Home Grown at 30

Home Grown Music Society Coffee House: Centre 64, Saturday October 27, 2012, 8pm

It has been said before – time flies when you are having fun. This is the thirtieth season of the Home Grown Coffee Houses and once again, along with seasoned performers,  new talent seem to have come out of the woodwork to enhance the local music scene. The Green room was crammed with eighteen talented musicians ready to go on stage.


A fresh season and a fresh configuration of some well known local musicians, in what will be a first for the coffee house, an all female Blue Grass band. I hesitate to to call  PIX AND STIX a  “girl band” because they are nothing like their gender opposite “a boy band”. Most of these ladies are fresh from this summer’s Blue Grass camp and they were anxious to strut their stuff. This very strong vocal ensemble included Paige Lennox on banjo (a new banjo at that), Shelagh Redecopp on fiddle, Heather Gemmell on guitar and her first outing playing dobro, Shauna Plant on mandolin, Janice Nicli on bass and Cosima Wells on guitar. All the ladies did heavy duty on vocals as well. After listening to their renditions of ‘Bury Me beneath the Weeping Willow Tree’ and ‘Long Gone’ I suspect Cosima Well’s musical direction had a lot do with the harmonies within the band. Interspersed with the vocals were instrumental breaks on banjo, fiddle, bass, dobro and mandolin. The ladies have only been together musically for a couple of weeks  and this is sure to be the beginning of new, and hopefully, ongoing musical experience for local audiences.


Originally from Nelson, Darren Welch has more recently returned from “the centre of the universe” (Smithers, BC). Both Darren and I both met our wives in Smithers so, naturally, it is the centre of our universes.  Darren treated the audience to three original songs,‘Pretty Wild’, ‘Great Divide’ and ‘Sunshine’ that were colored by his northern experiences. They all featured good vocals with some nice controlled dynamic shadings in his guitar accompaniments. Doug Mitchell is no stranger to Homegrown audieces. Under different circumstances I suspect Doug is out to aggravate his audience and get them to think about the issues. ‘Keep Jumbo Free’ (“who needs a summer place to ski”) was, naturally, playing to the converted. His spoof on the health life style benefits of Coca Cola and musical comments on the Enbridge pipeline proposal all hit very responsive chords. Liz Dowling had a transport malfunction (her car broke down) that stranded her in Marysville some eight years ago and she has not come up with a good enough reason to want to leave.  She is originally from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia and, naturally, folk music runs in her veins. She re-visited the folk music of a bygone era, threw in a Merle Haggard tune and finished off her set with Bob Dylan’s ‘Farewell Angelina’. Thank god for cars that break down in the most opportune and appropriate places.  Rob Young and James Neve are two core members of the folk/rock band 60 Hertz. Rob plays lead guitar and James sings and plays a very choice Larrivee acoustic guitar. James and the band are noted for the number and quality of original songs that make up their repertoire.  In a slight step away from 60 Hertz Rob and James were joined by Tristan Neve on a very original percussion set up that included a Cajon used as a kick drum. The Cajon is a small wood box drum originally from Peru. It has found its way                firstly into Flamenco music and now into the musical mainstream. Tristan uses the Cajon as a kick drum and along with a snare drum, cymbal and Irish Bodhran he has managed to come up with a small kit that pretty well covers all the territory normal associated with a standard drum kit. His use  of brushes on the Bodhran is very original. As always, it was another opportunity for the audience to touch bases with some of James Neve’s newer material that included ‘Take the Wheel’, ‘Safe to Sail’ and ‘Come Back’      John Gerlitz  is one of a number of musicians proudly stuck in the past. For John it is the old-time music of the blues masters and practitioners of that style  that he finds especially attractive. He proved this with his renditions of Jessie Colin Young’s ‘Sugar Babe’, Bessie Smith’s 1925 hitYou’ve been a Good Ol’ Wagon but now you’ve done broke down’, and the ever popular “Deep River Blues’.  Dave Carlson  insists that bluegrass songs are sad songs that always sound happy. I’m not so sure about that particularly after Dave and Carol Fergus chose to focus on economically devastated communities in such songs as ‘Last Train from Poor Valley’ and Si Kahn’s ‘Aragon Mill’. Never-the-less the songs were especially fine songs complemented by Carol’s stand-up electric bass and Dave’s nice clean picking on his beat up old Martin guitar. The last act of the evening was a nameless band in full Halloween regalia. The band included Leslie Pink on vocals and guitar, Mike Kennedy on blues harp and the young Jeff Curren  on congas and percussion. The shading of the material was definitely bluesy with a little rock kick to move the night to a grand finale. That’s an apt description for their treatment of  ‘Tied to the Whipping Post’, ‘On the Road Again’ and ‘The House of the Rising Sun’.





