Waterloo Region Record Articles
20th Anniversary Concert - May 2015
Waterloo Chamber Players
Courtesy of Waterloo Chamber Players
“Spend Mother’s Day afternoon with the @wcplayers … .” This simple invitation to a Waterloo Chamber Players concert Sunday afternoon is appealing in itself, but there’s a lot more to it.
To begin with, this will be a celebration of the 20th anniversary season of the Chamber Payers — “a small orchestra composed of skilled amateur and semi-professional musicians who have been playing and performing together since 1994.”
One of the distinguishing features is that this is self-run — the players make decisions collectively and share organizational responsibilities. For the first five years or so they even rehearsed and performed without a conductor.
Since then, there has been a succession of principal conductors. Currently this position is held by Ben Bolt-Martin.
The program for Sunday suits the celebratory aspect, and the season: Brahms Serenade. The venue is also highly appealing during spring at the height of its glory: the Pavilion in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.
So, as Ben Bolt-Martin has suggested, you can “take your Mom out for lunch and then a walk around the park ending up at Victoria Park Pavilion at 3 for a lovely afternoon serenade by Brahms and some cake …”
The concert is being offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, with all the proceeds going to the House of Friendship.
Violinist Rick Bond has been part of the ensemble from the beginning. When I met with him this week, he explained that when they originally came together, they were “looking for a musical experience not then available in the community” as “part-time pro or serious amateur” artists.
The aim, in the oft-quoted words of another founding member, has always been “to play good music well.”
The first performance was at the St. Jacobs School House Theatre, with cellist Paul Pulford. Since then, the Players have worked with soloists who are known nationally and internationally (Rick Bond mentioned Moshe Hammer and John Thiessen as examples). But the strongest associations are regional, most notably a long list of KW Symphony members (Cathy Anderson, Julie Baumgartel, Cedric Coleman, Tom Kay, Larry Larson, Jim Mason, Debbie Stroh, Dave Wadley), as well as artists from the community at large like Jeremy Bell, Caroline Dery, Doug Haas, Becky Maresciuc, Martin Nagtegaal, Peter Nikiforuk, Kevin Ramessar and Hector Vasquez.
Outreach efforts show how organizations like this are an integral part of our community: The Players have supported the Out of the Cold program, St. John’s Kitchen, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and many senior home facilities.
It was interesting to hear about how the group has developed ongoing relationships with smaller communities like Orangeville, Collingwood, Creemore and Alliston, working with local artists and organizers to bring orchestral music there.
A new distinguishing element has emerged through Ben Bolt-Martin’s influence: innovative programming that transcends the boundaries of traditional musical genres. A good example is a recent concert program featuring works by Wagner, Faure, Vaughan Williams, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Radiohead with singer-songwriter Jacob Moon as soloist.
Earlier this year, the Players presented a new work entitled “The Sleeping Prince,” composed and conducted by Ben Bolt-Martin with a story and performance by puppeteers Kristi Friday and Baptiste Neis.
This work is one of three new works the group has been able to commission in recent years, all by local composers (in addition to Bolt-Martin, Rebekkah Cummings and Michael Purves-Smith). The group has worked with many other musical organizations in and around the region, especially choral groups like Da Capo, Menno Singers and Voices of Hope.
On May 24, they will accompany the Martin Family Singers in a concert featuring selections from Haydn’s “The Creation” at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden.
There are plans in the works for a singalong “Messiah” with the Renaissance Singers next fall.
Martin DeGroot writes about local arts and culture each Saturday. You can reach him by email at email@example.com .
Sleeping Prince - February 2015
Waterloo Chamber Players celebrate anniversary with puppets
Waterloo Chamber Players
Waterloo Region Record
Music Times Articles
Great Songs From the Age of Vinyl - August 2022
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Orchestra
by: Ian Tanner
This is the story of how Ian Tanner somehow found himself composing music for orchestras mid-way into his music career!
Ian fell in love with music from the beginning. At his childhood home in Woodstock, Ontario, he played his family piano for hours on end. When he should have been doing homework or learning his actual piano lesson material, Ian would sit at the piano jamming out his favourite Beatles and Elton John songs, figuring them out by ear, and would even make recordings of “simulated” concerts in his living room!
When Ian graduated high school, he went on to study Classical music at the University of Western Ontario in London. The goal was to either become a professional bassist with an orchestra or become a composer. Neither of these things happened because Ian dropped out after his first year. He felt the calling to live out his “rock and roll dreams”, to see if his band “The Awakening” could get a record deal, and to conquer the world!
