Good evening and welcome to this very special concert. Sharing the stage with your Lions Gate Sinfonia is Pandora’s Vox, that incredible women’s vocal ensemble from right here on the North Shore. Sinfonia last worked with “the Vox” and their brilliant founder and director Gillian Hunt in 2010, which was their 20th anniversary, and Sinfonia’s 10th!
At this time of year, as we approach Remembrance Day, and it was not a difficult decision at all as to what our theme would be for the evening. I have attended Pandora’s Vox concerts with “in memory’ themes, attended and conducted many Memorial and Patriotic concerts, and even humbly walked around a very cold and rainy Ottawa on November 11, 2000. With a father, brother-in-law, many friends and colleagues, and 4 uncles who served in the military, I am honoured to present a programme of music to salute our women and men heroes: the fallen, and the current troops in harm’s way.
We are also using tonight’s event to introduce members of our newly-formed Lions Gate Youth Orchestra for the first time. We welcome them to the stage to share the 3 opening numbers on our concert with their senior colleagues and mentors, members of our own Lions Gate Sinfonia. Please welcome them to the stage, and encourage them as we work on some of the great literature from the great masters, as well as some interesting lighter material by living composers. It has been a great pleasure to launch this wonderful new project, and to work with some of the finest young musicians I have ever met!
Tonight, with music ranging from the ultra-serious to the serene to the lightest and happiest, we salute our loyal women and men from the last century’s major wars as well as the current wars overseas. You will hear familiar “Classical” melodies such as Barber’s Adagio (to which I have added a few extra players!), the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria, Pachelbel’s famous Canon, Humperdinck’s Evening Prayer, and music by Beethoven, Mahler, Faure and Holst. There are also plenty of familiar songs and poetry from our folk traditions: Danny Boy, In Flanders Fields, as well as lots of music based on poetry. From our more popular song traditions there are songs familiar to our war-time heroes from WWI and WWII, and interspersed throughout there will be the traditional bugle calls as handed down from our military traditions through the Royal Canadian Legion. We will close tonight’s concert with what has become and anthem for peace, John Lennon’s IMAGINE.
Take a moment and thank a veteran for their service. Buy a poppy and wear it proudly. Most of all, at the 11th minute of the 11th hour of November 11, think of how fortunate we all are to have what we do. Without their sacrifice, many with the greatest sacrifice of all, we would not enjoy the freedom to vote, worship, and even exist as we choose to do.
Blessings and Music to all,