Until the next Home Grown Coffee House on Saturday December 1, 2012 that’s it folks.Thanks go to the many volunteers that make the evening possible and thanks to the MC Bud Decosse, Ray on sound and Terry on lights.


Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble

JAZZ: THE REAL DEAL The Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble with the Selkirk Jazz Choir and The Jazz Council at Kimberley United Church, Kimberley BC, Ocotber 19, 2012 7:30pm.

Jazz concerts used to be a rare event in this area but thanks to the activities of The Jazz Council, The Little Jazz Orchestra and The Notables Big Band the sounds of live jazz are becoming more frequent. Thanks to the efforts of the Jazz Council and the Canada Council for the Arts a visit by Karl Schwonick`s Jazz Ensemble during their recent Western Canada mini-tour (Dawson City, Whitehorse, Vancouver Island, Cranbrook and Calgary) added some additional spritely sounds to this area`s jazz palette.

Friday night’s concert was kicked off with a couple of selections by the charming young ladies of The Selkirk Jazz Choir. For those of us old enough to remember they ignited the nostalgia neurons with their rendition of Henry Mancini’s 1969 hit from the movie ‘The Pink Panther’ – you know the one “da dum, da dum, da dum ba dum ba dum” … or something like that. They were accompanied by some deft two finger  piano work by Laurel Ralston. Their second selection was the somewhat un-jazzy, but never-the-less excellent, anthem ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.

The Jazz Council (Laurel Ralston – trumpet and Fleugelhorn; Sven Heyde – drums; Bernie Primbs – baritone sax; Stu Driedger – bass and Geoff Haynes – piano, keyboard) opened their set with Bernie’s love song to his then intended wife, ‘Quieres Casarte Conmigo’. They followed that up with Laurel Ralston’s new composition entitled ‘Broken Drill Bit Blues’. With one of his original compositions entitled ‘Rainy Night Caper’ Joel Kroeker, the former bass player with the band, initiated a Jazz Council tradition of “creepy Jazz”. The current band is more than happy (?) to continue the tradition with an original composition called  ‘On the Prowl’. Fittingly, Sven Heyde provided some really nice brush work on his soft ballad ‘Carrie’. The final tune was Bernie’s funky stomp ‘Everybody Could Use a Minor Funk’ that featured some rollicking organ riffs from Geoff Haynes.