What followed next was a lengthy period of Ian’s life, from 1985 to 2000, where his “rock and roll dreams” lost their lustre. Two of his bands got signed to American record deals, released albums, toured, and tried their best to get further up the chain of success, but by the late 1990’s, Ian had decided to put this part of his life behind him and to focus on how he could actually make a living being a musician.
He began working as a side-musician for a variety of recording artists, many in the Country Music scene of the early 2000’s, such as Jason McCoy, George Fox and Deric Ruttan. He became an in-demand session musician, recording hundreds of studio tracks and vocal sessions. He also began composing music for TV and documentary series. He was finally making a living from music!
The biggest step forward for Ian was pairing up with singer/songwriter Jim Witter. Jim had been a successful Country Music artist in the 1990’s, but as the next Millennium was beginning, he created a very unique nostalgia-based show, using multi-media and the music of Billy Joel and Elton John to be a trip back in time to the 1970’s. This show, called “The Piano Men”, became a successful touring show, with performances all over North America, Mexico, the UK, The Netherlands, and Dubai. After 22 years with Jim, there are now multiple shows and multiple tours; even with Covid’s interruption, there seems to be no end in sight for them.
In the early days of “The Piano Men,” Jim Witter was asked to provide orchestral arrangements for his show so that he could perform with a full orchestra. Jim asked Ian if he would be willing to compose these arrangements. Dropping out of university after one year definitely had its drawbacks! Having never studied orchestration or arrangement, Ian was sure he would not be qualified for the job.
Alas, finding a qualified person to do this job, who would fully understand what Jim was looking for was not going to be realistic. Ian agreed to take on the job, and after much last-minute cramming and quick studying, he was able to do a modest attempt at being an orchestral arranger. Thankfully, there were many more opportunities for Ian to learn the craft, and as a result, Ian composed arrangements for half a dozen Jim Witter shows over the next decade. These arrangements have been performed by orchestras around North America such as The Phoenix Symphony, The Edmonton Symphony, The Victoria Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, and many others.
The upcoming performance with the Waterloo Chamber Players is another first for Ian – his first time being the front-man, performing his own arrangements with an orchestra in his home town. The list of songs spans some of the best work he has done for Jim Witter and some of the most loved Pop songs from the “age of vinyl”. Ian will also be performing one of his original songs, which he has orchestrated just for this performance.
It’s been a long road from University drop-out to orchestral arranger, but it’s been a road full of surprises and success.
Great Songs from the Age of Vinyl
Waterloo Chamber Players
Ben Bolt-Martin, Conductor
Ian Tanner, soloist (photo credit: Roslyn Witter)
Friday August 19, 2022 at 7:00pm
Victoria Park Pavilion
80 Schneider Ave, Kitchener, ON N2G 1K9
Tickets at the door: pay-what-you-can
(suggested donation of $20 per person, charitable tax receipts available)
Website: waterloochamberplayers.com Info at 519 208 5508 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sleeping Prince - February 2015
The Sleeping Prince
by: Alison Feuerwerker
A Princess. A Sleeping Prince. Iron Shoes. Mothers. Winds. A Bear. The story of a determined princess and her journey to the land of far, far away, and further still. Who doesn’t love a fairy tale? And when the tale is brought to life with puppets? Even better.
“Puppets allow people of all ages to suspend their disbelief and to willingly enter new worlds, ” says Kristi Friday, partner in The Clever Crones puppet theatre. ” I have heard gasps, squeals of delight, and cries of concern all directed towards objects made of bristle board, or clay, or fleece and foam. ”
Go one step further and imagine a fairy tale animated by puppets accompanied by live music. Pure magic. This season, the Waterloo Chamber Players are embarking on a creative collaboration with The Clever Crones Puppet Theatre to create that kind of magic in the presentation of a fairy tale using a traditional form of puppet theatre known as “Cranky Theatre” along with actors, singers, and original music. With the aim of entertaining and enlightening, this project will bring to life the tale of The Sleeping Prince, the story of a self-determined and empowered princess who perseveres and triumphs no matter what the obstacles.
The Sleeping Prince is taken from numerous sources, most particularly from Allison Lurie’s Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales. A bird tells a princess about a prince in a faraway kingdom who is under a sleeping spell, and reveals that in order to save the prince from the sleeping spell a maiden must sit by his side until he awakes; once he sees her the spell will be broken. The only way to find the prince is to wear through a pair of iron shoes by travelling to the land of far, far away, and farther still.
