Category Archives: Music

Concert Season

It is that time of year again when one concert is followed very closely by the next.  At the beginning of November both L15 and A 13 participated in the Kids Helping Kids concert to raise money for the Peaceful Children’s Homes in Cambodia.  L15 has been involved for several years as a soloist  but she also took some of the administration this time.  A13 performed was invited as a soloist for the first time this year.

The following weekend Stellae Boreales performed at the Young String Performers Foundation concert.  The group has been invited by the YSPF before but this time L15 was also invited to perform a solo, the first movement of Vivaldi’s Summer.  During the week Stellae Boreales performed at an Awards Gala and tomorrow morning, I have just been informed, the senior ensemble will be playing at the Senate as part of National Child Day.

Next Saturday is the November Stellae Boreales Fundraising concert, where both girls with play solos.  L15 will play all of Summer and A13 will play the 1st mvt. of the Concerto in B minor by de Beriot.

When the calendar turns over to December the concertos will be replaced (temporarily) by Christmas music as the girls play at banquets and Christmas services.  So you see some things haven’t changed in our life.

Here comes the quartet


A month ago now L and A, along with their friends H and P provided all the instrumental music for a wedding.  The bridal couple are friends of H and P who approached them about forming a quartet to play at the wedding in July.  The girls have played together many times but this was easily the most significant gig they have done.    Some of the music they already knew, but most had to be learned.  The bride chose very traditional wedding pieces including The Bridal March, Pachelbel Canon, Trumpet Voluntary and the Wedding March.   The wedding was held in a marquee in the bride’s parent’s lovely garden.  Right up until the ceremony began it poured but while the wedding proceeded the rain  took a break.   The girls played beautifully and enjoyed the experience.

There was much discussion about appropriate apparel.  The normal performance blacks were ruled out fairly early on.  H and P were invited guests and did not want to attend a wedding in black.  A and L are a little tired of their black performance dresses anyway.  Matching dresses were not considered a good choice,  they didn’t want to be mistaken for, or clash with the bridesmaids!  After a couple of joint shopping expeditions we realized that black and white is in at present and it was both pretty and professional looking.  Finding four different but co-ordinating dresses for the right price and the right size was a little tricky.  The first one we found everyone wanted so we bought it and then delayed the decision about who would get it.   Eventually we realized that we were not going to find a dress for A13.  Although she is the tallest of the four girls she is also the “smallest”.  I ended up making her one which fitted in well with the other three.

Kiwanis news

L14  had a very full but  satisfying week at the Kiwanis Music Festival.  This year she played Malaguena by Sarasate as the Grade 9 general piece and  Romance in F major by Beethoven,  Melodie by Tchaikovsky and Praeludium and Allegro by Kreisler for the Grade 9/10 Concert Group.  It was very encouraging for her (and for Andrew and I) to hear the adjudicator’s comments which were quite different to last year’s  reflecting the progress she has made over the past year.

On Friday she played a Vivaldi concerto for four violins with the senior performance group and received  very encouraging comments and grade  from the adjudicator.    When he saw her later in the day for sight-reading and then at the evening competition, he mentioned again how much he enjoyed their performance.

A12 begins her week of competition tomorrow evening.


As you know a fair amount of practising goes on here.  L14, finished with her exam, is now preparing for the Kiwanis Music Festival which occurs in April.  Last year L competed in the Grade 8 class and then performed the same pieces for her Suzuki book 8 graduation, again in China and then continued to practise them for her exam in January.  To say that she is pleased to be playing all new repetoire is an understatement.

A12 is also preparing new pieces for Kiwanis.  She chose to learn Csardas by Monti, which I have been hoping one of them would play.  Both girls have had a  few performances lately, solo and together.   Along with their friends H & P they have been asked to provide music for a wedding in July.

Andrew’s evenings are filled with practices of one kind or another.  He continues to play on worship teams at church but is also  practising with a band for a benefit concert on April 11th. The band is made up of local musicians and led by singer/songwriter Dave Byron.  The benefit is for Empathy House, a long-term residential treatment facility for women with  substance addiction.

Last Saturday night the youth at our church hosted a rock concert by Manic Drive.  L and A both attended and had a great time.  Four of our youth, including L opened for the band with a couple of worship songs.  Apparently the church was rocking literally, windows were  shaking and walls vibrating!

Campaign Close-up

Friends of ours and fellow members of Group of Four welcomed an important visitor into their home this morning. The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was given a short cello lesson by B7’s friend J8. Mr Harper then used his new skills to accompany E12 as he played a fiddle tune. E, J and their brother M were able to chat to Mr Harper about their interests and music lessons. 

We were also able to experience an aspect of the current election campaign at very close range today when we were invited to the Conservative Headquarters to attend a policy announcement.  Mr Harper, announced three new initiatives to help Canadian families. One of those initiatives is to establish a tax credit on fees for children taking music, art or drama lessons.

We were present for the whole announcement and the question time which followed. The children listened to the Prime Minister outline the policy, which involved more than just the tax credit, and heard him field questions on a range of topics relating to the election. After the announcement he took a few minutes to meet each member of the three families invited. When talking to the children he asked them about their involvement with music and told them a little about his own piano learning as a young person. He also chatted to them about the instruments his son and daughter like to play.

It was great to be behind the scenes and see the large media contingent in action.  We were briefed before the announcement by one of the PM’s staff about what to expect and appropriate behaviour.  We were also warned that the strong lighting can get very hot and just last week someone fainted during a press release.    We had stood for twenty minutes or so and were just listening to Mr Harper answering the last question when I realised A12 was swaying beside me, I whispered to her but received no reply.  Not a moment too soon I put my arms out to steady her and maneuvered away to the side of the room, where someone picked her up and carried her to a chair.  As soon as she could walk we went off to a back room where she recovered.  That is why you cannot see either of us in the photos here.  Mr Harper did come back to the room with the rest of the families where A12 and I were able to speak briefly with him.

You can read the press release here or watch it here


Today the girls found out their results from the theory exams.  Both did extremely well with marks over 90%.  They were very pleased, Andrew and I were very proud.  A12 has to keep up the momentum now and work towards her Grade 2 theory exam next year.

I was excited to receive in the mail a magazine containing an article I wrote.  Homeschooling Horizons is a Canadian magazine and my article was about starting or joining a Co-op.

After lunch today, none of us were in the least bit excited to be joined by a mouse in the kitchen!  I am embarrassed to say I did my share of screaming and jumping out of the way.  Of course the tiny little creature was terrified as we all stood looking at it deciding what we should do.  Any time it looked like being brave enough to move we roared at it.    B7 had a few bloodthirsty ideas on how it could be dispatched; needless to say I didn’t go with any of them.