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Last Night of the Proms at Timothy Eaton

On Sunday, I sang with the Northdale Concert Band, the Grace Church-on-the-Hill Choir, the Christ Church Deer Park Choir, and the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Choir, at their Last Night of the Proms.

It was a lot of fun!

Here is a video from the TEMC's facebook page:

Adagio Music Festival 2018

May and June are always super busy because of all of the auditions, examinations, competitions and performances.

On Saturday, I performed at the Adagio Music Festival. It's a very small festival and I have been doing it on and off for years. They have pictures of me from 2011 and 2012 in their gallery.

Here is one of the pieces I did at the festival - Sonatina for Piano, 3rd Movement (1959) by Aram Khatchaturian.

The last time I did the festival was in 2015 when I played "Two Gossiping Old Women" by Aram Khatchaturian.... I guess I really like Khatchaturian.



Practicing music keeps me inside a lot. I decided to join the Toronto Orienteering Club, so I have a regular way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine (or rain) in the warmer months.

I did my first workshop with them to learn map reading and compass skills.

I had an audition just before I went Orienteering, and because of the time, I had to make a decision of getting something to eat or going somewhere to change my clothes. I was hungry, so I ended up a bit overdressed for the workshop. I did change my shoes though.

Here are a couple pictures of me at G. Ross Lord Park.

Thanks for coming with me, Dad!

My Service Playing Exam

On May 22nd, I did my Service Playing Exam through the Royal Canadian College of Organists. It was my first exam with them.
I attended a Hymn Playing Workshop with Thomas Fitches in preparation for the exam and I think it really helped.

My exam was at St. Clement's Anglican Church and I was allowed some practice time before.

Here are a few pictures from inside the church.

The RCCO exam was different from RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) exams.
The RCCO examiner was behind a screen, so I wasn't able to see him or her and the examiner never spoke directly to me. Someone meets you before the exam and takes you to the organ and he was the person who gave me the sight reading and told me which hymn I would be playing.

I also didn't need to provide copies of my music for the examiner. I guess the examiner might see my name on the music if I had to provide copies.

Here are some videos of some of the pieces I prepared for the exam.

(Processional for a wedding)

God Be In My Head

God In My Eternity

I chose "Lord Jesus Think On Me" for the hymn that I would definitely play and this is the one I worked on at the workshop.

Lord Jesus Think On Me

The hymn that the examiner selected was "Forth In Thy Name O Christ We Go"
I accidentally hit an extra note at the end of this video, but that didn't happen in the exam.

Forth In Thy Name O Christ We Go

Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea) was on the list of hymns that we could play. I had no idea that this was my Grandma's favourite. My Mom didn't tell me until after the exam as she didn't want to influence my choice of hymns. She also didn't want me to get emotional considering how much this piece meant to Grandma.

Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea)

Most of these videos are 'unlisted' on youtube and are a special treat here for people who read my blog.

I am still waiting for my results. I'm hoping I did well.


My Recital at St. James

I did my second ever solo recital earlier this month. It was on May 8th at the Cathedral Church of St. James.
It wasn't as nerve-racking as the first time.

Normally when I do concerts or rehearsals, my parents record some of it, but this time, they sat and enjoyed it.

We arranged with Philip Elliot to do an audio recording of the concert for us.
I'm so happy that we could get such a wonderful recording!

My program included:
  • Rigaudon by Andre Campra (166 - 1744)
  • Trio in C Minor, BWV 585 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
  • Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 533 by J. S. Bach
  • Fantasia in C Minor, BWV 562 by J. S. Bach
  • Sonata de 1o Tono by Jose Lidon (1748 - 1827)
  • Folk Tune by Percy Whitlock (1903 - 1946)
  • Choral Song by Samuel Wesley (1810 - 1876)
  • Berceuse by Louis Vierne (1870 - 1937)
  • Gaelic Fantasy by Hans-Andre Stamm (b. 1958)

I finally had time to sit down and listen to the performance.

It is very different listening to the concert and comparing it to how I experienced it while playing. The Rigaudon and the Bach pieces all went really well. I stumbled in the Sonata; the stumble was only about a split second, but it seemed so much longer while playing. I approached the Gaelic Fantasy a little too fast..It would have sounded better if I had just gone a little slower. Everything else was good. :-)

I uploaded a few of the pieces from the concert to SoundCloud
Rigaudon by Andre Campra

Fantasia in C Minor by J. S. Bach

Choral Song by Samuel Wesley

Lots of homeschoolers came out to listen. Thank you so much for coming, it was great having so much support from other homeschoolers! I really hope you all enjoyed it!

me with Robert Busiakiewicz (left) and Ian Sadler (right)

A special thank you to my teacher - Ian Sadler,  Robert Busiakiewicz - the Director of Music at St. James, and to Philip for recording the concert. :-)

Hymn Accompaniment Workshop with Tom Fitches

May has been a very exciting month for me. I have so much to blog about! I'll split them up into a series of blog posts so it's not one huge, rambling piece.

On May 5th, the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Toronto Chapter) had a workshop about how to play hymns. Thomas Fitches led the workshop at St. Clement's Church.

The description of the workshop said:

 I had my first RCCO exam coming up - The Service Playing exam and, of course, I went.

Playing a hymn is different from doing a piece for a recital.
  • You have to think about where the congregation will breathe when they are singing. 
  • You need to think about the introduction - The congregants need to know when to sing
  • Rhythm is important - it needs to be steady or the people singing might get confused
  • The tempo needs to be at a speed where the congregation can sing a line in one breath
  • You have to think about the meaning of the words and this should be reflected in your choice of registration. 

At the hymn playing workshop we worked on all of these and more!

Here was the first time I played through the hymn, Lord Jesus Think on Me (Southwell)

I needed to play just a bit faster, and I needed to extend the introduction so that the last notes I'd play would be in the same key that the congregation would sing.

Here is how it sounded after and with people singing.

It is so different going from practicing alone to playing with people singing. I don't usually play for a congregation, so this was really good for me.

I think it is really helpful that the RCCO offers this kind of workshop and it's free!
Tom even brought tim-bits, pastries and coffee to share!

Thank you so much Tom, and thank you to the RCCO for putting on the workshop!


Next Week's Recital

On Tuesday, May 8th at 1pm, I'll be doing a recital at St. James' Cathedral. :-) 

I chose all of the pieces for this recital and I've put together a nice selection of Baroque, Romantic and Modern pieces.

I look forward to seeing you there!