The Clever Crones are Baptiste Neis and Kristi Friday. In the fall of 2012 these two actors turned mothers met in Stratford Ontario. Their comments about The Sleeping Prince: “As artists in limbo we were itching for an exciting project. Both being the mothers of daughters; we found a common quest for well-told interesting stories and clever female protagonists. The Sleeping Prince is the first in a series of world tales we hope to present. We are passionate about this story and the creation of it. Through long term development we are exploring different mediums of puppetry and storytelling to discover what best brings The Sleeping Prince to life. ”
The Sleeping Prince was first presented as part of Spring Works Indie Theatre and Arts Festival in May 2014. For performances in late February and early March 2015. the production will be expanded to include original live music composed by Waterloo Chamber Players principal conductor Ben Bolt-Martin and played by the Waterloo Chamber Players. Says Kristi Friday: “Having worked with Ben on Lucky, a puppet play in which he both wrote the script and compose music, I know his incredible ability to elevate the story off the page and create a cohesive lovely piece of theatre. When he approached us about collaborating with him and the Waterloo Chamber Players we jumped at the opportunity.”
With a self-determined princess cast in the hero’s role, “The Sleeping Prince” provides a positive role model for both boys and girls, and presents a counterexample to the sexism and gender bias still so prevalent in the media, the arts, and society today — in our community no less than in others. Issues of sex discrimination and harassment continue to be raised in the school system and in the workforce, so raising awareness of sexism and working to end it remain crucial.
“I am passionate about this story, this process, the puppets, the music, and producing a show that I believe can spark delight and conversation,” says Baptiste Neis. ” I especially love that the princess determines her own experience.” The Clever Crones, Bolt-Martin, and the Waterloo Chamber Players are exhilarated by the project and looking forward to presenting it to audiences of all ages on February 28 and March 1, 2015.
From The Clever Crones artist statement: “We share the feeling that modern western society often underestimates how clever, sensitive, and aware children truly are – they are capable of understanding, enjoying, and being challenged by so much more. It is fundamentally important to instil a love of theatre, storytelling, and music. The Story of the Sleeping Prince is surprisingly resonant to adults. In reaching out to our community for thoughts and images that come to mind with the words ‘journey and coming of age’ the enthusiastic responses have reflected and supported our vision. The themes of journey and coming of age apply to aging as well.
“Together, theatrically and musically, we will explore coming of age, struggling to keep on, we will experience lifestyles, landscapes, and elements of other lands and cultures. We will play with the concept of scale and our relationship to the world around us through shadow, projection, puppets, and music. We will invite the audience to share our journey.”
The program will also include “Evening Prayer” from Hansel and Gretel by Humperdink, and Tam Ve’nishlam by KW composer Rebekah Cummings.
The Sleeping Prince
Waterloo Chamber Players, The Clever Crones, conductor Ben Bolt-Martin
Saturday February 28, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Sunday March 1, 2015 – 3:00 pm
Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church
15 George Street, Waterloo
admission: pay-what-you-can at the door
for more information:
As Those Who Came Before - October 2014
As Those Who Came Before
by: Alison Feuerwerker
On November 1st the Waterloo Chamber Players and principal conductor Ben Bolt-Martin will present a concert centred around the premier performance of a clarinet concerto by Michael Purves-Smith, to be performed by clarinetist Becky Maresciuc.
Titled “As Those Who Came Before”, the program will include works by three composers on whose works Purves-Smith based his concerto.
Michael Purves-Smith has generously supplied the Waterloo Chamber Players with composer’s notes, which are quoted extensively here:
“This concerto for clarinet and chamber orchestra should strike the listener as “mainstream”, but there are some unusual aspects to it. I wrote it convinced that the way forward for the creation of new concert music lay in looking back. … I have never felt comfortable about abandoning such things as melody and tonality. While there is no denying that audiences do crave music of their own time, they seem to prefer that it be memorable as something more than a concept of the intellect, or an expression of just rhythm and texture.
I want my music to express beauty and to evoke as wide a range of emotions as possible. …This concerto achieves newness through the juxtaposition of musical elements not often heard together. The clarinet is blessed with an extraordinary solo repertoire and I chose to capitalize on it by blending the approaches of three of the best-loved of its composers.
