Vocal Showcase

Vocal Showcase

This concert at the Knox Presbyterian Church was a great opportunity see and hear what the young performers of the area have to offer. This is possibly the finest small performance venue in the area and one likely to show off their talents to best advantage.  All of these performers have been through the local education system and have come out the graduate end with an unbridled passion for making serious vocal music. Most, if not all, have gone onto post secondary education in music and a number have already obtain their degrees in music. So here they are:412. The entire cast

and this is what they did on this special night in this special place.

Caitlin McCaughey – Caitlin is currently studying opera at the University of Toronto with 104. Catlin McCaugheyDr. Darryl Edwards and during this past summer she attended the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy.  For this concert she performed Quando men vo from Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme. For her second piece she chose Ah! Je Veaux vivre from Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Caitlin plans to pursue a professional career in Opera.

Danielle Nicholson is a lyrical Mezzo-soprano who is 114. Danielle Nicholsoncurrently completing her A.R.C.T. Performance Diploma with the Royal Conservatory of Music  and is planning to begin her BMus in Vocal Performance at either UBC, University of Toronto or McGill.  She chose Must the Winter Come So Soon from Samuel Barber’s Vanessa and Faites-lui-mes aveux  from Charles Gounod’s Faust.

Courtney Green is currently the head teacher 130. Courtney Greenand choreographer at Stages School of Dancing in Golden. Her selections were Breathe from In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leonard Bertein’s Glitter and be Gay from Candide.


Heather Byford. After graduating from Mount Baker 140. Heather ByfordHigh School Heather attended the University of Lethbridge and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Music with a major in Vocal Performance. She has returned to the East Kootenays with the intention of starting her own teaching studio. Heather selected La Mer est plus belle from the music by Claude Debussy and the poem by Paul Verlaine. Her second selection was Cruda Sorte! Gia so per practica from Giachino Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri.

Darren Adams is in his third and final year of the Acting for Stage and Screen Program 150. Darren Adamsat Capilano University in Vancouver. Darren performed Try Me from Jerry Bock’s She Loves Me and Jason Robert Brown’s The Old Red Hills of Home from Parade. He was joined by Courtney Green for a duet performance of Jason Robert Brown’s I’d Give it all to You.

164. Darren and Courtney

Justin Swanson is a third year undergraduate at the McGill University Schulich School 180. Justin Swansonof Music. He has been studying for five years with aspirations of becoming an opera singer. He performed Francesco Paolo Tosti’s Ideale (lyrics by Carmelo Errico). He followed that up with a refreshing performance of the old war horse Mother Machree. He was joined on 202. Danielle and Justinstage by Danielle Nicholson for a duet performance of Come What May from the Baz Luhrmann’s movie Moulin Rouge.

The mezzo-soprano Amanda Weatherall is no stranger to performances in the Knox Presbyterian Church. She is 220. Amanda Weatheralla fourth year vocal performance major at Western University studying under Todd Wieczorek. She has participated in professional development programs offered by the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy and the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera and is looking forward to her first full operatic role, Trisbe, in La Cenerentola. For performance on this evening she chose Charles Gounod’s Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle? and Alma Mahler’s Laue Sommernacht (lyrics by Gustav Falke).

Former Kimberley resident Clara MacLeod is happy to 240. Clara MacLeodback in the area and for her performance this evening she chose A Change in me from Alan Menken’s Beauty and the Beast and How Lovely to be a Woman from Charles Strauss’ Bye Bye Birdie.


Jocelyn Molnar received her Diploma of Music 260. Jocelyn Molnarfrom Capilano University in 2014 and has also received  a significant number of awards and scholarships. For the evening’s performance she chose Frere! Voyez! du gai Soleil from Jules Massenet’s Werther and Ah, Love, but a Day written by Amy Marcy Beach. Amanda Weather and Caitlin McCaughey returned to the stage for a duet performance of Leo Delibes Sous le Dome epais from Lakme. Amanda sang the mezzo-soprano part and Caitlin the soprano part. As always, this was an extremely popular selection. And not be forgotten the accompanists for the evening were Arne Sahlen and Erica Ortlieb (Ross). Arne’s solo performances of We Three Kings and Beethoven’s second movement of the Pathetique were enjoyable instrumental interludes in a night of vocal music.072. Erica and Arne

Here are some more images from the evening’s performances

118. Danielle Nicholson    116. Danielle Nicholson   112. Danielle Nicholson  134. Courtney Green 144. Heather Byford

070. erica Ortlieb (Ross) and Arne Sahlen 184. Justin Swanson  206. Danielle and Justin 160. Darren Adams  224. Amanda Weatherall  050. Elizabeth Ross MC  246. Clara Macleod

This was a wonderful night of music and the organizers should be very happy with the turn out. The venue was full to overflowing.

