Great Weather, Great News, Great Concert

….it’s been a wonderful weekend and I can finally share my big news

1. Finally a beautiful weekend, weather-wise. Sunshine and warmer temperatures. I managed to get out on Saturday for a walk with the dog and took some photos of the neighbourhood.

2. Also on Saturday, my husband and I picked up our youngest daughter and her dog Lucy and brought them back to our house. G’s husband was on a business trip so she was looking for some company and she needed a break from packing boxes. This Friday they will be moving from their tiny apartment in uptown Toronto to a 4 bedroom Victorian semi in Hamilton. It’s a move they need to make because they needed more room to accommodate the new baby that they are expecting in October. Yeah!!!!!!!!! I’m finally going to be a grandmother. That’s my BIG news!

3. Today my friend DM invited me to a concert downtown. The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto hosted a live competition to present the Career Development Awards. The concert featured the three finalists who were chosen from a pool of 10 candidates chosen by CBC regional producers. Usually a jury of musical experts from across Canada rank all the entries based on written and audio materials and select a winner but because this was the tenth anniversary for the award (given every three years) a live competition was held. Prizes of $20 000., $10 000 and $5000 were awarded for first, second and third place.

All three competitors played magnificently. There were two pianists and one cello player. First prize went to Charles Richard-Hamelin on piano, second prize to Stéphane Tétreault on cello and third prize to Pierre-André Doucet on piano (my personal favourite).

I’ve found Pierre-André Doucet’s performance of Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata No. 1 on YouTube.

Stéphane was the youngest performer at 22 and played this beautiful arrangement of Hayden’s Divertimento in D Major.

I couldn’t find the exact piece that Charles Richard-Hamelin played today but here is a sample of Chopin.

Share Your World – Week 11

….what ice-cream would I be?

If you were an ice cream cone how many scoops and flavors would you be and why?

This is tough. I love ice-cream and I love having a variety of flavours. I think I would go for two scoops (in a cup, not a cone) and hopefully my partner in crime would have two different scoops so that I could sample some of his. The one flavour that comes to mind immediately is coffee or mocha. My second scoop would be cinnamon (a specialty flavour at Greg’s) or a rich French vanilla ice-cream with a swirl of chocolate, nuts and cherries. Yum!

Are you left or right handed?

I am left handed. My mother was worried about that because as a girl she was forced to write with her right hand and would get her knuckles rapped if she tried to use her left hand. Luckily that archaic practice had ceased to exist when I started school. I’m actually quite ambidextrous and I bowl, bat and knit right handed. Years ago I taught a knitting class at the community school and my mother owned a wool store. One of her customers took my class and she went to my mom to ask for some advice. I use the European method of knitting and since all my students were right handed I instructed them to follow my mirror image. Little did I know at the time that I knit right handed and I was forcing my students to knit with their left hands. 

Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?

It depends on whom I’m calling. I never rehearse social calls but when I used to do demonstrations at home parties and I had to cold call people to book parties I definitely rehearsed what I would say. I hated cold calling.

How many rings before you answer the phone?

I usually let the phone ring three times or until the call display comes up. If the number is a 1-800 number I often let it go or I’ll say ‘hello’ twice quickly and then hang up if no one answers back after the second hello.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

 I am grateful for four days with my sisters in Calgary and for the beautiful weather we had last week. Who knew travelling west would be almost as good as going south. This week I’m looking forward to another concert put on by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, featuring Yegor Dyachkov on cello and Jean Saulnier on piano.

I’m also taking an on-line art course for the next two weeks and learning about abstraction and how to paint an abstract. I’m finishing my first assignment and will be posting it shortly.

For more Share your World posts check out

A Concert Featuring a Recorder Player….Really?

…..yes and it was amazing

A week ago I had the pleasure of attending a concert in the afternoon that featured an up and coming star in the music world who plays the recorder. His name is Vincent Lauzer and he graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2012, he won the First Prize during the Stepping Stone of the Canada Music Competition and the Career Development Award from the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto. These are just a couple of awards that he has won and after watching his performance I can see why. I can’t really write a review that would adequately critique the actual performance so I have added a link for a review written by Margaret Lam over at Musical Toronto.