The first movement draws upon the first and fourth of the Five Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano by Gerald Finzi. His musical language, rooted in the rhythms of the English language, seemed hardest to bring up to date. So I re-imagined it as minimalist music and at one point as a palindrome using Stravinskian rhythms. Even when the music is most like Finzi, I disguise his voice with the displacement of octaves in the melody. Still, I hope that he shines through this movement.
In the second movement I refer to the composer who, along with Brahms, wrote the most wonderful clarinet music: Mozart. I thought it would be interesting to take Mozart’s idea of writing a coloratura for clarinet and place it over an English pastoral accompaniment… I have written some of the coloratura as a duet for two clarinets and the whole movement is a kind of a conversation, accompanied by strings, between the soloist and a woodwind quintet. The movement ends with a quote from the second movement of the Mozart clarinet quintet. This leads us gently into the last movement, which is based on the style and form of that other great master of clarinet literature, Weber.
The third movement is the most straightforward, modelled after Weber’s rondo movements. As there is no cadenza in this work, this movement offers a number of extended bravura passages for the soloist alone, reminiscent of Weber in their extrovert drama. The concerto comes to a climax with a fughetta and ends with a section that recalls once again the music of Finzi.
All this calls to mind the word pastiche, and I like the description given by the author of the Wikipedia article: “Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.” … For a contemporary composer, the problem [with pastiche] may be to avoid the feeling of surrealism and a lack of cohesion. The trick is to join everything together by the force of one’s own musical personality. My hope is that, had I not pointed out the device, you might have said, “That was a nice piece. I enjoyed it.”
I want to mention the circumstances that led me to write this concerto. For a university professor, there are often particular students who attach themselves to you. One such was Hrvoje Peric. As one of his mentors, I was very fond of him. After he graduated in music from Wilfrid Laurier University, he went to Europe to study conducting. On returning, he accepted a position with the Calgary Chamber Choir and attempted to start a Calgary chamber orchestra. He asked me to write a clarinet concerto for this group, I suspect because he was smitten with the first clarinettist, Natalia Murdoch. (This practice, too, has a historic precedent.) At the time Hrvoje also outlined the very specific orchestrational requirements he wanted me to meet. It was an intriguing idea, and I sent him a draft of this concerto. Natalia and Hrvoje married and set up a family of three young lads, with a fourth child expected, but life intervened and the concerto was never performed. Tonight is the premier performance of the work.
Sadly, Hrvoje died suddenly in April of this year. All of us who knew him feel the loss very deeply and our heart goes out to Natalia and her young family. Since this concerto would never have been written without Hrvoje’s intervention, it seemed fitting to dedicate it to his memory. A part of the proceeds of the concert will be donated to the trust fund which has been set up for the education of his children. Furthermore, any who may be moved to donate to the fund directly are encouraged to do so.
It remains for me to thank the Waterloo Chamber Players, talented clarinet soloist Becky Marescuic, and especially the group’s outstanding director, Ben Bolt-Martin for undertaking this performance.”
Comments from clarinetist Becky Maresciuc:
|“It has been challenging learning to play a piece that I’ve never heard before. There’s no one to imitate so all the interpretation is left up to me, and it’s difficult to really sense the character of each movement without hearing what the orchestra is doing. The fact that it’s very chromatic has also made it more challenging yet intriguing. I’m really looking forward to putting this piece together with the orchestra. It’s always more enjoyable playing a piece with the orchestra because it adds so much more character and energy to my playing. I’m also looking forward to hearing how the audience enjoyed the piece. This piece will be especially challenging since it’s never been played so no one really knows exactly what to expect and where the “bumps in the road” are, but I think this makes it more exciting. It will be like travelling to a place you’ve never been before. It will be nice to be able to be free to interpret the piece as we see fit without having any precursors. What I really like about this piece are the recurring figures that seem to tie each movement together. They can be really catchy even though they’re chromatic in nature. I also enjoy the fact that each movement is distinctly unique. As a player, that makes a piece more interesting to play but I’m sure the audience will enjoy that as well. I feel honoured to have the privilege of being the first person to play this piece. It makes me feel like the clarinet players who played Mozart, Weber’s or others’ concertos for the first time. It’s hard being the first but it’s an adventure you don’t get very often, if at all.”|
To tie the rest of the program in with the concerto, Ben Bolt-Martin has chosen a work by each of the three composers represented: Prelude for String Orchestra by Gerald Finzi, Mozart’s Overture to La Clemenza di Tito, and Weber’s Symphony No.1 in C Major.
