Fri Sept 29/17 – Weston Silver Band – Beatles Go Brass
Weston Silver Band brings the timeless hits of The Beatles to life with a fresh set list of favourites spanning The Beatles’ vast catalog, including “Yesterday”, “Norwegian Wood”, “Got to Get You Into My Life”, “Yellow Submarine”, “ObLaDi”, “She’s Leaving Home”, “Ticket to Ride,” “Penny Lane,” and “Lady Madonna” plus many more!
The WSB began as The Weston Boys Band, founded in 1921 by George Sainsbury. Sainsbury began his musical life playing in a fife and drum band in his hometown of Fawley, England at the age of 12. Before emigrating to Canada in 1905, he founded his own fife and drum band which became a Brass Band in Littlehampton, England ( later to become the present day Littlehampton Concert Band ).
Shortly after his arrival, he became bandmaster of the Weston Town Band. The outbreak of World War I brought civilian banding to a halt and Sainsbury took charge of the 220th Battalion Band and later, the Headquarters Band of Military District No.2
World War II saw the majority of band members enlisting in the armed forces and the band ceased operations for the first and only time in its history, becoming the official band of the Canadian Field Artillery, before reforming under Sainsbury’s baton in 1946. With instruments in poor repair and financial support a continuing issue, the band became incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1947.
From its top place finishes during the heyday of band contesting at the Canadian National Exhibition Band competitions in the 1960’s and 1970’s to its entry in the North American Brass Band Association’s competitions in North Carolina and Indianapolis in the 1980’s, the WSB continued to represent the proud tradition of brass banding in Toronto and the province of Ontario.
In 1995, the WSB hosted the NABBA competition in Toronto which saw 15 bands from Canada and the US competing for top honours. Later in the year, Weston was honoured to be one of two bands representing NABBA at the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Kentucky.
The past decade has seen a revitalization of the band and organization, building a reputation for excellence musically as well as organizationally and receiving great reviews. Five time winners of the Hannaford Cup (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016), an annual Award of Excellence at Toronto’s Festival of Brass, as well as Best Soloist awards for members Brad Norton, cornet (2011) and Robert Miller, euphonium (2013) and Matt Ross (2015), the WSB has recently gained international recognition as a performing ensemble. In November 2009, the WSB became the first Canadian band invited to compete at the US Open Brass Band Championships, in Chicago, Illinois and placed third overall. In 2010, WSB Euphonium virtuoso Robert Miller was awarded US Open Best Soloist.
In 2014, the WSB returned to competition at the North American Brass Band Championships after an 18 year hiatus, and is the first and only Canadian Brass Band to win section titles at the contest, winning first place honours in the 2nd section in 2014. Moving up to First Section in 2015, the WSB repeated their top prize winning result. Following a 2nd place finish in 2016, the WSB decisively reclaimed 1st place at The Championships in March 2017. Weston Silver Band is the only Canadian Brass Band to ever win section titles at the contest.
Presently, the WSB presents a concert series during the fall and winter season in Toronto at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, and maintains a busy performance schedule in venues throughout the GTA and southern Ontario.
Weston Silver Band has been the host to a number of internationally renown brass soloists and clinicians, including Doug Yeo (Boston Symphony), Richard Marshall (Principal cornet, Black Dyke Band UK), Paul Duffy, Heather Bambrick, TorQ Percussion, Samba Squad and legendary Canadian jazz artist, Guido Basso.
Brass bands have a long and proud history in Ontario and the WSB honours its history of providing a valuable and unique contribution to the rich musical heritage of this province. Our thanks to our supporters and we look forward to many more successful years of brass banding!
Fri Nov 3/17 – Penderecki String Quartet
Celebrating their 30th anniversary season, the Penderecki String Quartet began their career as winners of the Penderecki Prize at the National Chamber Music Competition in Łódz , Poland in 1986. Now based in Waterloo, Ontario where they have been Quartet-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University since 1991, The Penderecki String Quartet has become one of the most celebrated chamber ensembles of their generation. The four Penderecki musicians (now originating from Poland, Canada, and USA) bring their varied yet collective experience to create performances that demonstrate their “remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep”(Toronto, Globe and Mail).
