Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Venice and Verona Adventures - Alison Lloyd

Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in getting you news. Italy was a whirlwind tour and lacking in great wifi access. I had to wait to get back to green and beautiful Austria to send along a note. Today is our last day in Austria and we will be heading to the Best Western in Munich tonight.

(By the way in my last post, I meant to say Donizetti, not Carmen "stole the show") Late nights!

Anyway, the kids are well and looking forward to going to Swarovski Crystal World today. The sky is blue and the weather has been hot. We had quite the surprise in Verona at the Aida performance when, after the third act the heavens opened up on us! Hail the size of golf balls and torrential rain. We gathered everyone up and raced to the bus . It was hysterical! We looked like a bunch of drowned rats and well.....Sam's umbrella said it all..(pics to come). In Vienna we explored Doges palace and when things got a little too hot, some of the girls sat on the grand stairway and sang some songs. The tourists in the toilet lineup were extremely grateful for the music but we were booted off by the Doges polizia ;( Anyway, we thought that maybe a flash mob in the centre of Doges would be a great idea but maybe next time :) Venice and Verona are still beautiful as they always have been and all the kids loved the masks that Ann took us to see. Sadly, the mask maker takes Saturday off but we still managed to purchase a few things and ooo and aahhhh at the colourful caricatures. Anyway, more to come later tonight as I am sure the BW will have decent Wifi. Alison.

Friday, July 8, 2011

CCOC group photos

CCOC in front of Musikverein

Haydn Hall


Paige and Kristen

Photos of CCOC at Winners' Gala

Globe and Mail article of New Brunswick Youth Orchestra

Posted by Alison Lloyd July 7th
Globe and Mail New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. 

Not sure if anyone saw this but perhaps the CCOC should get some recognition for their performance too. THis orchestra was truly amazing and yes; they did do the "spin".....I still think that Carmen rocked the house !

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra wows Vienna
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jul. 06, 2011 6:00PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Jul. 06, 2011 6:04PM EDT
Print/LicenseDecrease text sizeIncrease text size

The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra likes to get a little physical with one of its pieces, livening things up by spinning cellos or literally raising their bodies as the music rises to a climax.

During competition at an international festival in Austria, they felt that would be too outré, said cellist Lydia Mainville. But after placing first and being invited to perform this week at Vienna’s famed Golden Hall of the Musikverein, they were too exuberant to hold back.

“I said, ‘We’re doing the spin,’ “ said Mainville from Vienna on Wednesday. “And they loved it.”

Their performance of Conga del Fuego Nuevo, by the Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, earned a standing ovation. It’s a rare occurrence in that hall, according to festival artistic director Jürgen Partaj.

“It doesn’t happen often in the Wiener Musikverein,” Partaj said. “The young people and the young conductor, Antonio Delgado, they have a lot more friends [now] around the world.”

The 68 young musicians, who range in age from 14 to 24, return to New Brunswick Thursday with a first-place finish at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival and a judges’ designation as “outstanding.”

Their victory – the NBYO won out over six orchestras, culled from approximately 30 that applied to compete – and their performance at the finale of a Golden Hall gala on Tuesday capped a remarkable decade of building by the youth orchestra.

Founded in the 1960s, the NBYO by 2002 had an annual budget of just $25,000, said president Ken MacLeod. That season, they played to a cumulative audience of no more than 700 people. They had a chance to perform at Carnegie Hall, but the opportunity seemed destined to be scuppered by the high cost. Fundraisers found a rich vein of support, though, and they secured well in excess of the amount they needed.

That performance at Carnegie Hall led to both a documentary, appropriately called Practice, Practice, Practice, and their first CD – all boosting their profile. The orchestra later performed in Italy and China, which provoked another CD, and brought them a guest conductor and a faculty.

MacLeod said the NBYO’s budget last year was nearly $250,000 – from a mix of fundraising, student fees, ticket sales and government support – and their performances were seen by more than 10,000 people. The ballooning audience numbers were partly helped by a strategy of featuring guest musicians.

“It brings in a new audience, people who came to hear Matt Andersen also heard the orchestra,” MacLeod said, referring to the New Brunswick-based bluesman.

Another change was conductor Delgado, a Venezuelan. He had been visiting New Brunswick to see his girlfriend – now his wife – who was working in the province. After guest-conducting with the orchestra, he agreed to join full-time last year.