Event: Waterloo Chamber Players: As Those Who Came Before
Saturday November 1, 2014
Emmanuel United Church
22 Bridgeport Rd West, Waterloo
Tickets: pay-what-you-can at the door
Info: 519.830.1627 or email@example.com
Space for One More - May 2014
Space For One More
by: Alison Feuerwerker
Every cold winter gives way to spring. Great news for all, but especially for homeless people for whom a night on the streets in winter can be fatal. Out of the Cold provides overnight shelter and a meal for homeless people every night from November to April. Ten KW churches are involved in Out of the Cold, seven regular sights and three secondary sites that take the overflow of guests. “Homelessness is a fact and it exists in our own community,” says Margaret Anne Tannassee, coordinator of Out of the Cold at St. John’s Lutheran Church.”Our mission is to provide shelter, food, warm clothing, and basic needs to those in the community who are less fortunate and homeless.” For the Waterloo Chamber Players, a small, member-run orchestra with a twenty-year presence in the KW music scene, connecting with and serving the local community is a core value. In addition to its own concert series, the ensemble presents fundraising concerts where proceeds are shared with a community organization. Benefits in the past have been organized for St. John’s Kitchen, the ALS Society, the Alzheimer’s Society, and — with Voices of Hope Choral Ensemble — Out of the Cold. On Sunday May 4, the Waterloo Chamber Players will present a concert of Baroque and Classical works at St. John’s Lutheran Church, to benefit St. John’s Out of the Cold. The concert will feature local soloists: Katrina Liddell in the Marcello Oboe Concerto, Tony Snyder in Mozart Horn Concerto no.2, and St. John’s organist Mark Himmelman in Handel Organ Concerto no. 5. Works by Bach and Haydn will round out the program, which will be conducted by Waterloo Chamber Players member Kirby Julian. The Waterloo Chamber Players is a volunteer organization, with musicians donating time and abilities as players and in administrative roles. For this concert, conductor and soloists are also donating their time and talents. St. John’s Lutheran Church has hosted Out of the Cold since 2000. Between 50 and 90 people are served a meal each week. 45 to 80 stay overnight. “Our numbers at all sites increased significantly last season, and are continuing to increase this season,” says coordinator Margaret Anne Tannassee. Food and supplies for the Out of the Cold Program are funded solely by donations. “Without these generous donations from the community… we would not be able to operate,” says Tannassee. “We receive no government funding of any kind.” Although Out of the Cold will have closed for the season by early May, fundraising efforts such as the Waterloo Chamber Players concert are essential to ensure there will be money to start up next November. Volunteer efforts keep Out of the Cold going. “We have 110 volunteers who dedicate their time and energy in covering seven different shifts,” says Tannassee. “The shifts are meal preparation, set-up, serving, hospitality, kitchen, overnight, and clean-up.” Volunteers also assist with laundry, grocery shopping, and food pick-ups. Waterloo Chamber Players Board member Brian Otto has been an Out of the Cold volunteer at another location (St. Matthews) for three years. He describes a “typical” evening: “I move around, talking to people and doing tasks as they come up. I help in laying out mattresses and blankets, clearing dishes off the tables, wiping and storing tablecloths, stacking tables to make room for the beds. I help in the kitchen by running the dishwasher, mixing juices, filling coffee carafes, putting out clean mugs, etc. I sweep floors, escort guests upstairs to select donated clothing, play cards with guests, and occasionally break up arguments.” Who are Out of the Cold’s guests? Tannassee says, “They are men and women of all ages, who suffer from mental illness, addictions, substance abuse, loneliness, and sometimes just plain bad luck. Or, they are confronted with circumstances that are beyond their control, resulting in them winding up on the street.” Otto adds, “Out of the Cold serves a necessary function for this population. For some, it’s a time and place to socialize with people when there’s no other place to get together. These people may have a home of sorts but perhaps not much else in the way of social networks. At the other extreme are the people who would be sleeping outdoors without this service. Some are working poor with jobs that don’t provide enough to pay rent and groceries. Out of the Cold provides a safe and warm place to stay, and to be with people who share a similar life, as well as a place to get a hot meal and sometimes clothing, toiletries, and other necessities… It has been a learning experience for me to see just how many people in our region are in this situation, with few alternatives.” People wanting to volunteer with Out of the Cold can contact one of the ten churches which are Out of the Cold sites. A list can be found here http://cioc.cmhagrb.on.ca/record/GCL0942 as well as through the Working Centre. “Working with Out of the Cold is a humbling experience and a very rewarding one,” says Tannassee. “When you open your heart and mind, you will be richly blessed in ways you never thought possible. You never know how many lives you may affect, but if we don’t work together to make that difference we will never know…We tend to look town on the homeless; judge them harshly and criticize them because they live on the streets. We must remember that they are people with names, people with feelings, and people with problems. They are people like you and me.” The Waterloo Chamber Players invite you to come to St. John’s Lutheran Church on May 4 for an afternoon of beautiful music. Your pay-what-you-can donation at the door will support Out of the Cold and the ongoing work of the Waterloo Chamber Players. What could be warmer? Event: Waterloo Chamber Players fundraising concert for Out of the Cold Sunday May 4, 3:00 pm St. John’s Lutheran Church – 22 Willow Street, Waterloo Pay-what-you-can at the door Soloists: Katrina Liddell, Tony Snyder, Mark Himmelman Conductor: Kirby Julian Works by Bach, Handel, Marcello, Haydn, Mozart
Food for the Soul - May 2013
Food for the Soul:
Waterloo Chamber Players and St. John’s Kitchen
by: Alison Feuerwerker
Urban Dictionary defines the term “grassroots” as “local or person-to-person… something that originates from the common people.” Another way to express this idea would be “by the people, for the people.”
