OCTOBER, already! Are you, like me, suffering from Election Stress Disorder? (Thank you, Dr. Steven Stesny and New York Times for identifying what’s weighing upon my mind, as it apparently is upon millions of others on both sides of the border.) On top of my COVID-19 anxieties, I admit to the signs of ESD: Thomas King by Trina Kosterobsessive refreshing of social media; reading news alerts to anyone who’ll listen; deeply emotional reactions to what’s happening in the world, especially the world of politics and how it affects us.
More than ever, I’m thankful for the arts, especially what I’m experiencing, often by myself, these days. For instance, Indians on Vacation, a warm, witty yet jarring novel by Thomas King with plenty of references to Guelph, my home town and now Mr. King’s chosen city, too. Or my being introduced to a singer whom I ought to have known years ago, Tannis Slimmon, but whom I appreciate now thanks to the University of Guelph’s small radio station, CFRU 93.3FM, and a delightful Sunday morning (8-10am) program, Beautiful Druid, with music and poetry selected and read by the poet Alden Hadwen.
Here’s Thomas King chatting with Shelagh Rogers about Indians on Vacation. Listen here.
Tannis Slimmon’s albums and songs are available at her website. Explore here.
Here is a link to the University’s radio station where Beautiful Druid is available. Listen here.Observing Nature is helping me as well. Last weekend, I was freshly captivated by the stunning beauty of the sunset over Lake Huron, and later, as I was driving home near Shipka, I was struck by the haunting images of giant floodlit combines harvesting the crops in the darkness. Even the simple pleasure, yes pleasure, of coaxing grass seeds to sprout on the front lawn is enough to delight me these days. 
(Photo of Thomas King by Trina Koster on CBC.ca. Sunset photo courtesy of Bonnie Sitter.)
Forgive me, please, for straying from the intent of these Newsletters to share ideas and experiences about music. Blame it on my case of ESD because I have indeed been gathering several interesting links which I hope you’ll explore with me.


In these sacred High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I’ve been reminded of Leonard Cohen’s Who By Fire, based on a Hebrew prayer, Unetane tokof. This performance from Cohen’s famous 2008 concert, Live in London, is simply unforgettable. It’s the voice, the poetry, the emotion, the arrangement that, together, pull me into Cohen’s web. Watch here.
And I urge you to take the time (an hour) to listen to a lecture about how music’s place in our lives was  shaped in the hundred years, 1847-1947, by a small number of Jewish composers, including Mendelssohn, Mahler, Schoenberg and George Gershwin. This lecture was delivered in May by another brilliant mind, Norman Lebrecht, the eminent British music critic, novelist and historian, at Wigmore Hall in London. Lebrecht’s words are illustrated with beautifully performed selections by pianist, Daniel Lebhardt. Just this one, stimulating lecture leaves me eager to have Lebrecht’s new book, Genius & Anxiety. Watch here.
(Photo at left: Leonard Cohen; at right, Norman Lebrecht.)


SCREAMING DIVAS    If you were to ask me to identify performances I’ll never forget, without hesitation I’d want to include a recital at Koerner Hall in Toronto by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, a genuine international superstar who lives just north of the city. Sitting about five rows in front of the stage, I was moved to tears and to standing ovations by the power and variety of that program by this incomparable prima donna. But Sondra also has an obviously comical side, so as one of her personal mechanisms to cope with the current isolation and the cancellations of her long-planned performances on the world’s great operatic stages, she and her friend, the soprano Keri Alkema, have created their own podcast about music and the arts. Each Friday, at noon, it’s fun to eavesdrop on these Screaming (gin-drinking) Divas.

Here’s Sondra singing one of her favourite roles in the opera Andrea Chenier at Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s famous opera house (2017). Wait for the audience reaction! Watch here.

Here she is in a solo performance that reminds me of what one enjoyed at Koerner Hall. Watch here.

And this is Sondra Radvanovsky with Ms. Alkema in a sample Screaming Divas podcast. Enjoy here.

(Feature photo and photo at  top right by Michael Cooper).
GLENN GOULD   Interest in Canada’s great pianist and cultural figure to the world never seems to subside, thankfully, and I appreciate everyone’s encouraging me to add more information about Mr. Gould to this Newsletter. October is an important month in Gouldian chronology because Glenn died in Toronto General Hospital on October 4, 1982 from complications after a stroke, and that’s why this month often sees special events honouring his life and career.
For instance, The Glenn Gould Prize will name its thirteenth laureate on October 15 from among international nominations reviewed by a jury of distinguished world cultural figures chaired by the Grammy award-winning American performer, Laurie Anderson; jurors will meet, virtually, from their homes in Canada, France, India, Nigeria, UK and USA. The 2020 Canadian jurors will be musician/composer Chilly Gonzales and Richard Reed Parry who is perhaps best known as a member of the indie rock band, Arcade Fire. I’ll have more news about the new laureate in our November Newsletter.
Perhaps the most interesting news about G.G., however, is a rare video of Gould performing before a live audience, a situation which he famously came to reject in favour of what would have been dubbed virtual performances six decades ago. I know of a film of Glenn playing for an audience at the Moscow Conservatory when he was the first artist from The West (i.e. The Free World) to appear behind the Iron Curtain (1957) but this other video is the only footage I can recall of him appearing in a live public performance. February, 1957 is the date suggested, and if that’s the case, then G.G. would be 25 years old and the location would likely be Loew’s Uptown Theatre in Toronto where the young CBC television network filmed a performing arts series named The Chrysler Festival. My thanks go to Daniel Poulin in Montreal and to the Slipped Disc blog for bringing the video to our attention. Gould plays excerpts from J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 5.  Watch the rare footage here.
We’ve covered a good amount of rather serious information in this Newsletter so let me lightened the focus and unfold exciting news about the weeks leading up to December’s holidays.
Huron Waves will host a virtual auction that changes its lots for bidding, week to week, from November 16 to December 12 so we all can bid on interesting, often unique, goods, experiences and services that relate to the holiday season. The music festival will be revealing specific auction lots leading up to November 16 but, as one example, I’ve been given permission by Santa and his Huron Waves elves to include a photo of a small work of Inuit art contributed by the Inuit carvers of Kinngait, formerly known as Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
Celebrate The Season With Huron Waves Auction will be Huron Waves’ major fund-raising project towards preparing this year for what’s to come, musically, next Spring.  In fact, Santa predicts it will be both fund-raising and fun-raising!
If you have an idea or a product, experience or service you’d like to offer for Celebrate The Season With Huron Waves Auction, please be in touch as soon as possible with our Auction Coordinator Breanna Thompson by calling our office at 519-440-9940 or emailing auction@huronwavesmusicfestival.ca. All ideas and contributions are appreciated.
(Pictured is one of the donated works of Inuit art. Courtesy of Dorset Fine Arts.)
Till we’re together again, stay safe and healthy.  And remember that Music Connects Us.

John A. Miller, Artistic Director                                                                  October 1, 2020

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