Winds concert part of ambitious band project

“Winds concert part of ambitious band project”. An article by Martin deGroot in The Record on December 17, 2011 describing the concert A Christmas with The Winds and Young Voices and the WW project to create a Youtube channel and DVD promoting Canadian band music.

Winds Concert Part of Ambitious Band Project

From The Record, Saturday, December 17, 2011 by Martin deGroot

Here’s a heads up on a great seasonal concert offering tomorrow afternoon: A Christmas with the Winds and Young Voices.

That’s “the Winds” as in the Wellington Winds, another of our local cultural treasures. The Winds originated in the county next door but have been centred in Waterloo for most of the 30 years they’ve been presenting “the best in band music.”

The “young voices” are the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir, about 80 voices ranging in age from 6 to 15.

Dr Gordon Greene, the former Dean of the WLU Faculty of Music, will perform as narrator for the program.

The Wellington Winds season includes four Sunday afternoon concerts, normally presented twice in a Kitchener and Waterloo church locations. Tomorrow’s performance, however, will only happen once, at the newly reconstructed Knox Presbyterian Church in Waterloo.

The choir will perform a set on their own, and then join the Winds to sing the Galician Christmas carol Rhiú, Rhiú, Chiú, John Michael Talbot’s Magnificat arranged by Winds conductor Dan Warren, and John Rutter’s The Shepherd’s Pipe Carol.

The band will play selections from the Nutcracker ballet suite arranged for band, as well as Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival.

Everything on the program is connected with Christmas in one way or other, including two narrations:

A program highlight is a recitation of the perennial Canadian favourite The Creation of Sam McGee with a musical setting by Elmira composer(and former Wellington Winds conductor) Michael Purves Smith.

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun: By the men who moil for gold … ” Everybody knows the poem, which, as Purves-Smith points out, “probably has more rhyme per square inch than any other in the English language.” I had to be reminded, though, that Robert Service’s tall tale of the Yukan Gold Rush has a yuletide setting:

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail ….

Dr Green will also recite the text of what is probably the most popular and enduring newspaper editorial of all time, Francis P. Church’s Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, in this case in a musical setting centred around on a medley of Christmas Carols arranged by Wellington Winds veteran David Arthur.

When I met with with Dave Arthur and Michael Purves-Smith this week, they explained that the concert tomorrow is connected to an ambitious project that will break new ground for the Winds and, if everything goes according to plan, for band music in Canada in general.

The original aim was to do another CD project following up An Artist’s Neighbourhood, an acclaimed studio recording of works by local composers produced with Chestnut Hall Music in 2002.

With inspiration and encouragement from Chestnut Hall Music founder and producer Earl McCluskie, and financial support from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, this project has evolved into three-fold undertaking designed “to tell the story of community music making”:

–        an educational DVD about Canadian band music that will be distributed free of charge to regional music teachers for high school classroom use and to the general public at cost;

–        a commercially available CD of some of the performances associated with the project;

–        and a YouTube channel dedicated to Canadian band music, including complete performances of canadian works composed or arranged for wind ensemble and interviews with composers, conductors and players.

Tomorrow’s concert is in opportunity to be part of this exciting undertaking.

A Christmas with the Winds and Young Voices

  • Wellington Winds, Daniel Warren, conductor
  • Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir, Carolyn VanderBurgh, conductor.
    Sunday, December 18, 2011, 3:00 p.m
  • Knox Presbyterian Church, Waterloo