Approaching their 20th season, the Waterloo Chamber Players are a grassroots orchestra composed of skilled amateur and semi-professional musicians who have been playing together for many years. Members of this self-run group volunteer their time and talents as musicians and in organizational and administrative roles. Decisions are made collectively, inviting input from all. Because the Waterloo Chamber Players value reaching out into the larger community to share music and build bridges with community organizations, and because like all arts groups they are engaged in the struggle to fund their activities, the group has over the years organized and performed a series of fundraising concerts in which proceeds are divided between the Waterloo Chamber Players and a community organization. The group has partnered with Voices of Hope Choral Ensemble in benefits for Out of the Cold and the Alzheimer’s Society, and on their own have presented a series entitled Food for the Soul, to raise funds for St. John’s Kitchen.
St. John’s Kitchen, a project of The Working Centre, is a community of hundreds of people who gather in a spirit of cooperation and mutual support to produce and share a daily meal. The Kitchen operates with the work of approximately 100 volunteers, 80 percent of whom are also patrons. The work of St. John’s – the preparing of meals, the sharing of friendships, and the distribution of food – builds on people looking after each other, contributing what they can, and being actively involved in productive work as a community.
The first Food for the Soul concert was held in the fall of 2009 at the church of St. John the Evangelist. In the tradition of their early years, Waterloo Chamber Players members rehearsed and performed without a conductor, featuring members of the group as soloists and drawing from their favourite repertoire. Tickets were sold to the general public, and patrons of St. John’s Kitchen were invited to attend as guests. The concert was well-attended, enjoyed by all, and raised money for both St. John’s Kitchen and the Waterloo Chamber Players’ operating budget.
In the spring of 2011, the second Food for the Soul concert took place in St. John’s Kitchen itself. This concert was performed by chamber ensembles from within the Waterloo Chamber Players in an intimate and informal setting.
Under the direction of principle conductor Ben Bolt-Martin, the Waterloo Chamber Players, who began as a primarily string group, have expanded to included a larger wind and brass section and are enjoying the opportunity to explore complex repertoire which needs a conductor’s leadership. At the same time, the group periodically returns to its roots as an unconducted, primarily string orchestra. It is in this form that the Waterloo Chamber Players will present Food For the Soul III.
On Saturday June 1, at the church of St. John the Evangelist, the Waterloo Chamber Players will present a program including works by Bach, Telemann, Salieri, Haydn, and Stephen Sondheim. Soloists from within the group include flautist Tawnya Moore, oboist Katrina Liddle, violists Anita Buttemer and Liz Biswas, tenor Brian Otto (a member of the Waterloo Chamber Players Board), and others to be confirmed. With pay-what-you-can admission, people from all sectors of the community can attend. Outreach and promotion will take place at St. John’s Kitchen to make sure that patrons know about the event and feel invited and welcome.
To build a thriving community in Waterloo Region, it is crucial that grassroots organizations work together. The Waterloo Chamber Players are pleased to be able to continue to offer music “by the people, for the people,” and in that way to contribute to the larger community of which they are part.
