Music Connects Us.
Notes from our Artistic Director
~ April 1, 2021 ~
April Showers Bring Messiahs!

The Most Performed Classical Work of all Time

It’s April 1 and we’re exactly 90 days into 2021, still with plenty of concerns and questions about what’s ahead. All we can do is get vaccinated, be patient and, as Easter approaches, take comfort from great music such as Handel’s Messiah which has proclaimed hope and new beginnings through difficult eras since its première 279 years ago. Personally, I can never get enough Messiah(…notice that it’s not titled The Messiah) so here are two interpretations I’m watching and recommending this month.

#1 – A Uniquely Canadian Messiah/Complex marks the return of a celebrated adaptation undertaken last December by Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre. Dubbed a timeless piece of music with a distinctly Canadian twist, the familiar solos are sung by twelve Canadian singersin their heritage languages, English, French, Dene, Inuktitut, Arabic and Southern Tutchone…and filmed with choirs in every Canadian province and territory. Members of the Toronto Symphony complete the cast. Messiah/Complex is available with a pay-what-you-can contribution for only four days, today until April 4, Easter Monday. This is not to be missed! The viewing registration link is here when you choose to watch.  Watch the company’s introduction video here.

#2 – An Authentic Messiah from Great Britain. This performance is significant because it’s a one-hour adaptation filmed in the London Coliseum’s gorgeous auditorium (without an audience in these virus sensitive times) but with the famous solos sung by double the number of singers we usually hear; this, we are told, is how Messiah was sung in London in 1742.

The eight British soloists are supported by the English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus for what BBC-Two promises to be a freshly creative interpretation explicitly designed for a virtual audience. Sounds very appealing!

BBC Two has announced the program for Saturday, April 3 at 1pm, our time (1800 hrs GMT) so it’s available via the internet on the BBC Two site here or one can view it later (likely, for some days in April) by visiting the basic BBC Two site here.

Britain, The Royals, The Kingdom Choir, Huron Waves…

That reference to the BBC prompts me to keep a focus on Britain for a moment (…forgive the leap, please). One might wonder how the controversies arising from Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke & Duchess of Sussex could even remotely touch us at Huron Waves. But they do, because of our interest in The Kingdom Choir. It seems that the Choir’s founder/conductor, Karen Gibson, has come to the defence of Prince Charles, whom many see as the source of the racial comments about the Sussexes’ child, Archie. Ms. Gibson says that the heir to the throne has been a long-time supporter of her ensemble; in fact, it’s been reported that it was Prince Charles who personally suggested The Kingdom Choir for the royal wedding.

The rest, of course, is history because around the world – with two billion people watching their performance of Stand By Me – calls mounted for the singers to tour in live performances.

Our turn to enjoy these amazing choristers at Huron Waves is hopefully just a year away when The Kingdom Choir’s North American tour, cancelled in 2020 because of the Covid-19 epidemic, is to be rescheduled for May, 2022.  Fingers crossed!

The Leonard Cohen Exhibition in Montrealand now a new Film

I’m glad that last month’s focus was of great interest and that it reminded many of their own visits to see A Crack in Everything at Le MAC in Montreal. Recently I’ve learned of a new film about L.C., a project to which he gave his blessing before his death in 2016. Taking its title from another Cohen song, Death of a Ladies’ Man, the film is now available on iTunes and other video-on-demand platforms.  Watch the trailer here.

I’m equally eager and inspired to see the film because to support the film nine Canadians recorded covers of their favourite Cohen tunes and released these on their own social media channels.  One of these musicians is Ron Sexsmith, whom we look to welcome to Huron Waves when we’ll be undertaking live concerts; Ron has recently posted his tribute song, L.C.’s The Faith. Watch it here.

Your Suggestions, Please

Because Huron Waves can’t mount a live festival this Spring as we had wished, our plans are underway to pivot once again into a video production of the style and quality we created with FauxPop Media last December. This new program I’ve tentatively titled Celebrate Summer with Huron Waves. On May 1, I’ll write more about how you can help the music festival with this and other projects but for now I’d welcome your suggestions about sites around the County where we could film interesting musical segments. Just as we set the last segments at Iceculture, under Goderich’s holiday lights and on the shores of the Lake, my current search is to identify locales for this video. Suggestions? You can be in touch via my email address below.

Till we’re together again, stay safe and healthy.  And remember that Music Connects Us.

John A. Miller, Artistic Director                                                                     April 1, 2021

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