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Starry Night - Van Gogh

August 2022 – Starry, Starry Night

Our 2022 winter concert slated for Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 2:30pm, is already organized and ready for our first rehearsal, September 7th at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 143 Main Street Markham, and I am so excited about it!

I’m often asked how I go about putting a concert together. It’s not as easy as one might think, that’s for sure! Those of you, who know me, know that I like to create concerts that either ‘tell a story’ or take us on ‘a journey of discovery’. It usually starts with a tiny grain of an idea that then directs me to our library and to the various publishers looking for great music. As I continue the search for suitable repertoire, the ‘idea grain’ begins to morph and take shape. (It actually feels like it takes on a life of its own!) Hundreds of revisions later, I usually get that ‘aha’ moment that says “Yes! This is it!”

Take this year, for example. Our concert was supposed to be a straightforward Christmas concert which I had entitled: “A Light in the Village”. But as I got working on it, I kept coming back to the use of ‘light’ in the Christmas story and I began seeking ways to be more inclusive and to reach out to a broader audience base. As I researched other cultures and religions for more information on how they celebrate significant holidays, I was absolutely dumbstruck by the number of instances where light, and specifically stars, is used in their holy books, proverbs and cultural celebrations! To quote NASA astronaut Lieutenant Colonel Anne McLean, “We are often so concerned about all of our differences. But when we look up into space, we all see the same stars and we all see the same sun.”

And so “Starry, Starry Night”, inspired by the Van Gogh painting as well as the Don Maclean song, became the starting point. Then came the task of arranging the music I had selected into an order that would provide some kind of flow to take us on that journey I mentioned – considering what tonalities we would be moving through, the accompaniment and orchestration possibilities, what moods were to be established, the level of difficulty of each piece etc. etc. etc. “Oh, the budget!” Revise! Revise! Revise!

And so we now have a very exciting concert programme, some very special guest artists and a few special effects along the way! So stay tuned for a wonderful concert experience on December 11th 2022. I hope you’ll join us!