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Robbie Burns Performance

Today I did my first ever Robbie Burns Performance. I did 2 Highland Dances.

In both of the dances there were 3 dancers and we were in a kind of a circle with our backs to each other so that everyone in the audience could see. There was a dance floor in the middle of the room.

We danced to cool music from the album "Leap and Rock - Vol. 1" featuring Michael Grey.

The first dance I did was the Pas De Bas. I missed a step but it went OK. The second dance was the Pas De Bas and Springs. That one was good.

At the end of the performance, all of the dancers for all of the different dances took a bow and we got gift bags with chocolates and shortbread cookies.
It was a lot of fun!


My Grade 5 Piano Exam

This morning, I had my grade 5 RCM Piano exam.

Before my exam I felt nervous and I sneezed a lot in the waiting room. I even ran out of tissue!

I did the technical requirements first. I started over one of my scales because I started playing in the wrong key - C# minor instead of C minor. But I noticed and I played it in the right key.

Then I played the studies and the repertoire pieces. In one of the songs, I didn't press down hard enough for the quiet notes and they were too quiet for me.

My clap back was perfect and my intervals were good.  I think I even identified the major and minor 6ths right. My melody play back was perfect! The sight reading was pretty easy too.

I didn't sneeze at all in the exam itself!
I think I did really well.

After my exam Dad took me to lunch at Johnny Rockets on Dundas Street. I love the music that they play. They have a juke box and they play hits mostly from the 1950s. My favourite songs that they played today were Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs and Surfing Safari by the Beach Boys.

Here's a picture of me when I was about to have my orange float.


My Grade 5 Exam Songs

I don't really like taping myself playing but I thought I'd share my Grade 5 exam songs.

I always notice my own mistakes whenever I tape. I get very picky about how loud my left hand is compared to my right, the dynamics, the phrasing, the position of my hands and fingers, and other things.

Mom taped me playing these exam songs in a couple different sittings because I wasn't feeling very well. I don't like it when I have to do an exam when I have a cold. I really hope I don't sneeze while I'm playing.

Study in G Major, Op. 139 by Carl Czerny

Sonatina in F Major - 1st Movement by Ludwig van Beethoven

Fantasia in C Major TWV 33:14 by George Philipp Telemann

In Church, Op. 39, No. 24 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Waltz, Op. 12, No. 2 by Edvard Grieg

In the recordings I noticed that I hesitated a bit in Fantasia and I rushed a little bit in the second part of In Church. I think the others were good.

I know I'm not perfect but with practice I'll get better.


TSO's "Once Upon A Time" - The Performance

Dad and I went to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's "Once Upon A Time" Young People's Concert. I was lucky enough to go to the rehearsal and you can read all about it here.

Each of the songs had something to do with Fairy Tales. We had heros and villains, princesses, magical helpers and fairies.

The PickleShoes dancers were really amazing and the orchestra excellent as usual. The conductor, Rob Kapilow was really energetic and he was really good at getting us involved in the stories.

The whole performance was really exciting!

These are the songs that were performed:

Aaron Copland: Hoe Down from Rodeo
Igor Stravinsky: Russian Dance from Petrouchka
Maurice Ravel: Empress of the Pagodas from Mother Goose Suite
Igor Stravinsky: Infernal Dance of King Katschei from The Firebird
Sergei Prokofiev: Selections from Cinderella
Felix Mendelssohn: Scherzo from An Midsummer Night's Dream
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Trepak from the Nutcracker

My favourite songs from this performance are still Aaron Copland's "Hoe Down" and Felix Mendelssohn's "Scherzo". We got to participate in a lot of the pieces. We clapped, we did hand movements and we used glow sticks.

For A Midsummer Night's Dream, they turned down the lights and our glow sticks turned into fairies!

For more information about the TSO's Young People's Concerts you can check their website at:


TSO's "Once Upon A Time" - The Rehearsal

Today, I had an amazing time at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Josh from the TSO arranged for me to go to the rehearsal for the "Once Upon A Time" Young People's Concert.

