To be successful as a musician, a performer must have the “big picture” of what music is, why humanity values it and what it takes to perform with other musicians in an integrated, sympathetic fashion. On April 23rd, “big picture” meant “The Universe” for 200+ SMUS Senior School music students.
The University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium was the setting for a tour around the cosmos, led by music directors Donna Williams (Strings and Vocal Jazz), Peter Butterfield (Choir) and Gordon Clements (Band). From the main interstellar highways of R. Strauss, Holst and Haydn, to the domains of Van Morrison and Charlie Parker, the ensembles toured their audience through the musical stardust.
Successful concerts featuring ensembles as large as 150 players and singers using virtually full symphonic instrumentation require detailed planning and careful implementation. The University employs an expert technical crew and those people, assisted by many students and two teacher stage managers — Greg Marchand and myself — piloted spaceship Universe through a rehearsal and performance that launched at 7 am and landed again safely at 9 pm.
Students learned about the unspoken brotherhood between Mr. Holst, Mr. Morrison and their composer friends. They learned to play and sing in many styles with varying musical intentions. They learned the value of teamwork when the team is cosmic in size and intention. They came, they played, they learned, they created. Mission accomplished!
Over 130 high-resolution photos from this show are available for download in the SMUS Photo Gallery. Looking for something to listen to? How about the 2010 SMUS performance of a Concerto for Electric Guitar, Rock Band and Orchestra originally written for Eric Clapton.