The featured band of the evening was the Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble. And Karl, as described on his website  “…. is a drummer who grew up on a farm near Gwynne, Alberta where he was exposed to countless musical situations ranging from polka to jazz. Fresh out of high school, Schwonik embarked on a tour with 2-time Canadian Country Music Award Nominee Heather-Dawn”. From then on Karl has accumulated an impressive set of credentials including studies at the Banff Centre (the youngest participant in their residency program). He has had a busy touring schedule with over 20 tours as a leader.    His third of four recordings on Chronograph Records, 1+4, was #1 on Canadian jazz radio charts for nearly 2 months. Both 1+4 and Schwonik’s first album, Visions From the Farm, was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for ‘Jazz Recording of the Year’. The list of his accomplishments and involvement with the music scene goes on and on. For this tour he has surrounded himself with a crew of mostly young musicians from near and far.  James Davis on trumpet hails originally from Texas and is a graduate of the North Texas State Jazz Program. He is now a resident of  Chicago. Bryan Qu is a very young (19 years old) tenor sax player from Calgary who is currently studying with Canadian sax giant Mike Murley while going to school in Toronto. Keyboard player Chris Andrew, originally from Campbell River,  also holds down the “oldest guy in the band chair”. Bass player and band van driver Kodi Hutchinson is a well known player on the Calgary scene. In his spare time Kodi is also the President of Chronograph Records.  For the concert Karl moved the band down from the altar area onto the church floor. It was a good move that improved the sight lines for the audience  and help create a more intimate ambience. From the first syncopated hand clap of ‘Off the Shores’ this band served notice that the audience was in for a night of exceptional jazz. This first composition by Karl Schwonik was a rhythmic juggernaut of hand clapping, hand beaten drum kit and percussive effects (including trumpet valve rattles). Nearly all the pieces played during the evening, including “Escape” by Karl were original compositions. James Davis contributed an outstanding anthem entitled “Cotton”  that was dedicated to his dad and a familiar  area of Texas. A tune that must be causing a royalty nightmare is the piece that drew inspiration and melodic motifs from the TV advertisements  for Wetaskiwin car dealers (“cars cost less in Wetaskiwin”)  and Duke Ellinton’s  ‘Take the A Train’. The only two non-original compositions on the program were Thelonious Monk’s ‘Blue Monk’    and Denzil Best’s jazz standard from 1937 called ‘Wee’. This last tune show cased the tenor sax talents of Bryan Qu and was a fitting end to night of jazz by a band that has been described as one of the best bands on the Canadian scene.

The poor light in the Church made it difficult to get really first class photos. Never-the-less here are some images from the evening.

                                 For this great concert thanks should be given to the organizers for their hard work and also to the Canada Council for the Arts that made it possible for the band to do this tour.



LOCALS at 21

LOCALS COFFEE HOUSE, Saturday October 13, 7:30 pm at the Studio / Stage Door in Cranbrook

