Music Connects Us
Notes from our Artistic Director March 1, 2022
From Lamb to Lion
What happens behind the scenes has always fascinated me. Perhaps that’s why I like to read biographies, to get to know the circumstances and traits that have inspired or derailed the famous, even the notorious.
(Biographies – Speaking of which, I want to recommend the book I’m currently reading. To Speak for the Trees is a fascinating biography with a unique approach to saving the planet; the author is Diana Beresford-Kroeger, an Irish-born, world-recognized, Canadian botanist whose residence near Ottawa is in a forest of native North American trees whose seeds she has researched, hunted down, planted and tended to for several decades. I’m especially interested in Beresford-Kroeger’s bioplan for how ordinary people can renew their relationship to nature with the goal of restoring a global forest. This woman and her advocacy may seem quite distant from the world of music that is traditionally the core of these monthly e-blasts but her work is actually the inspiration behind a developing Canadian cultural project about climate control in which I want Huron Waves to be an active partner. I’ll save my news about this initiative for future e-blasts, likely in 2024, when I hope it comes to fruition and to Southwest Ontario.)
Now, back to ‘behind the scenes’ because that’s how I can tell you a little about what’s ahead for our music festival over the next four months without revealing too many details. In fact, with all the negotiations and planning going on, March, for Huron Waves, seems to be coming in with a bleat but getting ready to go out with a roar!
Anticipating – Like everyone we know, directors and staff at Huron Waves are hoping that March will bring the careful easing of the rules and restrictions that got us safely to this point. Fingers crossed that this gradual opening up will include a change in the mask mandate which, though necessary, has been such a burden of enforcement for anyone organizing public events. We’ve diligently prepared to have rules and checkers at concert doors if necessary, but with current indications that we may not have to enforce the mask protocols, we’re encouraged to plan for a modest Spring season of music and then for other events in late Summer and early Fall, all towards building our brand, our support, our treasury, our confidence, and our opportunities for years to come.
Building – Covid may have set us back two years but in Aprilwe’d like to build upon what we have accomplished successfully, namely the two videos, Celebrate the Season (December/20) and A Huron Waves Christmas (December/21) whose combined viewership numbers 65,000+. These results have exceeded our expectations so our next step has been to build up the virtual series with production for a third video, A Huron Waves Musical Spring, 2022. FauxPop Media of Goderich will again film the musicians I’ve chosen from among talented performers who’ll be singing and playing at interesting area locales. I promise next month to come out from behind the scenes with the identities of the artists and ensembles in this musical travelogue, though I will say today that it looks like the segments will include classical, country, indigenous, multi-instrumental and percussion performances.
Planning – Since these e-blasts began, I’ve occasionally referred to the unique goals Huron Waves has set, including a commitment to spread the programming sites throughout the County. So far, the virtual settings have achieved this promise, and now, as we plan for live events, the same challenge frames our plans. As the person responsible for the artistic blueprints, I must admit I find this is a major test because I’m facing a scarcity of facilities where the seating can lead to ticket revenue sufficient to cover the costs for major artists of talent and profile whom Huron Waves would like to bring into the County; similarly, one needs facilities that meet the production expectations of today’s agents and performers. Gradually, I’m getting to know the County’s resources but I still think there may be theatres, auditoriums and unexpected sites which you readers could suggest. The month of May will see me finally balancing the performance locations with the artists we’ll engage, but I’ll always welcome appropriate suggestions – indoors and outdoors – for my planning list. Please send them via my festival email: JohnMiller@HuronWavesMusicFestival.ca.
Presenting – June is the month when all the anticipating, building and planning come together. Admittedly, this is not the month Huron Waves had originally designated for its festival, and June may not be the month when our future Spring festivals will take place. But at least for 2022, June is when we feel comfortable to launch a season of in-person programming.
Our June will begin with the release of A Huron Waves Musical Spring, 2022 after which our live events get underway, each at a different location within the County. Already you know I won’t reveal too much because the detailing is still in progress, but let me give you four hints about trends/traditions that have inspired my planning. Think of a unique anniversary being celebrated this month; a social designation that traditionally denotes this month; one singular, relatively new Canadian recognition for this month; and a style of music said to be a popular favourite in Huron County. Plenty to roar about!
Till we’re together again, stay safe and healthy. And remember that Music Connects Us.
John A. Miller
FYI – To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest / Diana Beresford-Kroeger. Publisher: Random House Canada. 2019 www.penguinrandomhouse.ca ISBN 9780735275089