020. Xmas Candle


Caitlin McCaughey in Recital at the Knox

CAITLIN McCAUGHEY IN RECITAL AT THE KNOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH   Caitlin is one of a number of young Cranbrook performers who take their music very seriously. To prove the point Caitlin presented the following program at the Knox Church on Monday August 17, 2015 at 7pm.

Caitlin's Program

Here are some images of Caitlin and her accompanist Ellen Ortega performing.134. Caitlin McCaughey202. Ellen Ortega    230. Ellen Ortega  242. Ellen Ortega114. Caitlin McCaughey  116. Caitlin McCaughey  120 Caitlin McCaughey244. Ellen Ortega 144. Caitlin McCaughey    146. Caitlin McCaughey142a. Caitlin McCaughey 152. Caitlin McCaughey 250. Ellen Ortega 040. Caitlin's dress@@@@@@@@@@@@

Amanda Weatherall at the Knox

Amanda Weatherall in recital at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook, May 30, 2015, 7pm. This is a benefit performance to raise funds for Amanda’s trip to Italy to study and perform at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera (AEDO).

130. Amanda WeatherallI find it somewhat incredible that there is such a vibrant community of serious vocal musicians in Cranbrook. Evan Buekert’s music program at the Mount Baker High School may have something to do with it and undoubtedly Chuck Bisset and his choir are also part of the equation. But they are only two factors in a community that seems to have a multitude of singers and organizations involved in vocal music. When you consider the size of the community and the distance from major big centers the depth of the local vocal tradition is extraordinary. It is easy to understand why European educators and audiences have been awe struck when our local choirs tour Europe. A comment that was passed around was “….. and all this talent comes from one small community in the Rocky Mountains of Canada? Unbelievable”. Another aspect of the scene is the focus on Opera and foreign languages. How does one explain Amanda Weatherall’s convincing vocal renditions in German and Italian? Amanda is one of several local singers off to Tuscany in the very near future to participate in a vocal music program. To offset the cost of her adventure Amanda displayed her talents in a recital at the Knox Prebyterian Church last Saturday evening. As Amanda explains….

Amanda Program pg2-ed

Aided by Arne Sahlen on piano and fellow vocalist Mary Pickering, Amanda presented the following program…024. Program

Amanda’s and Mary’s  repeat performance of The Flower Duet from Delibes Lakme was outstanding. They switched it around from past performances by trading parts. In the past Amanda sang the Soprano and Mary sang the Mezzo part. This time Amanda sang the Mezzo part (“real woman sing Alto”) and Mary the Soprano part. Between the vocal performances Arne Sahlen played Chopin’s Prelude in Db Major Op.28 #15, “Raindrop”  and Brahms Intermezzo in A Major Op. 118 #2.

It was an evening of elegant ladies, classy piano music and serious vocal music in probably one of the finest Chamber Music spaces in the Kootenays – the Knox Presbyterian Church … great sights, great lights and a great sound. What more could one want? Here are some images from the evening….

106b. Amanda Weatherall  202a. Mary Pickering and Amanda Weatherall322. Arne Sahlen108. Amanda Weatherall  110. Amanda Weatherall  112. Amanda Weatherall346. Arne Sahlen204b. Mary Pickering and Amanda Weatherall  320. Arne Sahlen   114. Amanda Weatherall    210. Mary Pickering and Amanda Weatherall   132. Amanda Weatherall362a. Arne Sahlen344. Arne Sahlen   502. Cute  342a. Arne Sahlen116a. Amanda Weatherall

As I said, a night of elegant ladies and classy music.