Time flies when you are having fun and so for over 20 seasons that’s what it has all been about and on this particular Saturday night it was no different. There were some new performers (Stacy Oig from Oliver), seasoned performers (Daze of Grace), expatriates  returning to the area (Ferdy Belland and Erin Dalton), performers trying on new roles (Barry Coulter), young performers (Angus MacDonald and Will Nicholson in LEATHER BRITCHES, and Connor Foote) and old performers who should know better (Rod Wilson). The night kicked off with MC Erin Dalton introducing Stacy Oig. Stacy is a new arrival fresh in from Oliver. “Do you like country?”  – what he served up was country but with a difference. No the usual “whinny, cryin’ and hurting” staples but a series of songs by unfamiliar composers (at least to these ears) such as Jake Owen, Eric Church  and Luke Brian. Stacy was very relaxed, with nice crisp guitar accompaniments and a good stage presence that garnered an immediate response from the audience. Local seasoned performers Daze of Grace, that included visual artist, vocalist and guitarist Sharon Routley,  and Jubal Routley on guitar were joined by Rod Wilson on percussion. As I was part of the performing group I can’t really comment on how we went down. I was too busy trying to remember what drum comes next.  Barry “Zimmerman” Coulter is a man of many talents and each time he steps on stage it is a revelation. Whether it is as an actor, jazz guitarist with the NOTABLES, on amplified dulcimer or, in this instance, as a 12 string guitarist / harmonica playing vocalist. Barry was sporting his latest prize – an Ovation 12 String guitar he picked up in a second hand store at a steal of a price. His performance was a “rootsy” take on “No Money Down”, “Motherless Child” and the Bob Dylan masterpiece “Every Grain of Sand“. Rumour has it that Barry is working on his blues  piano chops so maybe some time in the future we will get to see and hear the “Dr John“ side of his musical persona. After the intermission young Connor Foote came on stage to bring to life the musical characteristics of  Bob Dylan and John Prine. Connor has not been performing long but he has the essence of both of these performers absolutely nailed down.  He also did Hank William`s “Never get out of this World Alive“, and a couple of his own originals including the one with the classic intro line “I met my wife at a family re-union“. Ferdy Belland and his wife Erin have returned to the Kootenays after a nine year sojourn in Vancouver. Ferdy plays bass and in Vancouver played in a million bands. Erin returned to Cranbrook to take over LOTUS BOOKS, Ferdy to once again enliven the local music scene. During their stay in Vancouver Erin acquired probably one of the prettiest hand made guitars we are ever likely to see. It was this  magnificent guitar that Ferdy got to play on Tom Van Zandt`s “Pancho and Lefty“ and John Prine`s “Hello in There“. I was so mesmerised by the sound of this magnificent instrument that I forgot to take photos of Ferdy`s fine performance.  The last performers of the evening were LEATHER BRITCHES, featured Angus MacDonald on fiddle and Mandolin, Will Nicholson on Irish rhythm guitar and myself, Rod Wilson, on Irish Bouzouki and Cittern. The intention was to bring the evening to close with some foot stomping down-East fiddle tunes that included The Creature Set, The Cheap wine Set and The Battle March Medley. They finished the evening with Angus switching to mandolin and Rod to Cittern for “Bonnie Ciara“ (a plagarised version of the old Scottish tune “The Bonnie Dundee“) and the Irish session tune “The Blarney Pilgrim“.

I am sure the performers and the audience would like to thank the many, many volunteers that make LOCALS COFFEE HOUSE series such a success. A special thanks to Mark Casey on sound and Jon Bisset for his deft stage management .


Brahms to the Blues

From Saturday to Saturday (Sept 29 to October 6, 2012) there was wall to wall entertainment in the Key City (Cranbrook). The week kicked off with the La Cafamore String Quartet and Nicola Everton at the Knox Presbyterian Church with a sampling of very modern string music and a thick slice of the past with a Brahms Clarinet Quintet.  On the Sunday at the Key City Theatre the Go Go Grannies hosted a benefit concert for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The opening act featured the rambunctious music of “The Good Ol’ Goats”  followed by the classical harp and vocal music of Bronn and Katherine Journey. See the previous posts in this blog for reviews of those events. 


HEATHER G’s JAM, Wednesday October 3, 2012, 7pm at Ric’s Lounge in the Prestige Hotel in Cranbrook. Some of us musicians remember the heady days of a little while back when KAMP (Kootenay Association of Musical Performers) run regular Friday night sessions at Ali Barba’s Lounge in the Finnegans Wake Pub. Unfortunately the pub closed down and the sessions came to an end. They were great times with lots of great music. So much so that Heather Gemmell and Brian Noer decided to try and rekindle the flame by approaching the management of Ric’s Lounge for a trial Jam session.  Without any reservations the night was declared a great success. Lots of the former KAMP musicians showed up and there was good audience response. Heather kicked off the evening  with John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” and Rod Wilson chiming in on Irish Whistle. Other performers during the evening where SHEVA (Shelagh and Van Redecopp), JOSHUA BURNING (Garnet Waite and Keith Larsen) with their new bass player John Gerlitz. Their particular set served notice that this new configuration of the roots/country band is destined to make a significant mark on the the local scene.  Also on stage were Tom Bungay, Dave Prinn, Mark Casey, Jim Marshall and lots of percussion and mixing and matching of the various musicians in the room. Keith Larsen on mandolin and guitar really ignited Dave Prinn’s performance (not that it needed igniting) with some blazing solos and accompaniments. If there is any justice in the world there will be more sessions at Ric’s in the near future. In fact the next session has been scheduled for Friday November 9, 2012. There is nothing like real live music in great casual surroundings. Ric’s lounge definitely qualifies on all levels and for this we must thank Ric’s Operation Manager Rheanne Groumoutis  for the venue and Heather Gemmell and Brian Noer for pulling it all together. Here are some images from a great night of music:



