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2018/04/17

My Grade 9 Piano RCM Exam

This weekend we had a horrible ice storm but I recorded my Grade 9 Piano Royal Conservatory Examination pieces. What you can't see is that I spent lots of time shovelling the snow/ice mix outside and we have a blower drying the basement downstairs from the flooding. 

My exam was last week, on a much nicer day than what we had this weekend. 
In the exam, I made a mistake with one of my scales. I started playing the harmonic scale instead of the melodic, but I switched when I noticed. And I fumbled in one of my Etudes... I continued playing but I stopped playing the left hand for a short while while I recovered from the fumble. I hope they don't mark me down too hard for that. 

My sight reading went really well, and everything else seemed fine. 

Here are the pieces that I did:

Etudes


Repertoire
List A (Baroque)

List B (Classical)

List C (Romantic)

List D (Modern)

2018/03/18

RCCO Toronto's Bach Walk 2018



I love orchestra, but I also like having Saturdays free. Yesterday was the 4th Annual Toronto Bach Walk celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach's 333rd Birthday and because I had the day off, I was able to go! 

We went to a series of churches and listened as people performed Bach compositions.

Church of the Redeemer at 1pm
Trinity College Chapel at 2pm
St. Thomas' Anglican Church at 3pm

The program is designed so you can easily walk from one church to the next. 
It's cool being able to get up and switch locations in the middle of a performance! 

~~~~~



At Church of the Redeemer, Daniel Norman played:
Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582


~~~~~




At Trinity College Chapel, John Tuttle played:
Prelude and Fugue in E minor (The "Wedge") BWV 548

