I recently had breakfast with a dear friend. Someone I’ve know for many years. He’s made an incredible career for himself, particularly as a playwright and an actor, with a gorgeous singing voice to boot. At breakfast, I told him how through college, I envied him his talent–he seemed to get involved in so many things. A whole bunch of opportunities seemed to fall in his lap. But as I watched him develop as an artist, I quickly realized that while, yes, he is a gifted performer, he works his ass off. He seeks opportunity. He creates opportunities for himself.… Read More »deanna’s got talent. or not.
As you might know, I am finishing my PhD in Music Education at the University of Toronto. So last week I attended the international conference known as RIME: Research in Music Education in the beautiful University of Exeter in England. This was the view from my bedroom window: Besides the tremendous views, I also got a lot out of the conference itself. Now that I am back in Toronto, I find I am left both excited and troubled about the state of music education world-wide. Excited because I saw many presentations that examined a wide… Read More »Reflections on RIME
So Pete Seeger passed away on Monday at the age of 94. I, like so many millions of people, have been deeply affected and influenced by his music and his commitment to building a more just world through music. I never met him, but I have had the pleasure of singing and teaching his music. I frankly don’t have much to say that could add to the many amazing tributes that have been published, from the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and the CBC, to name just a few. There’s a fantastic documentary on CBC’s program Ideas that lets… Read More »Pete Seeger: The Man of a Million Small, Powerful Actions
This past weekend I attended the Power of the Arts National Forum in Ottawa, hosted by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and Carleton University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Let me first say that there are a surprising number of organizations in Canada working at the intersection of arts and social change. I learned about fantastic projects, like Beautifulcity.ca, which successfully campaigned for a new tax on billboards in Toronto to be streamed into arts funding. Or the research project Pedagogical Impulse, which paired visual artists and 6th grade students to explore ‘Canada and its Trading partners’ in interesting and… Read More »“the power of the arts”
Hey there. So it’s 2013. Where did last year go? 2012 brought so much live music into my life, and I drank it all up like a thirsty man finding water in the desert. I have two young kids, so getting out of the house at all, let alone seeing tons of live music, is nothing short of manna. I went to Hillside Festival in Guelph, and to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, in, well, Edmonton. Got to see Merill Garbus and the incredible tUnE-yArDs (watch this video for a sample of her crazy/raw/fun aesthetic), and I fulfilled a life-long… Read More »looking back, looking forward
At the risk of killing romance, I’m going to be honest: I hate valentine’s day. I buy pre-packaged branded valentine cards for my sons to give to their friends, and my kids will come home this afternoon with bags full of the same kinds of cards that bear not more than a tenuous connection to love. Same for the chocolates and roses we’re supposed to purchase for our lovers this one day: consumerist expressions of love. So I’m a cynic, a valentine scrooge: bah humbug on love, valentine style. But this morning, I’m rethinking the value of a day in… Read More »sing for love
Wow. What an amazing sold-out fundraiser on Saturday night for Echo and by Mariposa in the Schools. In honour of Earth hour, the first half of the concert was performed with lights out. Holy Trinity Church looked beautiful in tiny pools of candlelight stretching all the way back. Just how dark was it? Well, I got to open the show with my colleagues and co-conductors, Becca Whitla and Alan Gasser, singing a just-learned arrangement of the Afro-Cuban “Obbatala” by Glenda del Monte Escalante. You can judge for yourself: Yep. Pretty dark. That darkness brought a huge gift, though: intense listening.… Read More »David and Goliath Fundraiser Rocked the Dark!