Friday October 5, 2012, 7pm at Ric’s Lounge in the Prestige Inn in Cranbrook.
Despite the acknowledged fact that Jazz is not the most popular music of this decade The Jazz Council continues to thrive. The original configuration of the band; Laurel Ralston (Trumpet & Fluegelhorn), Sven Heyde (drums), Bernie Primbs (baritone sax), Tim Plait (keyboards) and Joel Kroeker (bass) have probably played over 30 engagements in just over a year. There are not too many, if any, local bands that can boast that sort of activity. Unfortunately, Tim has relocated to Germany to further his studies and Joel has taken up a teaching position in Sparwood. But as, they say, “it ain’t over till’ it’s over” The Jazz Council will continue to thrive with two new replacement musicians; Geoff Haynes on keyboards and Stu Driedger on bass. Geoff is from Edmonton and he will be taking on  a number of musical tasks vacated by the Tim Plait. Stu Driedger is a local Cranbrook youth who has been away to study and is now back on the local scene. This particular gig was a kind of shake down cruise for the new musicians. An opportunity to run the changes on some familiar standards and jazz tunes before taking on the original material and projects that I am sure are in the works. Geoff and Stu had an opportunity to explore the standard piano jazz trio with “Darn That Dream” as well as such small combo staples as, “Fly me to the Moon”, “You Can’t Take that away from Me”, “It might as well be Spring” “Summertime”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square” “Harlem Nocturne”, “If I had a Bell”, “Night Train” and at least one Miles Davis Tune. For this civilized night of music, food and refreshment the musicians and the patrons need to thank the new Patron Saint of Live Music in Cranbrook, Ric’s Operation Manager Rheanne Groumoutis. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rheanne.



BILLY MANZIK AND LISA EDBERG: Friendz Now Pub, Cranbrook, Saturday October 6, 2012 9pm. Well this was a surprise and a very pleasant one at that. Who are these guys? Sorry Lisa, you are definitely not a guy. Where did they come from? How come we have not heard of them? These are two very talented musicians who currently reside in Santa Cruz, California. Billy Manzik is originally from from Thunder Bay, Ontario and plays guitars and sings. Lisa Edberg plays outstanding upright bass and is originally from Colorado. They are part of that musical underground of very talented people who seem to just kick around gypsy style, covering thousands of kilometers going from gig to gig. They may play for a dozen people or 15,000, depending on circumstance. Their music is a blues/country/roots mix  best meant for a “foot stompin’ good time”.  Although there are a few original songs in the mix most of their material consists of “covers”. That can be taken as a unkind compliment but it isn’t really. There is way more to it than that. Rather, they take material, remold it and come up with interpretations that are definitely their own personal vehicles of expression. They work extremely well together. Billy sings lead with some exceptionally authoritative finger picking / flat pick guitar with some nice clean dobro slide thrown in for good measure. Lisa excels on her 1957 Epiphone upright bass, plays guitar and sings mostly back vocals. She plays her bass in a “slap” style that is not too often seen around here. The end results are great bass lines punctuated with a percussive attack that drives the rhythm into that “foot stompin'” mode. On Saturday night they”stomped” their way though Neil Young’s “Helpless”, J.J.Cale’s “The Breeze“, and on down “Highway 61“, checked in on a  “Brown Eyed Handsome Man“, “Corrina”, “Who Do You Love”, “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor“, and for good measure they threw in a Van Halen Song. That is only a sampling of what when down during two sets of fine rootsy music. I hope they are back this way some time and maybe a few more Cranbrook residents will get to savoir their talents.