and John Tuttle was joined by The Rev'd Andrea Budgey on Recorder for:
Sonata in F major, BWV 1035
Adagio ma non tanto
Allegro
Siciliano
Allegro assai


~~~~~



At St. Thomas' Anglican Church Elizabeth Anderson played:
Chorale Prelude: ' An Wasserflussen Babylon'  BQV 653b (a 2 Clav. e Pedale doppio)
Chorale Prelude: 'Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf', BWV 617
Chorale Prelude: 'Liebster Jesu', BWV 731
Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 546


Dad came along with me for this event even though he isn't the biggest fan of Bach. I was able to bribe him with the Birthday cake they have at the end.
I just love the music, the performances and the churches!

Thanks so much for the wonderful music!

2018/03/17

Mackenzie House on Pi Day - Eaton's Goes to War

On Pi Day, we usually do something Pi/Pie related or go to the Science Centre. But, this year, Pi Day is smack in the middle of March Break and that means the Science Centre would be packed. So, instead, we decided to head downtown and visit one of our favourite museums.

We finally got to see the exhibit  "Eaton's Goes to War: Family, Memory and Meaning" at Mackenzie House. It is about the people who went to fight in the First World War who worked at Eaton's Department Store.

I was at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church for Remembrance Day last year and they did a wonderful service with beautiful music paying special tribute to the members there who served in both of the World Wars. (The whole service is available online at https://www.temc.ca/sermon/decisions-nightfall.) It got me wondering about the people who served and so, I really wanted to see this exhibition.


I didn't expect to see something about someone younger than me going to war. He was 13, working at Eaton's and he enlisted in the army along with his older brother, Fred.
picture from Archives of Ontario's site http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/images/soldier/I0073097.jpg
Both brothers lied about their ages to enlist, but when they were in England, Fred told the army about Stanley's age and he was discharged. 

picture from Archives of Ontario's site http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/images/soldier/I0073098.jpg
 Fred Gledhill received a Distinguished Conduct Medal, and became the youngest Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army. 


One thing that is special about this exhibit is that it looks at how these men who served are remembered by their families and what happened after. 




I always hear stories about my Grandfather (Mom's Dad) and my Great Grandfather and Great Uncle (Dad's Grandfather and grand-uncle) and I know that being in the army in World War II was a part of their lives, but they were so much more. 





Eaton's Goes to War is on at Mackenzie House until April 30th this year. 




Ryerson Interior Design Students also have an exhibit up at Mackenzie House. 

Can you see the silhouettes of Mackenzie and his daughters?





There is also a display of objects made from human hair.







And of course, we spent some time in the Print Shop. 




Thanks to Alex and Jared for the wonderful afternoon!
And a special thank you for having the well thought out exhibit on Eaton's Goes to War. You always have such great exhibits!

RCCO Masterclass with William Porter

Since it was March Break, I had my entire Saturday free. My orchestra just had our concert and so we have a couple Saturdays off. 

I was able to go to William Porter's Masterclass hosted by the RCCO (the Royal Canadian College of Organists) on March 10 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at King & Simcoe. 

It was my first time watching a Masterclass and it's quite different from a regular class as there is an audience. William Porter is a world-renowned performer and he is well known for his improvisations.

The participants in this Masterclass were, Manuel Piazza, Stefani Bedin, Zoe Lei and Martin Jongsma.

I got to the Masterclass early, so I was able to sit up front.

First we heard Manuel Piazza play the Bach Prelude in B Minor, BWV 544. Manuel is the Organ Scholar at St. James' Cathedral and Manuel played for the choir that I sang with in Chichester & Winchester in the UK over the New Year hoilday.

William Porter taught Manuel to slowly release the keys for certain chords so that it would be a more gentle release.  He also had some feedback about the text. He commented that on the original manuscripts from the earlier years Bach was less strict about notation, but later on, he became more precise. Sometimes publishers or editors may have added things. William Porter noted that you need to understand the piece instead of entirely relying on the notation.

Next we heard Stefani Bedin play Bach's Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 676.

(I believe Stefani's teacher is Kevin Komisaruk. Kevin played clavichord for my Grandma at her hospital bedside just a few days before she passed away. She was really comforted by his playing.)

William suggested that Stefani use some alternate fingering that would make it less tiring to play. He also had some feedback about the text and the consistency of certain elements like trills at choral entries.


We then heard Zoe Lei play Bach's Prelude in E flat Major.

William Porter asked her to focus on the rhythm of the piece. He also looked at the meaning of the phrase, "Pro organo pleno" and how it has changed over the years regarding registration. In Bach's time, it meant principals, mixtures and pedal reeds and then later on it evolved to include the manual reeds. She only needed to make a very simple change by adding the mixtures (stops with multiple ranks of high pitched pipes.)


