Welcome to GAIA!

As the President of Huron Waves Music Festival, it is my honour to trumpet the June 1 launch of our much-anticipated 2023 season.  Many delights await our patrons, friends and neighbours, throughout June, most notably GAIA, U.K. artist Luke Jerram’s colossal, beauteous, inspiring sculpture of Earth, complemented by a captivating mix of concerts and events. Please read on if you wish, or skip right to our website for details and tickets:  www.huronwaves.ca

GAIA is on view until July 3, and if you really want to see NASA, whose photographs make up this 20’ geography of our world, try your luck with the Festival’s Take Flight raffle. The winner receives two flights to Houston, Texas courtesy Air Canada, airport transfers, three nights at the downtown Hilton, a city tour, and a visit to the famous NASA Space Centre.  Tickets go on sale next week.

Many of the thousands who will join us at Trivitt Church Auditorium in Exeter to view GAIA will experience The Overview Effect, a powerful flood of emotions. Astronauts in orbit, and viewers of GAIA, report feeling a new appreciation for the beauty and fragility of our Earth, a tiny haven for life in the vast black void of space. Those who experience The Overview Effect feel more protective of our planet and gain a deeper appreciation of the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of all life on Earth. In addition to these profound feelings, viewers of GAIA of all ages also agree the exhibit is pretty darn cool!

Our concerts and events begin this Sunday, June 4 at 3 pm with the world premiere of the chamber version of Water: an Environmental Oratorio. A choir of forty, four opera soloists, and a small orchestra present a story of environmental activists in a small Ontario town rising up to oppose a new industrial development. The mayor of the town, Helen, is a strong proponent of the factory but the stakes skyrocket when her own son, Michael, joins the protest group concerned about the risks of “forever chemicals”.  Water has a special resonance with those of us who live near and cherish The Great Lakes.

Speaking of those magnificent bodies of water that comprise 20 percent of the fresh water on Earth, our second concert is Jazz of the Great Lakes, on Thursday, June 8 at 8:30 pm. Trumpeter Andrew McAnsh brings along six colleagues for an evening of music and stories about composing and presenting a jazz suite about The Great Lakes. Can you guess how many movements there are in the suite?  (Hint: you can count them on one hand.)

Next, Huron Waves’ guest choral ensemble, The Elora Singers, will present the oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard on Wednesday, June 14 at 7:30 pm. This beautiful and impactful story set to music by Craig Hella Johnson recounts and reflects on the tragic murder of a young gay man in America.  The lesson through moving music is that while we need to be kind toward our Earth and all the creatures on our planet, we also must treasure our fellow human beings, especially those who may be different from ourselves.

The festival is beyond excited to present An Evening with Tomson Highway and Friends on Wednesday, June 21 at 7:30 pm at Dark Horse Estate Winery near Grand Bend. Hosted by celebrated actor Graham Greene, this concert will feature songs in Cree and English by the  playwright/pianist/composer/novelist whom Maclean’s magazine dubbed one of the 100 most important figures in Canadian history. On June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Huron Waves is proud to present such a prominent and fascinating First Nations artist.

A fun and tasty event on Saturday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m. will be our first annual Strawberry Social. After you’ve experienced GAIA, come back to Earth for some fresh, delightful treats on the fine outdoor patio at Eddington’s Restaurant. The menu includes strawberry mocktail bellinis, assorted finger sandwiches, light seasonal salads and – crucially – Traditional Strawberry Shortcake (yum)!

Finally, a unique, immersive soundscape premieres on June 28 and 29 at 8:30 p.m. Endless Dusk: an Arctic Sound Experience features rounds of songs by human voices amidst the recorded sounds of cracking ice, winds, animals and silence, all captured in the far North. Presented in the glowing presence of GAIA, I predict this will be absolutely unforgettable.

There you have it… awe-inspiring visual art, sublime music, timely and poignant stories, Canadian acting and literary royalty, a thought-provoking theme of planetary protection.  I’ve booked my tickets to every event…hope to see you there!


Paul Ciufo