In Canada, according to that tired old joke, we do far more than just play hockey and talk funny; we also produce some pretty decent pieces of music, beyond the mere realm of Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams and Celine Dion.
On Saturday night, June 3, the Barrie Concert Band’s programme – Made in Canada – at Hi-Way Church on Anne Street North, plans to make the hearts of their audience leap out of their chests, with pieces either composed or arranged by Canadians.
Conductor Rick Pauze conveys excitement when he says, “the music also depicts something about the Canadian identity. That identity is shown by a focus on our history, traditions, geography or our impact on the world stage.”
Dolores Claman is one composer on whom the band turns its spotlight. Pauze concurs that Claman, who is still living (indeed, turns 90 in July, soon after Canada turns 150), is one of our less celebrated tunesmiths, even though her Hockey Night in Canada theme has been the national earworm for nearly 50 years.
“Yes, I think that she is deserving of much more recognition. She was actually more known for jingle writing, composing for over 3,000 commercials (not to mention the Place to Stand anthem from Expo 67). She was recognized only last year by being awarded the Cultural Impact Award.”
But the programme goes back – way back – to the origins of our First Nations brethren, and the European explorers who told their royal masters about the vast riches we now take for granted.
“Ojibwa Lullaby is a piece about native children being rocked to sleep in the swaying branches of trees. They Came Sailing is about the explorers such as Jacques Cartier coming across the Atlantic to this new land.”
But then, back to the 21st century,"Crooner's Serenade" is a medley of Michael Buble hits that would be appropriate at a summer concert or dance.
“(Buble’s) arrangements of classic tunes are fresh and presented to a new audience of music lovers. Of course I'm a bit biased, because I love the band set up he uses for these songs.”
Of course, no appreciation of music by Canadians would be complete without a treatment of the Hallelujah song, by the late, great Montrealer Leonard Cohen. Everybody… but EVERYBODY, it seems… has had a bash at Hallelujah since it first appeared on Leonard’s 1984 album, Various Positions.
Pauze looks forward to leading the band in Hallelujah, though he thinks of Cohen in a different light.
“Cohen has always impressed me as a poet more than as a musician. As a mentor to up-and-coming talents and a literary influence to many, Leonard Cohen has had few equals.”
Special guests for the concert are a surprising collection of musicians – ranging anywhere from five to 15 in number -- called Little Wind Music, a chamber wind ensemble of light classical to contemporary music.
The show is being held at Hi-Way Pentecostal Church on Anne Street North. The doors open at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 3, with the concert getting underway at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $15 for students and seniors, $20 for adults, and kids under five get in free.
It promises to stir the blood, and may get you waving the flag.
“We can all appreciate that all of this is Canadian and written by Canadians,” concludes Pauze. “This will help us realize the wealth of musical talent this country has for the world to see. Also, the music itself should make us free feel proud of our heritage and the beauty of Canada.”
For more information on this tribute to Canada, click here.