The PSQ’s international performing schedule has included appearances in New York (Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Hong Kong (Academy for the Arts), Los Angeles (REDCAT Hall at Disney Center), St. Petersburg (Sheremetev Palace), the Adam Festival in New Zealand, and throughout Europe in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Belgrade, Prague, Krakow, Vilnius, and Zagreb. The PSQ has also toured extensively in Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil and from coast to coast in Canada.
Dedicated educators, the PSQ have been recent guests at Bloomington Indiana University’s String Academy, the Beijing Conservatory, University of Southern California (Los Angeles), University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and with their partner universities in Osnabrück, Germany and Lyon, France.
To this day the PSQ is a devoted champion of the music of our time, having premiered over 100 new works from composers in Canada and abroad. Penderecki Quartet’s large discography includes over three dozen recordings including the chamber music repertoire of Beethoven and Brahms on both the Marquis and Eclectra labels, as well as the first Canadian release of the six Béla Bartók quartets. Their disc of Marjan Mozetich’s “Lament in the Trampled Garden” won the 2010 JUNO Award for Best Composition. In October 2013, the PSQ worked with Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki on his Third Quartet (2008) and performed it at Symphony Space in New York City on the occasion of his 80th birthday. This season they release a disc of Penderecki’s Third Quartet along with quartets of Norbert Palej on the Marquis label.
The Penderecki Quartet has performed with such eminent classical artists as Martin Beaver, Atar Arad, Antonio Lysy, Jeremy Menuhin, James Campbell and enjoy exploring new music collaborations having recently appeared with jazz saxophonist Jane Bunnett, Brazilian jazz pianist Egberto Gismonti, pipa virtuoso Ching Wong, Dancetheatre David Earle, Pentaedre Wind Quintet, actor Colin Fox, and New York turntable artist DJ Spooky.
The Penderecki Quartet continue to be active members of the Faculty of Music at Laurier University where they have built the string program to be one of the top programs in Canada, attracting an international body of students. Their annual Quartetfest at Laurier is an intensive study seminar and concert series that has featured such ensembles as the Tokyo, Lafayette, Miro, Ying, and Ariana String Quartets.
Fri Feb 2/ 18 – Valdy
Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, Canada has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for over 34 years. A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Texas to New Zealand, he’s a singer, guitarist and songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life.
Remembered for Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, his bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable story-teller, facing a rambunctious audience at the Aldergrove Rock Festival circa 1968, Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his 13 albums, has two Juno Awards (Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year), a total of seven Juno nominations and four Gold albums to his credit.
Valdy’s recent CDs include “Contenders”, a collaboration with friend and fellow singer/songwriter, Gary Fjellgaard, with whom he has an absolute blast touring, and a solo release, “Viva Valdy: Live at Last”, a two-CD package, one live, one studio, with a total of 25 tunes, and a lyric booklet.
One of Canada’s most influential songwriters, Valdy’s composition A Good Song was recorded under the title Just a Man by the venerable Quincy Jones ( he sang lead on the recording!). Play Me a Rock and Roll Song has been recorded by a few artists, including John Kay of Steppenwolf.
Along the way, Valdy has taken his music to a dozen different countries, from Denmark to Australia and been an often-invited performer at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas. His recent television appearances include Canada AM and Open Mike with Mike Bullard. Valdy has also been a panelist on Front Page Challenge, and played a lead role in an episode of The Beachcombers original series.
Today, he is based on Salt Spring Island, where he lives with his wife Kathleen, three dogs and a large cat. All three children are grown, flown and doing famously living in or near Vancouver, or Colorado.
Visit Valdy on the web at “http://www.valdy.com”.
Fri March 23/18 – Motus O Dance Theatre – Marina Nemat – Prisoner of Tehran
Prisoner of Tehran is an engaging TRUE story of teenage Marina Nemat.
In a unique collaboration between Marina and MOTUS O, this synthesis of a dance, theatre and lecture event deals with social justice on the theme of Oppression and Freedom. The event is a multi-disciplinary performance based on Marina’s best-selling book “Prisoner of Tehran”. Each event will be followed by a Question and Answer period. Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of sixteen and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Marina’s book “Prisoner of Tehran” has been published in 28 other countries and is an international bestseller. This performance work is an exceptional engagement piece for high school students and the general public providing the opportunity to discuss the social and political landscape of our contemporary world.
