April 17, 2016
So it’s time to write a blog – or so I am told!
I thought it would be appropriate to start by giving you a bit of background on the organic beginning of the Cecilian Chamber Series in Regina, Saskatchewan.
A handful of dedicated people, Dennis Weist, Corinne Groff, Garry and Lily Ann Paul and I had been brought together through DWPiano and Hailun piano sales. We had a 7 ft Hailun semi-concert grand, a wonderful venue at St Cecilia Church and the dream of a chamber music series. We knew very little about how to present a concert much less run a series but had lots of enthusiasm for presenting great music.
With very little notice we were presented with the opportunity to feature the incomparable violinist James Ehnes with Andrew Armstrong at the piano in October 2011. It was the perfect time to start. There was a great buzz about this concert and the church filled with an excited audience that was treated to an evening of sublime violin music. So it began….
Now we really had the bug! Full of enthusiasm we struck out and proceeded to book artists to fill out the first season. As a result audiences were treated to great concerts by artists such as pianist James Parker, Guy Few and Nadina Mackie Jackson on trumpet, bassoon and piano, and Tommy Banks with his trio as we ventured in a bit of jazz.
The second year we were invited to move to Knox-Metropolitan United Church, so along with the Hailun grand piano we moved downtown to enjoy the wonderful acoustics of this great building where we have for the past 4 seasons presented “World Stage” chamber music concerts. By the end of this years’ season we will have presented nineteen “World Stage” concerts. Check out the list of past concerts on the website.
It has been an exhilarating time with many new adventures and challenges and an incredible team that has worked diligently to handle all the aspects of presenting chamber music concerts. I have learned about running a non profit organization, being incorporated, organizing and running a board, promotion and marketing, grant writing and fundraising, things; all things I knew very little about having been a piano teacher for over 40 years.
What I did know was this; what a great concert “felt” like, the calibre of chamber musicians available in Canada, and that people really do respond to great music. Being an avid concert goer, Dennis and I spend much of our time going to or trying to figure out how to get to hear great musicians wherever they might be playing. That pursuit has taken us across Canada and the United States as well as to Europe where we have been able to hear some of the best musicians in the world. (One visit to the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival gave me the opportunity to attend 32 concerts in two weeks!)
While there have been inevitable frustrations in the steep learning curve we have all gone through, they have been far outweighed by the rewards: the heartfelt appreciation of the audience for the opportunity to hear great chamber music performances right here in Regina, the chance to get to know and learn from the talented chamber musicians, the opportunity to work with the dedicated team that consists of the board, staff and volunteers that makes all of this possible and the list could go on and on….
I feel very privileged to be in a place where I can share my love of music with all of you by engaging of excellent chamber musicians that appear on our stage in the Cecilian Chamber Series.
As I write this we are in the final stages of preparing our promotional material for season six. Watch for exciting news about this next season on our website and in future blogs.
Until then… Just Listen…. we will provide the music.