The Little Chamber Music Series That Could is very excited to announce that our grand finale for the East Side Animals project is happening on Saturday, February 8 from 2-4 as part of Family Day weekend.
The event will take place in the Falaise Community Hall, which is in Falaise Park directly beside my field house studio (East Side Animals is not only part of the Little Chamber Music Series That Could, but is also a large part of my Field House Residency).
Part of the Series’ mandate, and a large part of the field house residency, is making new music somehow relevant to people’s daily lives. This project was inspired by the pebble mosaic in Falaise Park that depicts the animals who once called the area home, and with it’s First Nations stylings evokes the rich history of this unique community. By connecting a large-scale creative project to a piece of art in the park, and setting the performance there, the hope is to build a greater sense of community within the students involved and the community around the park.
Over 7 consecutive Tuesdays this fall I worked with 3 classes of students (in grades 1-5) at 3 local elementary schools; Vancouver Christian, Nootka and Thunderbird. The goal of the writing phase was to connect the student’s imaginations directly to sound and music. By using myself as a “translator”, we turned the student’s most abstract ideas (like a musical depiction of salmon spawning) into musical themes that can be played by any musician.
Once we had the 8 themes, I then took the material and used it to create a larger piece (about 25 minutes) that will highlight the children’s work while also encouraging participation from the audience during the performance.
Written for 8 musicians and narrator, the piece talks about the animals, the neighbourhood, the project and the history of the area: We’re trying to sneak some learning in!
We’ve assembled some of the best musicians in Vancouver to bring this project to life, and have dubbed them the Little Chamber Menagerie:
On violin, portraying Fluffy the Fox, is Vancouver Opera concertmaster Mark Ferris.
On flute, portraying Boom Boom the woodpecker, is Nu:BC’s Paolo Bortolussi.
Standing Wave’s AK Coop and her clarinet will breathe life into Lady A the Crow.
Ingrid Chiang from Turning Point will use her bassoon to animate Cranium the Crane.
Also from Turning Point, Marcus Takizawa and his viola will become Pinky the Salmon.
Novo Ensemble’s Marina Hasselberg becomes Professor O the Owl with her cello.
Turning Point’s co-AD Jeremy Berkman will make his trombone become Justin Beaver.
Megan Bradfield, a classical double bassist who is best known for playing with Limblifter, will be portraying our grumpy old bear Sir Chubby.
I will be conducting/narrating the performance.
The event is on Sat., Feb. 8, and takes place in Falaise Park in the Community Hall. When you drive east on Grandview towards HWY1 you probably noticed a beautiful park on your right, with baseball diamonds at the bottom and green space going up hill. This is Falaise. The Community Hall is at the top of the green space you see from Grandview and offer stunning views of our city.
At 2pm there is an animal mask-making workshop so that the neighbourhood kids can get into the mood and character, and the world premiere of East Side Animals takes place at 3. This is a free event.
This has been an incredibly rewarding project, mainly because of the way the students took to composing. By the last few weeks the young creators had very clear ideas of what they did and didn’t want, what they liked and disliked, and how the music could best illustrate their ideas.
They were also inspired (as I was) by our amazing special guests, Nicole Lizée, Mark McGregor and Krista Wodelet. And I’m confident that in return these amazing artists were inspired by the students, their imaginations and endless enthusiasm for new sounds and music.
Please join us, it’s going to be a great event!