The last organist we heard was Martin Jongsma. He was improvising a fugue and William Porter gave him feedback on how to improvise a fugue in the German Baroque style.
This was the most interesting part for me as improvisation is totally new to me. For the fugue, he suggested to keeping to 3rds and 6ths for the counter subject, and he also said that you shouldn't start a new voice from the same note but they shouldn't be too far apart from each other. I tried this when I got home, and it's so cool.

Thanks to the RCCO, William Porter and to all of the organists who played!
It was a great morning out!

Sea Kale Germination Experiment - Part 4 (Final Update)

We started an experiment about Sea Kale germination. We wanted to see if it made any difference if we soaked the seeds or if the pericarp (the outer layer) of the seed was removed or cracked. 
We put 2 seeds in each pot, and used 5 pots for each category. 

  • Soaked overnight, Pericarp Removed - Floated 
  • Soaked overnight, Pericarp Removed - Sank
  • Soaked overnight, Pericarp Cracked
  • Soaked overnight, Pericarp Intact (all floated)
  • Not Soaked, Pericarp Removed
  • Not Soaked, Pericarp Cracked
  • Not Soaked, Pericarp Intact


We observed the pots checking for germination daily from Jan 26th through to March 16th.
It has been almost a month since our last seedling emerged (on Feb 22nd) and therefore, we are wrapping up this experiment. 




Sea Kale Experiment Results
Category
Container
Date 1st Sprout Emerged
Date 2nd Sprout Emerged
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Removed, Floated
1
Jan 29 - Seedling was not Sea Kale
-
2
-
-
3
Feb 1
-
4
Jan 28
Jan 29
5
Jan 31
Feb 6
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Removed, Sank
1
-
-
2
Feb 1
-
3
Feb 2
-
4
Feb 1
Feb 4
5
Feb 2
-
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Cracked
1
-
-
2
-
-
3
-
-
4
Feb 9
-
5
Feb 3*
-
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Intact
1
-
-
2
Feb 17
-
3
-
-
4
Feb 9
-
5
Feb 5
-
Not Soaked, Pericarp Removed
1
-
-
2
Feb 8
Feb 9
3
Feb 3
-
4
Feb 3
Feb 22
5
Feb 5
-
Not Soaked, Pericarp Cracked
1
-
-
2
-
-
3
Feb 4*
-
4
Feb 1
Feb 4
5
Feb 1
Feb 6
Not Soaked, Pericarp Intact
1
-
-
2
Feb 17
-
3
-
-
4
-
-
5
-
-


? - Not 100% sure it is a Sea Kale Seedling. Will know for certain when the true leaves emerge.
* The Seedling has emerged, but the pericarp is still over the cotyledons.




Summary of Results:
Category
Germination Rate
Average Number of Days for Germination
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Removed, Floated
5/10
50%
(7+3+4+5+12) ÷ 5
6.2 
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Removed, Sank
5/10
50%
(7+8+7+10+8) ÷ 5
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Cracked
2/10
20%
(15+9) ÷ 2
12 
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Intact
3/10
20%
(23+15+11) ÷ 3
16 
Not Soaked, Pericarp Removed
6/10
60%
 (14+15+9+9+28+11) ÷ 6

14.3 
Not Soaked, Pericarp Cracked
5/10
50%
 (10+7+10+7+12) ÷ 5
9.2
Not Soaked, Pericarp Intact
1/10
10%
(23) ÷ 1

23




General Observations:

When comparing the soaked seeds to the ones which were not soaked. The ones which were not soaked overnight had better germination rates when the pericarp was removed or cracked.

The rates of germination for the pericarp being removed whether they floated or sank when soaked overnight was 50%. For those that were not soaked, the germination rate was 60%, However, due to the small sample size this might not be that much of a difference. 

With the pericarp cracked, the germination rate was lower when it was soaked overnight, 20% compared to the ones which were not soaked at 50%



When the pericarp was left intact, the soaked ones had a higher germination rate of 30% compared to 10% when not soaked. 




Conclusion:
It seems as though the best results for germination is when the pericarp is cracked or removed without soaking overnight.


If you are not going to remove the pericarp, soak the seeds before planting. 

__________________



This is a picture of the Sea Kale seedling which emerged with the pericarp cracked but the pericarp remained over the cotyledons.


We had a slight problem with dampening off for some of the seedlings, (in hindsight we probably should have sterilized our potting mix). We also lost a couple of seedlings when we transplanted them to larger pots. The rest are doing well but a bit leggy.


Here are a couple of pictures our other Sea Kale seedlings.




2018/02/05

Sea Kale Germination Experiment - Part 3

We are 11 days into our experiment and lots of Sea Kale seedlings have emerged!
More than we expected. :-)

The ones that we don't plant in our garden, we will be offering to friends, and to the City of Toronto Museums which have gardens.

Here are some pictures of the seedlings.





Here are the raw results of our Germination Experiment so far:

Sea Kale Experiment Results
Category
Container
Date 1st Sprout Emerged
Date 2nd Sprout Emerged
Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Removed, Floated
1
Jan 29? 

2


3
Feb 1

4
Jan 28?
Jan 29
5
Jan 31

Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Removed, Sank
1


2
Feb 1

3
Feb 2

4
Feb 1
Feb 4
5
Feb 2

Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Cracked
1


2


3


4


5
Feb 3*

Soaked Overnight, Pericarp Intact
1


2


3


4


5
Feb 5

Not Soaked, Pericarp Removed
1


2


3
Feb 3

4
Feb 3

5
Feb 5

Not Soaked, Pericarp Cracked
1


2


3
Feb 4*

4
Feb 1
Feb 4
5
Feb 1?

Not Soaked, Pericarp Intact
1


2


3


4


5



? - Not 100% sure it is a Sea Kale Seedling. Will know for certain when the true leaves emerge.
* The Seedling has emerged, but the pericarp is still over the cotyledons.


The two seedlings in the front of this picture emerged with the pericarp still covering the cotyledons. We won't be 'helping' them off. Hopefully they will come off on their own.

More pictures.