Chamber Music at the Knox

Cellar Notes Cranbrook


108. Jeff and Alex

Press Release: The Cellar Notes Duo of Jeff Faragher, cello, and Alex Nichol, double bass will be presenting a musical offering spanning four centuries and six cultures on Saturday, May 16th at Knox Presbyterian Church starting at 7:30 pm. Admission by donation. Together, the cello and the double bass form the foundation upon which the symphony orchestra’s sound is built. Composers have long known that the brilliance of the cello reinforced with the dark, rich timbre of the bass, creates a potent synergy that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Jeff Faragher holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Alberta and a Master 216. Jeff FaragherDegree in Music Performance from McGill University. In between academic years he pursued supplementary studies with such internationally renowned cellists as Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot and YoYo Ma. Jeff was born and raised in Edmonton where he began his musical studies at the age of three. Following his graduation from McGill University Jeff returned to Edmonton where he undertook studies leading to an MB.A., became the head cello instructor for the Edmonton Public School System, as well as serving as Head of the String Department at Grant McEwan College. Jeff is a prodigious talent with an innovative spirit. Rather than a career in a major orchestra, Jeff has chosen a life in the Kootenays where he is free to explore the full range of teaching, coaching, performing and conducting possibilities. These include the position of Music Director of The Symphony of the Kootenays.  Jeff and his family moved to the Nelson area from Edmonton in 2006. On a 3 acre mountainside property overlooking the West Arm of Kootenay Lake where he and his father built the family home, office and Overtone Studios, of which the 50 seat Cedar Hall is the centerpiece. When he is not performing, coaching, teaching and conducting music, Jeff joins his wife in home-schooling 4 of their 5 children and in enjoying outdoor sports, including coaching ski racing.

316. Alex Nichol
Alex Nichol pursued a meandering career path that passed through a Masters degree in European History before being diverted from academic ambitions into the life of a symphony orchestra musician. Over a period of twenty five years Nichol performed with 060a. the bassthe Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra of Manchester, England, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In the course of his stay in England , he purchased the fine, old Italian bass that has been his musical companion for 45 years. In the early ’80’s Nichol’s interest in wine and wine-making led to his writing the first book on the B.C. wine industry entitled Wine and Vines of British Columbia in 1983. Six years later, in 1989 he and his family moved to Naramata in the Okanagan, planted vines, made wine and opened for business as Nichol Vineyard Winery in 1993.With retirement in 2006, Nichol’s focus has returned to music-making. He is currently the Principal Bass of the Symphony of the Kootenays and performs as an extra musician with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.

040. The Program

Obviously the program, mostly transcriptions, focused on the bottom end of the sonic spectrum. After all, it is hard to go any further down into the musical basement  than the double bass. It is a program of miniatures mostly from the early classical repertoire. The only concessions to modernity were the five Magyar dances of Bela Bartok  and Serge Prokofieff’s Fairy Tales. True to the promise of cultural diversity and to spice things up they performed a couple of Tangos by F. Canaro and C.V.G Flores.

114. Jeff and Alex   218. Jeff Faragher302. Alex Nichol


Microsoft Word - LaCafCranbrook-May2015.docx

In my late teens my first encounter with Classical Chamber music was facilitated by  a Sunday afternoon TV show featuring a string quartet probably playing the music of  Beethoven. I was not impressed – I would have rather been down on the beach surfing and, after all, it didn’t sound like any thing I was used to used to at the the time.That was not the end of it of course. Over the years I became more familiar with many different musical styles and eventually developed a taste for Chamber music. In more recent years the La Cafamore Ensemble from Nelson has expanded my chamber music universe with their always innovative programs at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook. Over the past half dozen years the ensemble has taken to the stage in various configurations including String Quartet, Trios, Quintets and at times augmented with pre-recorded tape tracks, sound effects and percussion. We have been treated to some extraordinary music, including George Crumb’s Black Angels and Steve Reich’s Different Trains. This was  in addition to the more standard items in the classical repertoire. This most recent performance had Carolyn Cameron on piano, Angela Snyder on violin and Alexis Moore on viola. The program featured compositions by female composers from the early to the late Romantic era. As usual for a La Cafamore concert there was some unknown musical gems. The English composer Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) composition Dumka written in 1941 included elements of mid-twentieth century music and European folk styles. Amy Cheney Beach (1867-1946), an American musician by birth and by style wrote Trio Op.11 in a late Romantic style with very distinctive and unmistakable American elements. The last composition of the evening was by the better known Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847). It was the four part Trio Op.11.

Here are some images from the concert:

533a. La Cafamore200. Angela and Carolyn   302. Angela Snyder     232. Carolyn Cameron    410a. Alexis More 314b. Angela Snyder_edited-1416b. Alexis More_edited-1                  100. Dumka   234c. Carolyn Cameron_edited-1424d. Alexis More212a. Carolyn Cameron080. Embroidery


Here is a special YouTube treat of a student performance of Rebecca Clarke’s Dumka

and for your listening pleasure – Amy Beach: Variations on Balkan Themes, op. 60 (Virginia Eskin, pianist).


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.”