Notes from our Artistic Director
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
So this is Saturday, January 1, 2022…we made it into a new year. Where do we go now?
The headlines, day after day, lead one towards discouragement, doubt, anxiety…but that’s not my spirit towards life, and it’s definitely not the sentiment I want to include in this message, the 26th monthly message I’ve penned for Huron Waves readers since we began our communications in December, 2019.
I won’t give in to discouragement precisely because there are good reasons to be positive about what the past 26 months have meant for the idea of a fresh, new music festival in south-west Ontario. 2021 in particular has led Huron Waves to three exciting conclusions and those are what I want to share as the new year arrives.
First, there definitely is an audience for a Huron Waves Music Festival.
The proof is in the statistics for viewership of our latest, curated music video. What we released on December 15 was the closest step we could take towards live events under the health and safety protocols. The results are more than encouraging for us.
A Huron Waves Christmas, 2021 continues to exceed our highest expectations with a viewership, to date, that’s three times the numbers of our first video in December, 2020.
Video Snaps: Clinton Legion Branch 140 Pipe Band, Julie B – 101.7 the One, Frank Leahy’s Jubilee
Thanks to the participation of four local cable companies who offered their patrons multiple showings over the holiday period, and the video’s continuing availability on four other platforms, the total today, as I compile this summary, is 50,562 viewings!
Confidently I can say that numbers like those are a record for any Ontario music festival’s video programming. A colleague at a big-city cultural institution recently admitted to me that their programming videos were getting a mere 100 hits per show in 2021 and rumour has it that within the theatre community, 500 viewer experiences represent a hit in 2021.
If you haven’t viewed A Huron Waves Christmas, 2021 yet, enjoy it from the link our website at www.huronwavesmusicfestival.ca.
Secondly, the Huron Waves organization continues to gain strength, perhaps even because of the challenges which the last two years have brought us.
The same community volunteers who originally wanted to inaugurate Huron Waves are still on deck. I checked a December, 2019 photograph of the newly formed Board of Directors and everyone, save two, is still committed by attending monthly meetings, motivated by the idea that this region deserves a curated music festival in Spring, applying their personal financial support into the organization, and driving toward the projects and plans for 2022. What these Directors deserve are the circumstances where audiences can gather to enjoy great music.
Fund-raising has been good throughout 2021. Individual, corporate, philanthropic and especially government (Thank You, Ontario!) donations and grants have been notable, even inspiring. Our perspectives on this vital activity are that the public is saying there is a need for a festival like ours and that there will continue to be support for a festival like Huron Waves.
The initiatives we did undertake have met with success. The jigsaw puzzle with the photograph of a Lake Huron sunset sold well, especially among visitors to the region and as holiday gifts in December. And they’re just as good for spring and summer fun at the cottage or at home; here’s where to buy the puzzles (for $20).
(photo by Dave Wise)
Additionally, with an eye to this coming Spring, the first financial appeals for 2022 programming have already been presented, and regardless of the current indefinite public safety and health conditions, more major requests are in the planning.
Thirdly, musicians aplenty are eager to be part of a Huron Waves season.
Throughout 2021, I’ve kept in touch with artists whom we had to cancel in 2020 and 2021; 90% of these musicians, and certainly all who are available, continue to express their eagerness to be in Huron County for a 2022 festival. Yes, there will be changes where international performers have had to revise their own plans for world tours, including a stop in Huron County, but Canadian artists are maintaining their eagerness to get back to what they are compelled to do, perform, and to include Huron Waves on their 2022 calendars.
As of today, the anticipated dates for a Huron Waves Spring 2022 festival start on or about May 1. Mark the date on your calendars and get your vaccinations and boosters so that we can have community immunity and the opportunity to mount the very festival which Huron Waves – and our musicians and ensembles – are eager to produce.
In summary, Huron Waves has been making friends, building our brand and finding reasons to be confident despite circumstances that can be discouraging. It’s a sentiment we know we share with so many of our colleagues and neighbours.
Let me close by sharing with you a perspective from the final 2021 program of CBS Sunday Morning. In looking back on the year, the segment focused on Beethoven, praising his stature in musical history but lamenting the fact that the world’s plans to honour the 250th anniversary of his birth in 2021 were so often diverted or cancelled. The broadcast’s focus was particularly on Beethoven’s 9th, the monumental symphony which many regard as the greatest musical work ever written, especially with the emotion of its finale, Ode to Joy.
Here’s that final fourth movement which concludes with Ode to Joy; it’s an experience that inspires and fills one with wonder.
But if you’ve only a few minutes, here’s the chorale itself, creatively presented by a FlashMob in a mall in Tokyo.
Symphony 9 with Ode to Joy was composed over two years, 1822 to 1824. Beethoven was deaf, totally deaf, when he wrote this. On May 7, 1824 he personally conducted the premiere in Vienna but he couldn’t hear the ovation. Only when one of his fellow musicians took his arm and turned him around to face an auditorium thundering with excitement and praise did he see the passionate reaction of the audience.
Marin Alsop, a distinguished American conductor, was asked what she felt this great symphonic accomplishment should mean for our world, today. Coming to terms with a tremendous challenge, strife, struggle…and deciding that it’s worth it! was her reply.
As 2022 begins, admittedly with uncertainties and frustrations, I believe there’s an important lesson for us all in the story of Symphony #9 and Ode to Joy. We must persevere and, like the deaf Beethoven, succeed beyond the circumstances.
Till we’re together again, stay safe and healthy. And remember that Music will help to get us through this year.
John A. Miller
email@example.com January, 1, 2022
Thank you to our Video Supporters
Thank you to our Founding Partners