The founders of MOTUS O, James Croker, Cynthia Croker and Jack Langenhuizen, worked together from 1985 – 1990 on several creative and educational projects. During this period of time they developed a strong working relationship and artistic vision. In 1990 they officially developed a company, MOTUS O dance theatre, with the three founders taking the positions of artistic directors and choreographers.
MOTUS O’s artistic vision is to provide engaging dance theatre works making dance a relevant and significant art form to all sections of society. The company aspires to provide life-enriching experiences, causing individuals to reflect and respond in a positive way towards each other and the global community.
Our mandate is to create and present original works of art emphasizing narrative expression and visceral aesthetics that are inspired by our ever evolving inter-personal relationships and our place within contemporary society. It is also to pioneer/develop the market for dance in Canada as well as educate individuals of all ages and backgrounds and be bridge-makers between the amateur and professional dance worlds.
Since 1990, MOTUS O has created 19 full-length productions for both family and adults (Human Knots, Alice, The Shunning, Delusions, The Little Prince, Petrouchka, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, Variations in Love, East of the Sun/West of the Moon, Carmina Burana, Circus Terrifico, Perspectives, What the Heck? The Little Match Girl, A Fair Tale, Animal Tales, The Prisoner of Tehran, Chasing the Dream). These productions have been performed across Canada, parts of the U.S.A. England and Australia including such venues as Fleck Theatre (Toronto ON), Playhouse Theatre (Brock University, St. Catharines ON), Markham Theatre (Markham ON), Theatre Centre (Toronto ON), Tarragon Theatre (Toronto ON), Thunder Bay Community Auditorium (Thunder Bay ON), Windsor Capitol Theatre (Windsor ON), Arts & Culture Centres, Newfoundland, Imperial Theatre, Saint John NB, Playhouse Theatre, Fredricton NB, The Norman Rothstein Theatre (Vancouver B.C.), Orlando Fringe Festival (Orlando Florida), Comstock Auditorium (Kalamazoo Michigan), Center for the Arts (University at Buffalo, Buffalo New York), Australian National University Theatre (Canberra Australia), Adelaide Fringe Festival (Adelaide Australia), Victoria Hall (Settle England), Witham Hall (Barnard Castle England), Moorside Community College (Consett England) to name a few.
MOTUS O has received several accolades over the years including the 2010 Community Cultural Impresario (CCI) – Ontario Presenting Network Touring Artist of the Year Award. The company was nominated for the 2009 British Columbia Touring Artist of the Year Award by the British Columbia Touring Council. In 2007 we received a Critics’ Choice Award from Susan Walker, Toronto Star – most highly recommended work to see at the Luminato Festival 2007, Toronto, Ontario Canada. In 2003 the company was presented the Outstanding Touring Company Award in Atlantic Canada at Contact East and in 1998 at the International Fringe Festival, Orlando, Florida U.S.A. MOTUS O was awarded 3 People Choice Awards including BEST MALE PERFORMER – James Croker, BEST FEMALE PERFORMER – Cynthia Croker, BEST PRODUCTION – “Alice in Wonderland”.
Fri April 6/18 – The Happy Pals – New Orleans Party Orchestra
The Happy Pals New Orleans Party Orchestra is a seven-piece jazz band based in Toronto Canada, playing authentic old-time New Orleans party music. They’ve been featured every Saturday at Toronto’s legendary Grossman’s Tavern for over thirty years, and have attracted literally generations of fans. The Happy Pals play swinging, rocking tunes you can dance, sing or just hang out to – pop standards, blues, hymns, marches, Dixieland, calypso, Rock’n’Roll, you name it! Tunes by Kid Thomas, King Oliver, Fats Domino, George Lewis, Johnny Cash, Glenn Miller, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and more! Listen to sound samples of the Happy Pals at www.HappyPals.ca. It’s live stomping jazz music for all occasions, and it’s Big Fun. Don’t miss it. Here’s what critics around the world are saying: “New Orleans jazz is alive and well and has taken root in, of all places, Toronto, Canada… Bourbon Street beckons for this kind of sound.” -All About Jazz, USA “Their infectious brand of New Orleans-style jazz was great entertainment and had the audience roaring for more. They didn’t let them leave without an encore.” -Just Jazz Magazine, England “This is raw, unadulterated, exciting New Orleans jazz.” -The Jazz Gazette, Belgium “They’re the real thing and the music is fabulous… Great stuff – and superb for dancing of course.” -Just Jazz Magazine, England