Food for the Soul
Waterloo Chamber Players
Benefit for St. John’s Kitchen
Saturday June 1, 2013
Church of St. John the Evangelist
23 Water St. North, Kitchener
Tickets at the door: pay-what-you-can
for more information: 519-746-1374, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John’s Kitchen: www.theworkingcentre.org/st-johns-kitchen
Quiet Light in the Unfinished City - March 2013
Quiet Light in the Unfinished City
by: Alison Feuerwerker
Sometimes the best musical collaborations are created out of relationships. On March 23 the Waterloo Chamber Players, with principle conductor Ben Bolt-Martin on the podium, will present a concert featuring Canadian bass clarinetist, conductor, composer and CBC radio producer Jeff Reilly, performing works composed by CBC radio host, composer and organist Peter Togni. Jeff Reilly and Ben Bolt-Martin first met while doing a workshop as part of the Guelph Jazz Festival. “Ben has obvious musical sensitivity,; Reilly says. “A musical mind and a musical soul.” The two put on a concert for the KW Chamber Music Society, after which Ben invited Jeff to perform with the Waterloo Chamber Players. “It’s great to work with Jeff Reilly again,” says Bolt-Martin. “He is one of the real giants of the Canadian music scene, with extraordinary musical gifts and a range of expression that opens up so many possibilities for programming.” The musical relationship between Jeff Reilly and Peter Togni spans 24 years. Reilly is the producer and Togni the host of CBC Radio’s ‘Choral Concert.’ Together they formed the Sanctuary Trio over a decade ago, and created a concert series in Halifax which started with Gregorian chant and expanded from there. In 2005, Reilly commissioned Togni to write Mysteries of Light for string orchestra and bass clarinet. The work was recorded for a CD released on Warner Classics, resulting in a European concert tour. Reilly will perform the first movement, ‘Illuminations,’ with the Waterloo Chamber Players. “I have played it hundreds of times and I love it,” says Reilly. After the success of Mysteries of Light, Reilly commissioned another work from Togni, this one for the Elmer Eisler Singers. Lamentations of Jeremiah uses the Latin text from the Old Testament. Reilly will perform the middle movement, ‘Silentio,’ in an arrangement for bass clarinet and strings, on the March 23rd concert. Both Togni works include sections of improvisation. “Ben is very open-minded to improvisation” says Reilly. “Our relationship started with improvisation.” Performing works with improvised sections will be an exciting new experience for the Waterloo Chamber Players as well. Reilly’s contribution to the March 23rd concert also includes Aaron Copland’s Quiet City. Copland’s work is originally scored for trumpet, English horn and strings, and Reilly will play the English horn part on bass clarinet. Reilly describes Quiet City as “one of Copland’s most interesting pieces. It depicts the sounds, feel, and tone of a big city in the early morning.” Rounding out the concert will be Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and a newly commissioned work by local composer Rebekah Cummings. The March 23rd concert’s name, ‘Quiet Light in the Unfinished City,’ combines words from the titles of works on the program. The ‘unfinished city,’ Kitchener-Waterloo, is the community in which the Waterloo Chamber Players share their music. Jeff Reilly also has connections with Kitchener-Waterloo: he grew up in this community, attending both WCI and WLU. Bolt-Martin’s thoughts about the program: “ Originally I was going to suggest the title ‘Conversations within the Unfinished City.’ Jeff as soloist and improviser will bring a voice to the conversation which is full of power and possibilities, and we will meet that voice with individuals from within the orchestra as well as a ‘mix and match symphony’ in the second half, where the Schubert provides one half of the conversation and the rest will be provided by Rebekah Cummings’ work. I find the theme of ‘conversation’ supremely cogent as we in this region manufacture our own identity through the next number of decades. As we move from a secondary urban voice to a very prominent one over the next decade, Waterloo Region will need to engage in unremitting dialogue in order to realize our potential. “As the title ‘Quiet Light in the Unfinished City’ stands, there is another reflection of our purpose and vision within the Waterloo Chamber Players. As we, and the rest of the brilliant array of artists that call this area home, create our own space within the ‘Unfinished City’, we present a welcoming light for the community to gather around to have space and time for reflection and to have those conversations which will become the backbone of a brilliant community to come.” Event: Quiet Light in the Unfinished City Waterloo Chamber Players Ben Bolt-Martin, Conductor Jeff Reilly, bass clarinet Saturday March 23, 2013 7:30pm Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church 15 George St, Waterloo Tickets at the door: pay-what-you-can Website: waterloochamberplayers.com Info at 519 208 5508 or email@example.com
