Welcome to the very day – August 1 – that I always consider the middle of summer…so perhaps you’ll find the items in this newsletter a little light, to reflect the sense of relaxation I feel around this time of the year. But what a unique year it has been…so far. We need music and the arts more than ever, say I.
An A-Maze-ING ACCOLADE As I’ve been driving around Huron County, I’ve noticed the fields luscious with crops while on my radio I’ve been hearing musical tributes to Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 250 birthday this year. How appropriate, then, to show you one farming family’s honour for the great composer… a maze on 1.7 hectares in the Bavarian town of Utting am Ammersee. Wouldn’t it be fun if a field in our County were made into a similar, annual labyrinth honouring a great Canadian music figure? Perhaps this is something a future Huron Waves Music Festival could encourage.
BALLET IN THE BARN But remember that there’s indeed plenty of cultural creativity happening right around us these days. Let me share with you the originality of a beautiful ballerina, Antonella Martinelli, a member of the National Ballet of Canada’s corps de ballet who was isolating with her relatives in Huron County. Every artist, no matter what her art, must stay in good form. I find this video, made by Antonella on her smart phone as she prepares to rehearse in the family barn near Hensall, simply ravishing. Click here to see this performance to music by Metallica, the American heavy metal band, on her ghetto blaster.
GOOD NEWS Yes. there’s good news – and appreciation – from Huron Waves as our General Manager undertakes the task of contacting each ticket buyer who’d hoped, just like us, to enjoy The Kingdom Choir from London, UK this year. So far, a good many people whom Heather Boa has contacted have either donated the value of your tickets back to help the music festival build its future or left the value of the tickets in trust with us towards your tickets for future concerts and events. And how strongly we want to assure you that we’re quietly building plans to mount a reduced season in December, if health and public safety conditions enable us to do so, and then present a major ten-day season in May, 2021. Fingers crossed!
HOLIDAY SHOPPING HAPPINESS I know, I know…it seems too early to be thinking about the celebrations and the holidays in December, but with only 146 days till Christmas, it’s never too early to start being prepared. And the kindly directors and staff of Huron Waves want to help with that process. OK – I won’t stress you with thoughts of what’s ahead. Just let me say that we’ll be offering some special products and experiences in November and December. Believe me, this will be both a fund-raiser and a shopping-saver worth waiting for.
BREAKING NEWS The Grand Bend Community Foundation has just announced a successful grant application to support Huron Waves with $10,000 through the new Vitality Fund which the Foundation administers on behalf of the Municipality of South Huron. South Huron now becomes another Founding Patron for Huron Waves. What positive, encouraging news this is for us! Our sincere thanks go to the South Huron Community Fund and to the directors of the Grand Bend Community Foundation who continue to be so supportive.
NOW, SOME INTERESTING MUSICAL LINKS
As I wrote above, it’s August, and the livin’ is relaxing, so let me share some links I’ve found particularly fascinating or pleasing as I’ve toyed with my iPhone while pretending I’m relaxing on a hammock overlooking a Lake Huron sunset.
Three Toronto groups – the Symphony, Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra – came together for a stunning performance of Cantique de Jean Racine by the French composer, Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). What I find notable and so impressive here is that Fauré was only 19 years old when he wrote this. And kudos are due for the 126 choral and orchestral musicians who made individual recordings of their parts at home after which the audio and video segments were brought together in 80 hours of work by the project’s staff. Watch it here.
This summer I’ve been listening more carefully than ever to the birds in the trees around our home, and this has led me to a fascinating book, What It’s Like to be a Bird. Then I went searching for some musical interpretations about birds and you won’t believe what I found: a forest of birds lending their chirps to a reimagined duet from Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute. What a delight! Watch it here.
Finally, is this music? Here is something that may not be to everyone’s taste, especially if one is shy about new music of the 21st century. But this is an interesting example of how composers and scientists are exploring new avenues of sound, even if it’s not what some could yet call music. Markus Buehler, a scientist and engineering professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, has converted the corona virus’ spike protein structure into music with each amino acid matched by a unique note and then converted by an algorithm into a note, a sound. I leave it to you to make your own conclusions, but I do challenge you to listen to at least a portion of this intriguing composition that Beethoven could never have imagined but that he just might have incorporated into the music he’d be composing were he at his desk this very August 1. Listen to it here.
Till we’re together again, stay safe and healthy. And remember that Music Connects Us.
John A. Miller, Artistic Director