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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fantasy recital a joyful tribute to spring's arrival

I had the pleasure of attending the Parry Sound School of Music's annual spring recital Spring Fantasy on Sunday afternoon, May 31.

 

It was a beautiful spring afternoon, and the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts was the perfect setting for this wonderful performance.

I remember music recitals from my childhood — and they were nothing like this! I was a piano student, and so was everyone else on the program — and we were "ranked," with the beginners playing first and the more advanced students having to wait until the end of the program for their turn. Lots of nerves, not much fun.

Fast forward to this afternoon. On entering the hall, a large abstract painting was projected on a screen behind the stage — symbolic in its colours and shapes of the spring season.

My guess that this meant a "multimedia" presentation was fulfilled as a series of images, both photographic and artistic, were projected on the screen throughout the performance, enhancing whatever was being performed.

Kudos to Katerina Fretwell for the beautiful art images, and to Craig Harley for co-ordinating the projection of the images to the music.

The heart and soul of the Parry Sound School of Music appears to be its founder and director, Maia Vimboule.

Now in its fifth year of operations, the school is thriving, and citizens young and not-so-young are benefitting from the vision and the musical expertise of their leader and coach.

In addition, Ms. Vimboule is a very accomplished accompanist, being equally at home with Henry Purcell or Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Speaking of Purcell, this is the 350th anniversary of this English composer's birth, which makes him older than most other classical composers you might bring to mind, such as Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven.

The second half of the program paid tribute to him as one of Britain's greatest composers, and included selections from his operas Dido and Aeneas and The Fairy Queen.

With a combination of choral numbers by the 27-voice choir, and solos, duets and ensemble numbers, and some appropriate staging, this was a very entertaining program. The first half of the program gave us several selections by the choir from Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria, as well as a varied program by the young people including vocal, violin and piano performances.

There was also a memorable rendition of Nesun Dorma from Puccini's opera Turandot by Douglas Heal.

The performers were supported by Ms. Vimboule at the grand piano, Jon Kidd on the cello, Katja Mathys and Paula Mullen on violins, Stephanie Turgeon on percussion, and Gordon Rempel on guitar.

For the second half of the concert, Ms Vimboule played and conducted from an electronic keyboard. This allowed her to create the sound of a harpsichord, which perfectly suited the music of Purcell.

The program was very well thought out, and very well rehearsed, with the performers changing places smoothly when it was their turn.

At the conclusion, the ensemble received a well-deserved standing ovation from the full house. Ms. Vimboule was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a framed copy of the attractive program cover.

By Kathie Joblin
Original Article

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