize drawing with drum roll created a certain suspense and allowed for an original and fun fundraiser. Programming for next year is already available: https://ovmf.qc.ca/achat/billets-de-concerts/. In May 2020, the OVMF will present Asterix. I absolutely don't want to miss it: I have played the tapes so much for my kids!
Two concerts that delighted me: 2 conductors who establish the communication between the orchestra and the public. by Monique Bourbeau
Lorenzo Coppola, clarinetist and conductor!
Last Saturday, March 16th, I went to Bourgie Hall to see and hear Lorenzo Coppola who was conducting and playing with the Arion baroque music ensemble and it was enchanting. Music critic Christopher Huss calls Coppola the "Roberto Benigni" of music with reason.
Coppola not only makes us hear the music but he has it speak to us and us see it. Twenty years ago, I attended a concert of the Arion ensemble at the Old Brick Church in West Brome; the music was beautiful but I came away with a bad memory of this concert: the musicians were cold; without smiles.
Coppolla speaks to us, tells stories to introduce music. Where do the conductors come from? What were the operas like in the past? Etc. He has the gift of bringing an orchestra to life. A small regret however: when he was not introducing the music, he played the clarinet but behind the musicians: we would like to see him more because he is so expressive and communicative.
The Film Music Wind Band: James Bond directed by Jocelyn Leblanc
Concert of March 17, 2019: What a show! Jocelyn Leblanc, another communicative and dynamic conductor. Breathtaking music played by high level amateurs. I wanted to be with them on the stage, with my clarinet to feel transported by the music. The percussionist Catherine Cherrier was remarkable especially in the piece, African Rundown.
As soon as I got home, I hurried to buy tickets for the Starwars and Zelda concerts in June. Go hear and see them: you will not regret it.
Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona. Report from Monique Bourbeau
I had been advised to visit the Museum of Musical Instruments in Phoenix, Arizona (https://mim.org/). While there in January, I thought why not, and I did not regret it! Although it is in the city, it is on the outskirts and it is better to have a car to get there, otherwise it takes a good 2 hours of public transport to reach it.
It is a huge museum and if you are interested in the instruments, one day is only just enough to go around it!
It is both a museum and also a concert hall/theatre. During my visit, there was also a temporary exhibition on the history of the electric guitar ... .I did not visit it for lack of time.
The museum features instruments from 5 continents and the rooms are subdivided by country. In each display section representing a country, there is a screen that activates when you arrive in front of it, thanks to a device with earphones that you are given at the entrance: a very effective technology that saves you plugging in unnecessarily. Then, you can then see and hear one of the instruments in demonstration.
In addition to instruments grouped by country, there are also special themes such as, for example, musical instruments made with recycled objects, robotic musical devices and music boxes. Another room will introduce you to famous singers or bands.
Want to play percussion instruments? A room puts them at your disposal for you to try! Various workshops are also offered to visitors.
I had barely 3 hours to visit the museum. As I like exotic countries and the unknown, I did not visit America and Europe, but I did see the other 3 continents, and I was amazed.
A selection of other interesting instruments at the Museum
Our band has existed for five years already. I look around and the stage is packed with musicians. There are so many of us that our saxophonists are a little overshadowed by the big white tree that decorates the stage. In the auditorium, many friends and relatives have come to hear us play. Will there be enough chairs for the audience? We are not too nervous. I feel the solidarity and the confidence of our group: we have come to know our strengths and weaknesses and we can enjoy the pleasure of playing together. All this thanks to a very close communication between us and our conductors: therein lies our strength.
My favorites of the concert: Moai with its percussion solos, Appalachian morning and its serene atmosphere, The Incredibles, and finally, Klezmer Karnival, the frenzied performance that required us to us overcome many challenges and that we played with energy and pride.
What I retain most from this concert: the feeling of being part of a family that is still growing and that is here to stay. Our band is five years old and now has three divisions now: Initiation, Adagio and Allegro. We have come a long way from the beginning and thanks to the interest and participation of our members, we have the confidence to continue and develop new projects.
Thanks to all the musicians and our conductors, especially to David and Audrey who have been with us from the beginning. I love to make music with you and I wholeheartedly hope that it we will continue for a very long time.