Waterloo Chamber Players name Ben Bolt-Martin Principal Conductor - September 2012
Waterloo Chamber Players name
Ben Bolt-Martin Principal Conductor
by: Alison Feuerwerker
The Waterloo Chamber Players are excited to announce the appointment of Ben Bolt-Martin as principal conductor for the 2012-2013 season. The Waterloo Chamber Players began as an unconducted string orchestra in 1994. In 1999, wanting to take their musicianship to the next level, the group appointed Matthew Jones as conductor. When Jones was hired as Music Director of the Timmins Symphony, Leonard Ingrao became the Waterloo Chamber Players’ principal conductor, leading the group through nine seasons during which winds and brass were added and the Waterloo Chamber Players became a chamber orchestra. Since the departure of Ingrao at the end of the 2009-2010 season, the orchestra has had several guest conductors. Two concerts during this period were conducted by Bolt-Martin. Players and audience enjoyed the wide range of repertoire he presented: works by Mozart, Saint-Saens, Pärt, Satie, Ravel, and Prokofiev, the Canadian Premiere of a Marimba concerto by Michael Torke, and some of his own compositions and arrangements.. Bolt-Martin is known in the area primarily as a cellist, having performed for 13 seasons with the Stratford Festival. Also very active in chamber music, he is currently the cellist in the Stratford-based Factory Arts Quartet with violinists Julie Baumgartel and Andrew Chung and violist Josh Greenlaw. His interest in new composition has led to participation in the performance and recording of new works by Timothy Corlis, Heather Taves and Leonard Enns, among others. Recently Bolt-Martin has branched out into composition, including wonderful orchestral arrangements for the Celtic band Rant Maggie Rant and a suite for cello and orchestra based on the songs of Edith Piaf. He also has a strong interest in music education and is Music Director of the Mississauga and the Stratford-Perth Youth Orchestras and director of Instrumental Chamber Music at Conrad Grebel College. Bolt-Martin brings to the podium wonderful musicianship, great excitement, and a superb ability to communicate his musical vision to the players through words, gestures and images. Plus, he truly enjoys conducting. “The opportunity to present to a group of musicians a musical concept and to work towards the realization of that concept brings a great sense of accomplishment and reward for the conductor,” says Bolt-Martin. How do the players feel about the WCP board decision to appoint Bolt-Martin as Principal Conductor? “Bravo!” “Wonderful news!” “Love to work with Ben!” “Great choice!” Bolt-Martin will conduct two concerts with WCP in the upcoming season The first, on November 3, will feature the incomparable Dan Warren on trumpet in Vincent Persichetti’s The Hollow Men based on T. S. Eliot’s poem of the same name reflecting on the aftermath of the first World War. Providing hopeful counterpoint for reflection during the Remembrance season will be Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony and J. Scott Irvine’s Aubade, The other concert, March 23rd 2013, will feature world renowned bass clarinet virtuoso Jeff Reilly, a Waterloo native, in music by CBC radio’s well-loved Peter Togni. That same concert will feature Kevin Muir’s witty and crafty Variations on Black Dog (Yes, the Zeppelin tune!). “I’m really excited to take on this challenge,” says Ben, “I think this group is uniquely positioned to create incredible concerts that cross boundaries and bring people together to share moments of joy, wonder and contemplation.”
Letter from John Wervers
Thank you letter from John Wervers - March 2015
I wish to thank you and the orchestra for a great evening of music making in a town that is so desperately in need of musical exposure.
As you know, I have spent a good part of my life trying to bring music to small towns that are totally void of such ventures. Your collective WCP willingness to share talents abroad speaks volumes about who you all are, not only as musicians, but as human beings who care about sharing the joy of the masters.
City choirs and orchestras often take it for granted that music is just a part of the daily and weekly diet. However, the vast majority of towns, villages and small cities are void of such exposure. Your WCP passion and kindness came through in many ways throughout the day and evening and was noted by many in the post concert chatter.
Thank you for dealing with all the adjustments, an inferior piano and staging etc….all in the name of making it happen. We never really know what impact we have on others but l heard today that people traveled from Barrie, St. Catharines, Wasaga Beach, Ottawa and beyond to attend.
Keiko would love to see this program in Collingwood. Hopefully that can happen some day. That community is really changing and I really believe it is ripe for artistic ventures.
Thanks again for the rehearsals and i trust that you and the orchestra enjoyed your short stay in town as well as the appreciative audience.