And that was the week that was.


Grannies and Goats

THE GO GO GRANNIES BENEFIT CONCERT, Key City Theatre, September 30, 2pm. Featuring harpist Bronn Journey and vocalist Katherine Journey. The opening act – Good Ol’ Goats. Proceeds from the concert go to The Stephen Lewis Foundation.

First of all, the Go Go Grannies are  a local chapter of the Canada wide Grandmothers to Grandmothers organization which is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The Go Go Grannies raise money to help grandmothers in Africa who are raising their grand children because their parents have died of HIV Aids. The Go Go Grannies have members from Wasa, Cranbrook and Kimberley and meet once a month at the College of the Rockies. For more information contact Muriel Steidl at msteidl@shaw.ca .

The opening act, fresh from their CD release concert of September 15th 2012 at the Studio / Stage Door, were the Good Ol’ Goats. This is a well known local folk band that has had enormous success over the past few months. This group of young musicians include singer / song writer Nolan Ackert (banjo and guitar) Julian Bueckert (drums), Angus Leidtke (vocals, banjo and guitar) Angus MacDonald (vocals, Fiddle and mandolin) Theo Moore (vocals and bass) and Joelle Winkell (vocals, percussion, guitar, autoharp and mandolin). This normally exuberant band kick off the afternoon concert with the rather subdued opening of  “In the Garden” – a mellow tune that belied it’s somewhat macabre content. They moved on through a number of their, by now, well known songs from their recent CD release that included “Not the Same“, “Sailor’s Love Song“, “Kiss the Cactus”, and, of course, the title track, “The Train”


Now fresh from a muddy Welsh rugby field here is Bronn Journey with his violent electric blue harp.

The idea of a Harp and Voice concert normally brings up the vision of cherubs floating around the ceiling of a cathedral. Bronn does his best to dispel that image. Being a rugged, large muscular man he is as far from a cherub as you could image. As the Harp is a national instrument of Wales Bronn insists that the harp is the instrument of choice for Welsh rugby players and by extension should be the instrument of choice for Canadian hockey players. Be that as it may, Bronn went onto perform the music of angels on this spectacular harp. He opened with some “cutting edge Lawrence Welk music” (his words) with a rendition of the atmospheric “Ebb Tide”. Throughout the afternoon, with a great deal of panache, humour and virtuosity  he delivered a wide variety of tunes that included “Autumn Leaves”, “Chariots of fire”, Bach’s “Jesu Man’s Desire”, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy“, the Willie Nelson/Patsy Cline tune “Crazy”, some Welsh hymns  and many others. In between sets of tunes Bronn managed a short entertaining dissertation on the mechanics of the harp. From time to time he was joined by his wife Katherine for vocal selections that included songs from The Sound of Music (“My Favourite Things”). Their finale was Josh Groban’s “Climb Every Mountain”.



“Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River”



Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River

at the Studio / Stage Door

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

October 4, 5, 6th, 2012

Tickets are $15 and are available at Lotus Books

This charming play is about the early years of radio in Canada’s hinterlands.  In 1932, Jane, a 30-something woman pursuing one dream while avoiding several other bad ones, accidently arrives in Pickle River, a far-flung mining town in northern Ontario. There she meets Roy, a young entrepreneur who is launching a fledgling radio station just as the medium is beginning to take the country by storm. In Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River, two talented actors portray six characters to create a magical staging of the people and places of Pickle River, Ontario. Local Director Tanya Laing Gahr has assembled a stellar cast, starring Lisa Aasebo and David Popoff.

Here are some images from the full dress rehearsal:                                                            This is such a fun play that it would be a shame to miss it … be there.






