G. Allan Tucker, A Church Street Dispatch
My wife and I celebrated our first year in St. Marys in August. Originally from London, Ontario, this was our 11th move in 50 years and, now that we’re retired, the choice of St. Marys seems perfect for us. We’ve renamed the former Eaton Carriage House at #104 “Place Du Petit Jaune.”
We find this community and the surrounding area have so much to offer in terms of activities. We are already enjoying meeting new friends for Bridge at the Friendship Centre and the folks at St. Marys United Church make us feel right at home. Congrats as well to the folks who organized the “Downtown Car & Bike Show’ in August. We’re already looking forward to attending the St. Marys Community Players production of “Welfarewell” next month and the Horse Drawn Wagon Rides in December.
We feel that having Stratford as a close neighbour is an added benefit in terms of the Shakespeare Festival, Summer Music and the Symphony, etc. The arts in many genres are a genuine attraction, so we’d like to share our most recent experience.
Knox Presbyterian Church was the venue on a recent Friday night for “A Musical Portrait,” featuring St. Marys’ own Bert Carrière, the new Music Director for the Stratford Symphony Orchestra. His longstanding friend and colleague Barbara Young, the Associate Music Director, joined Bert at the podium. The SSO is now in its eighth season.
We are fortunate to have so many local talented musicians dedicated to entertaining us with such a colourful palette of world-class music. I especially like the horn section, with Principal Andrew Macdonald, and we were most impressed with the soloist Hector Vasquez, as Principal Cello.
Our first SSO program was a delightful mixture of well-known pieces, our favourites being “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens and Gershwin’s “Strike Up The Band.” Bert also introduced us to the music of two outstanding and honoured Canadian composers, Godfrey Ridout and John Weinzweig. Ridout’s’ most famous work, “Fall Fair,” opened the concert as a celebration of all the local Fall Fairs in Perth County. The CBC commissioned this work for performance at the United Nations, New York City, on United Nations Day, Oct. 24, 1961.
Weinzweig is remembered as the “Dean of Canadian Composers.” In keeping with the celebration of life in Perth County, Bert selected Weinzweig’s “The Red Ear Of Corn,” the first Canadian score for a two-act ballet for the National Ballet schedule. Great choices Bert!
All had a fun evening. Local Slow Food Market vendors provided free refreshments following the concert.
It was a real treat for us. As it turns out, Hector will be a featured musician at their next concert on Nov. 10.