Much of the performance featured Baroque music but Vincent did include some contemporary pieces which I really enjoyed. When browsing Youtube I could only find videos of the more classical recorder scores. Here is one that I think will give you a pretty good idea of Lauzer’s skill on the recorder. Enjoy!

Things Didn’t Go As Planned

…..but the concert was fabulous

Before I left the house this morning I gathered up all the documents I thought I would need to get my new health card. The only thing I couldn’t find was my passport but I had a photocopy of it.

I headed over to the x-ray and imagining lab to have my bone density checked. There was no waiting and the procedure was painless and went without a hitch.  I picked up a cup of lemon jasmine tea from the French baker on the corner and a couple of loaves of day old bread, rye and muesli. Next stop, the medical lab for my blood work. When I got there, however, the waiting room was so busy that there was at least a 30 minute wait. I was told if I came back before 4:00 I wouldn’t have to wait.

Plan B …..I made my way to the government office to get my new health card or so I thought. When I got there I showed the receptionist my papers and she told me that the photocopied passport couldn’t be used but I only needed two pieces of ID and the other two items I had would suffice. She gave me a number and I took a seat. There weren’t a lot of people there but it still took 30 minutes before my number came up. I no sooner got to the counter when I was told that I needed three pieces of ID and not two like I had been told. The clerk could see that I was visibly upset so she gave me a special pass so that when I returned with all my documents I wouldn’t have to wait.

I didn’t have time to drive home and get downtown in time for the concert. Luckily the offices were open till 7:00 tonight so I rushed to the subway station to catch a train into town and meet my friend, CL. When I got to the platform, one train had just left and then the sign came up saying that the next train was delayed. Fortunately it was a short delay and the next train arrived in three minutes. I arrived about 10 minutes late and CL was waiting patiently for me outside of Tim Horton’s. The lecture was starting in 10 minutes and we hadn’t had lunch so we decide to forgo the talk and grab a bite to eat instead.

The concert was sold out and the auditorium was already packed when we arrived. The only seats left where we could sit together were in the front row. When I read that we were seeing a piano duo I thought that meant two pianos and two pianists but there was only one piano on stage with two benches. The piano duo was one piano with four hands.

Bax and Chung have been described as a musical love story. Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung are married in real life and when they play together there is a sensuality and connection between them on stage that doesn’t go unnoticed by the audience. Today my favourite numbers included Stravinsky’s own four hands transcription of his ballet Petrushka and the duo’s own transcription of Three Tangos by the great Argentinian master Astor Piazzolla. After a standing ovation and three curtain calls, the audience was treated to another tango duet for their encore presentation.

I found an awesome video on Youtube that shows the couple playing Piazzolla’s Libertango. The camera is situated above the piano so that you can see the interaction between Bax and Chung. It is a great way to see the complexity of the piece and the difficulty of playing with four hands on one keyboard.

I didn’t get back in time to have my blood work done but when I got home, I found my passport and returned to the government office to have my health card processed. It should be arriving in the mail in a couple of weeks.


Getting Ready for a Busy Day

….mixing pleasure with those things that never get done

I started my morning going through all my bills and then going on line to make some payments. I have three stops that I have to make this morning. First I’m going for a bone density scan that I should have done much earlier in the year, then I’m heading to the blood lab for more blood work and finally I’ll be standing in line to fill out the paperwork for a new health card. They finally caught up with me and after all these years of using my original health card I now have to get the new one with photo ID.

Once I’ve finished with these mundane tasks I’ll be getting on the subway and heading downtown to the university to take in the first of five concerts in a series called Music in the Afternoon. The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, in its 116th season, puts on a series of concerts every year, featuring outstanding Canadian and international artists in a blend of instrumental and vocal chamber music. Many of these musicians are on the threshold of international recognition.

Today’s concert features Bax and Chung, a piano duo. I’ll be meeting a friend downtown and together we will walk over to the Edward Johnson Building for the Tuning Your Mind lecture which proceeds every concert. The guest speaker will give the audience some insight into the pieces that we will hear and perhaps some information about the artists who are performing. Shortly after the lecture, which is optional, the concert will begin in earnest.

I’m looking forward to the day and will report on the experience in a future post.