La Cafamore String Quartet with Nicola Everton


La Cafamore String Quartet Fall Tour with Nicola Everton at the Knox Presbyterian Church, Saturday September 29, 2012 , 7:30 pm

The evening program was like a fine meal. There was the pre-dinner snack (Bill Douglas’ CELEBRATION II), the entre (Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op 18 #4), the main course (Brahms’ Quintet for Clarinet and Strings) and for dessert some classic Etta James. All of this offered by some of the Kootenays finest chamber musicians performing in the wonderful setting of Cranbrook’s Knox Presbyterian Church.

With the music’s renewed sense of space, surprise and unusual sonorities I happen to like modern music. And although the name Bill Douglas is unknown to me his composition  Celebration II contained all of the above elements. This Canadian born composer wrote the piece back in 1979 and, although it has not been published, word of mouth recommendations prompted clarinettist Nicola Everton to contact the composer. Most graciously Bill Douglas provided Nicola with his  copy of the manuscript plus detailed instructions on the performance of the  wordless vocal section. I would like to describe the performance in detail but that would be superfluous. You needed to be there to appreciate the clarinet riding over the top of the sustained strings, the wordless vocals in the middle section and the rhythmic tapping of Jeff Faragher’s wedding ring on the body of his cello. I noted that there was a sound engineer recording the performance and I hope that sometime in the near future we will get to hear this performance on CD.

Except for this particular circumstance Beethoven’s music is always much more than an entree. Although, in a historical context, this particular string quartet could be viewed as exactly that – an entree, a harbinger of things to come. At the time Beethoven was reaching back to the music of Mozart and Haydn but was also projecting forward to the music of the Romantic Era. An entree, so to speak, of what was to come. Elements of looking back and looking forward abound in this quartet.

Classical musicians have a real thing about the Romantic Composers and their music. Considering the thrust of their education and professional training this is hardly surprising. Unless they train as specialists in older music music any emphasis on early music is merely preparatory exercises for the real meat of the Romantic Era. Although the world has moved on classical musicians and their audiences are still mining the mother load of the Romantic Music of the 1800’s and early 20th century. Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Dvorak, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn,  etc, and of course, Brahms are staples of the classical repertoire. So it should come as no surprise that a string quartet and a clarinetist would home in on the music of Brahms and, in particular, his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. When describing the piece clarinetist Nicola Everton’s enthusiasm and love of the the composition was very evident and this came though in her performance of the piece. Like any good meal there needed to be a desert and for this concert its came in the encore with a spirited rendition of the classic Etta James tune At Last.

For concert goers who missed the quartet’s previous outing at the Knox Church the performance has been made available on  CD. Can I look forward to a possible release of Saturday night’s concert on a CD in the near future?

This is the third concert of chamber music by the quartet and guests at the Knox Church and it is extraordinary that each concert has been a completely different program. These musicians and their guests are spread around the area, the province and the the USA. Angela Synder flies in from Virginia. To prepare, rehearse and  showcase such diverse programs in such a short time frame is an outstanding tribute to their passion, ability and the quality of their musicianship.

This was a very successful concert for at least 50 patrons in this wonderful venue. Also of note was the number of new members of the Symphony of the Kootenays Board that attended the performance.


 Post Script: The La Cafamore String Quartet will be returning to Cranbrook and the Knox Presbyterian Church for a concert in April 2013. Once again they will be performing a mix of the romantic and the modern. For the romantics they will play F. Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and for the moderns they will play G. Crumb’s Black Angels. Both of these compositions have a musical connection. If I may, here is a quote from the KRONOS QUARTET recording of Black Angels. 

“BLACK ANGELS (1970) Thirteen Images from the Dark Land by George Crumb. ‘Things were turned upside down. There were terrifying things in the air ….. they found their way into Black Angels . – George Crumb, 1990.’ Black Angels is probably the only quartet to have been inspired by the Vietnam War. The work draws from an arsenal of sounds including shouting, chanting, whistling, gongs, maracas, and crystal glasses. The score bears two inscriptions: in tempore belli (in time of war)and Finished on Friday the Thirteenth, March, 1970.”