Since then, he’s been working hard to get the group to focus on more than technical ability.

“Basically to work harder … trying to find the feeling, the meaning beyond the notes,” Delgado said, adding that it’s “a big responsibility” to have won in Vienna. “We have to keep the level.”

Delgado is a veteran of the Sistema model, a children’s music program that started in Venezuela in 1975 and is catching on around the world – including Canada (Ottawa has a program, and others are planned for Winnipeg and Toronto).

The NBYO launched a prototype Sistema program in 2009, providing children with free instruction and access to instruments, and has an ambitious fivee-year plan to have up to 600 kids learning music throughout the province. “We’re already identifying kids in Sistema that we think, in a year, will be able to audition for the [NBYO],” said MacLeod.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 7 and 8 - Alison Lloyd

Hallo everyone! I think Anh explained what happened yesterday. We finally got back to the hotel at about 11:30pm. The winners gala was a well needed dinner and dance party for 1000. It was heartwarming to watch the kids form a congo line with the other choirs from Australia, China, Hungary etc etc and just let loose. The Chinese choirs seemed fascinated with the younger CCOC members and kept taking pictures of them and giving them gifts of little doilies and red traditional ornaments. Of course this added to their new found "celebrity" status and they felt pretty good about themselves. K'naan, Sting, U2, Men at Work, and Adele were amoung the dance tunes that had the kids cutting a rug. A special note of recognition should go out to Leo M who displayed some unprecedented moves to his new Aussie pals. It was so great to see the kids let loose and meet their competitors on the dance floor. There was even a circle at one point and a bit of break dancin! You can imagine who was right in the middle as the chaperones cringed at the thought of uniforms being dragged along the floor and squashed tomatoes flying! I have to say I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. At 10:30pm (we closed the place)everyone dragged their tired selves back to the bus and sweaty and flushed they waved goodbye to their new friends, exchanged FaceBook and email addresses and headed back to the hotel......surprisingly...the nighttime duty had it pretty easy that night. Today the kids enjoyed an informal concert at Hayden Hall and listened to Haydn's 6th under the frescoes. Afterwards, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in Eisenstadt shopping and eating ice cream and sorbet. The sun was shining and the rain finally stayed away for a full 8 hours. A group stroll through Sobron Hungary was also very enjoyable and also interesting for the kids to see the stark contrast between Viennese opulence and the simplicity of an old Hungarian town. Iori Wanted to find chocolate, as did I, but we had no luck....Do Hungarians actually eat chocolate? we asked ourselves.....I said I am sure they do but we must have had a bit of bad luck. :)
Dinner was in a restaurant on the side of a hill in Graz and was one of the best yet...rice, bread, Turkey Kebobs and a delicious lime mousse with fruit for desert. The thing that caught the kids' eyes though was the small playground attached so again, there was much screeching, sliding and frolicking lol. Today was a well needed relaxation day...even though it sounds like we did a lot....Our hotel is clean, spacious and it smells like pine trees...real ones! Life could be worse :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gala Winners' Concert - Golden Hall, Musikverein

This evening, 2000 guests were treated to a spectacular celebratory concert at the infamous Musikverein. The CCOC were among one of 7 choirs asked to perform and they did an amazing job of Servants' Chorus!  We never saw Ann and Errol look more proud!  Coming first was the Victoria Children's Choir, also from Canada.  They did a stupendous arrangement called Epitaph for Moonlight by R. Murray Schafer that truly showcased the fine acoustics of the Golden Hall.  After intermission we were treated to 6 orchestras from Taipei, Netherlands, Hungary, Australia, and 1st place winners the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra.  CANADA ROCKS!

After the concert, the choir and the parents all went to the City Hall of Vienna for food and drinks.  There were lots of email exchanges and photo taking!  We are absolutely elated!

Anh (Bernice's mom)

In case you are missing your children's beautiful singing, here's a link to 2 of the pieces they performed at the Liechenstein Museum.  I wish I could have videotaped the competition and the gala concerts but unfortunately we were not allowed to.  Enjoy!



A wonderful moment!

Congratulations to the CCOC for coming 2nd at the Summa Cum Laude Competition!!

(Bernice's family)