Members of the School of Music’s Saxaphone Quintet
and Brass Quintet.
By Kristine Hamlyn
An integral part of the only university in the province,
Memorial’s School of Music recognizes a strong obligation
to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador. Among the
ways that obligation is fulfilled is through province-wide
tours by faculty and students.
The director of Memorial’s School of Music, Dr. Tom
Gordon, is especially proud of the tours.
“There are numerous motivations for us to do these
every year,” he said. “It is very rewarding
to get out around the province and share what we are doing.”
Dr. Gordon explained that it is part of a musician’s
training to deliver concerts in unfamiliar places and to
have the opportunity to repeat performances for audiences
of different ages and interests. And, part of being a musician
is to offer that touring experience to others.
Recruitment is another reason for the musical tours. Dr.
Gordon said that after every great show there is almost
always interest from prospective students who want to come
back and be a part of what the music school is doing. And
touring offers the opportunity to learn from the people
the students perform for and with. The meeting of Memorial’s
percussion ensemble, The Scruncheons and the Nain Drum Dancers
group is an excellent example of such learning.
“Our students learned how to do Inuit drumming and
drum dancing and the others learned how to make instruments
in the style of The Scruncheons. Together they had a fantastic
time,” said Dr. Gordon.
Since the fall, MUN ensembles, like the Wreckhouse Winds,
have embarked on tours across the province’s network
of Arts and Culture Centres. The Scruncheons were guest
artists at this year’s Labrador Creative Arts Festival
and the Opera Road Show made the trek to schools on the
Bonavista peninsula for a tour that included six performances
of The Three Little Pigs using the music of Mozart.
Dr. Gordon is especially proud of the personal interaction
aspect of the tours. He says it is very rare for Memorial
students to give just a concert and leave. “Most of
the time when we go on tour we make it a point to visit
the schools personally. We have clinics and classes with
younger musicians and/or community musicians,” explained
Dr. Gordon. “It’s the whole package, our chance
to engage with musicians in the community.”
Memorial’s School of Music students also have several
events still pending: the concert band and chamber choir
will travel to central Newfoundland during mid-term break,
while the Saxaphone Quintet and Brass Quintet have planned
a complete provincial tour starting the last day of exams.
Memorial’s String Quartet has plans to travel out-of-province
to Toronto. “It is our obligation as the School of
Music in the province’s only university,” said
Dr. Gordon. “But it is also our privilege to share
our musical talent and richness of our culture.”