Traditional music conference - Music in the air
Musicians and academics alike flocked to Memorial's School of Music for the
annual conference of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music (CSTM) in November
2002. The conference brought interested parties together to discuss and perform
traditional music in all its forms.
According to Dr. Peter NarvŠez, CSTM is a unique society because its members
are academics and performers, often both.
“This links the study of tradition with its public enactment in ways
that benefit both groups,”said the MUN folklore professor and musician. “At
times this can lead to some tensions, but these windows on two related worlds
often shed much light.”
Norman Stanfield, based at the University of British Columbia's Music Department
and the current CSTM president, felt that this year's complement of papers were “thought
provoking and exciting, with an especially Canadian outlook.”Topics covered
were diverse, including studies on folk tunes, traditional musicians, music
and popular culture, and ethnochoreography.
The interdisciplinary nature of the CSTM often garners great interest from
those in related disciplines. Dr. Philip Hiscock, Folklore, said, “Much
of my [folklore] research lately has been in the area of song and music though
I was not trained as a musician.”
Of course, the conference provided an opportunity for local students and
faculty to easily attend and participate. Jodi McDavid, a doctoral student in
folklore, gave a paper based on her master's thesis. “I think it is great
that the CSTM was held in St. John's. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to
attend a very exciting event.”
Saturday night featured a jam session at Bitters Pub on campus. The house
band for the evening was headed up by local traditional musicians Graham Wells
and Colin Carrigan, and included an open mike session that encouraged participation
The society's annual general meeting will took place on Sunday. As well as
the feature film titled Mummers and Masks, a film comparing the mummering traditions
in Newfoundland, Ireland and England.
Anita Best was the organizational driving force behind this year's conference.. “It's
really interesting to get a chance to hear about Canadian music. Also, people
who have never been here before had a chance to come and hear our folk musicians
play. It's terrific for them, and it's great for us.”The CSTM conference
was also open to the general public.