MUSIC IN MOTION Rocks the Audience at the Glendon Musical Ensemble’s Main Show of the Year
A full house at the March 4th opening night was bursting with anticipation as the Glendon Musical Ensemble (GME) presented its main show of the year, Music in Motion – Songs from the Silver Screen. And they were not disappointed, as twenty pieces, opening with the 1921 song, “The Kid”, and closing with “Circle of Life” from The Lion King encompassed close to a century of music from the movies, performed by vocalists and instrumentalists of the group.
There were many innovative ideas implemented in the production, which ran for three consecutive evenings. Each musical rendition was accompanied by a video screening of images from the movies from which it originated, or by other relevant video sequences. Obviously, a huge amount of work had gone into finding or producing the visuals, which greatly enhanced the audience experience.
Changes from one piece of music to the next occurred in the background, while other members of the Ensemble recited poetry, sang songs, or told a story relating to the period they were exploring. Among these, a wonderful recital of a Jacques Prévert poem by GME member Bahia Moussouni, a reading of a segment of Alfred de Vigny’s “Paris”, a presentation of Robert Penn Warren’s “True Love”, and a number of amusing skits written by Kevin Friedberg of ITS Glendon, and students Nadia Ouellet and Marijke Vander Klok, which ensured the smooth flow of the performance and complemented the messages of the musical pieces.
An instrumental piece by members of the GME
Charlie Chaplin’s antics in The Little Tramp, Mrs. Robinson’s song from the 1960s classic, The Graduate, “The Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet movie of the same title, and Louis Armstrong’s and Ella Fitzgerald’s famous “What a Wonderful World” from Good Morning, Vietnam had the audience rocking and clapping.
A memorable rendition of “Les Champs Élysées”, by Glendon grad and ITS staff member Luc Mallet, “Belleville rendez-vous” from Les triplettes de Belleville, delightfully performed by Ashley Boyce, and such all-time classics as “Singing in the Rain” and “As Time Goes By” built audience response as the evening drew to a close, with Elton John’s composition, “Circle of Life” from The Lion King uniting all the singers and players in a dramatic finale.
Left: Singers don beards for a performance of "Man of Constant Sorrow"
The production stands out in its dedication to bilingualism, both in the texts and in the musical renditions, underlining Glendon’s vibrant bilingual reality. Its success was the result of many weeks of hard work by the participants in the music, as well as those behind the scenes creating the technical aspects and the visuals. “It is very moving and motivating to see these young people put so much effort into this production”, commented Glendon Coordinator of Artistic and Cultural Affairs, Martine Rheault.
Glendon media technologist Duncan Appleton and the Glendon Gallery’s assistant technical coordinator Mat Kensett managed all the technology, sound and lighting with admirable professionalism. Players in the production included many Glendon students, as well as staff members and alumni – among them Glendon graduate and former staff member Guy Larocque, who came all the way from Ottawa to sing and play on a number of unusual string instruments.
Guy Larocque sings "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III
Co-directors of the GME, students Kerrie Boyle and Charlotte Petrie who also shared the podium in conducting, deserve much praise for their dedication, wise choices and energy in uniting this group into a true performing troupe with a clear vision and cohesive mandate. “This year’s Glendon Musical Ensemble respresents over 30 singers and instrumentalists composed of students, faculty and alumni, who share a common passion for music”, explained the two directors. “Each year the programs focus on different periods and aspects of our musical heritage.”
Right: The technical experts: l-r, Duncan Appleton and Mat Kensett
The GME’s particular challenge is that as participants move through their Glendon years, the group has to transform itself along with the changes in new members and those leaving, and the skills they bring or take away. In addition to their main production, the group participates in a number of other Glendon events, such as singing in the Remembrance Day ceremony and at recruitment events, performing several holiday concerts in December in Glendon’s dining hall, and Christmas caroling in the campus’ neighbourhood.
More about the Glendon Musical Ensemble
The GME was formed in 1999 with the support of Glendon’s Office of Student Services, Artistic and Cultural Affairs. It consists of dedicated amateur singers and instrumentalists drawn from Glendon’s community of students, staff, professors, alumni and friends. Created on the initiative of a group of students, the GME seeks to foster and encourage the study of music, and educate members of the community about the timeless beauty of some of the world's most important musical heritage. The Ensemble consists of vocal and instrumental sections, the latter featuring a blend of modern and period instruments. Concerts and performances are made possible thanks to the continued patronage of the Office of Student Services, Artistic and Cultural Affairs. This year, following a favourable student referendum in 2009, the GME has also received its first, much appreciated, direct subsidies from Glendon students.
The Glendon Musical Ensemble
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny