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February 19, 2004


Musical road show


Members of the School of Music’s Saxaphone Quintet and Brass Quintet.
Photo submitted
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.”


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Next issue: March 4, 2004

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