The concert itself will be on Saturday, January 18th at 1:30PM and 3:30PM at Roy Thomson Hall.

It's all about Fairy Tales.

Rob Kapilow helps to tell the stories of the fairy tales by conducting the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The dancers from New York's PickleShoes Dance Company help us get lost in the stories.

Saturday's program includes:
Prokofiev: Cinderella 
Ravel: Mother Goose Suite
Copland: "Hoe Down" from Rodeo 
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite
Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream

I got to see Roy Thompson Hall from a different perspective from normal. Mom and I sat up in the choir loft. 

I enjoyed watching how Rob Kapilow would direct the orchestra. They all knew their parts already and they really were just focussing on dynamics and phrasing. I was impressed with the members of the orchestra being able to concentrate on the music and what he was saying even when the dancers were busy behind him.

In the first part of the rehearsal I really loved Aaron Copland's "Hoe Down". It was bright and energetic and the dancers were cowboys who at first were fighting but they became friends. It's different when we have the dancers there because we have everybody imagining the same thing together. 

In the break I got to meet with Rob Kapilow. I've met him before at his "What Makes It Great" Concerts.

We spoke about how rehearsals are different from performances. In a rehearsal you can work on corrections and make it better for the performance.

After the break, we sat in a different spot.

I really liked Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The music was amazing and they did something that I never expected at all. The dancers were using glow-sticks on fishing rods. It's going to be so cool on Saturday! I'm sure of it.

Here are some more pictures from the rehearsal.
Thanks to Josh C. for letting us use some of his pictures. (You can see me and my Mom way up in the Choir loft.)

For more information about the concert you can check out the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's website:


National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker

I had my last Nutcracker performance on Thursday, January 2nd. It was good. Everything went well.

I really wanted to see the whole ballet so I asked my Mom to take me on a different day instead of coming to see me. When we perform and then go to the show we don't get to see the story time and we miss the first half of the show.

On Friday, January 3rd, I got to see the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker with my Mom, my Aunts and most of my cousins! It was a huge group of us. We gave them tickets for Christmas. We were in the 'nosebleed' section so the tickets were more affordable.

We went to the story time before the show. They explained what happens in the ballet and they even told us what the dancers will do and how there will be an intermission.

It was my cousins' first time being to the ballet and I was happy to be there with them.

Nathan Brock conducted the orchestra.

According to the program these were some of the people who danced on Friday.

Peter, a stable boy - McGee Maddox
Marie - Saige Palleske
Misha (Marie's brother) - Gabriel Buell
Baba - Krista Dowson
Uncle Nickolai - James Leja

The Nutcracker - McGee Maddox
Snow Queen and her Icicles - Tanya Howard, Keiichi Hirano and Naoya Ebe
The Sugar Plum Fairy - Elena Lobsanova
Empress Dowager Baba - Krista Dowson
Grand Duke Nickolai - James Leja

A Sheep - Andreea Olteanu
A Fox - Dylan Tedaldi
A Bee - Jenna Savella

Where we were sitting it was hard to see the expressions on the dancers' faces but you could see the stage and you could see the different shapes and patterns that the dancers make. I liked seeing them going from lines to circles and how quickly they were able to get into their formations.

I liked seeing the different families enter the barn and I loved seeing the grandparents dance. I loved seeing the march!

The waltz of the snowflakes was magical. The way the light hit the paper to make it look like snowflakes falling on the dancers with their tiaras was absolutely beautiful.

The Pas De Deux with the Nutcracker and the Sugar Plum Fairy was amazing.

Of course, the music makes all the difference. It wouldn't have been the same without the wonderful orchestra. Even though they rotate the dancers, the orchestra plays for all the shows.

The whole evening was fun and we went out for something to eat afterwards.

One day I'd love to see a ballet with my cousin Nicky who lives in Florida. Hopefully it will happen soon.