Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Music For A Sweater

I have to admit that I listen to classical and operatic music on occasion. From the time I could tune the TV to Looney Tunes as a young'un, the idea of blending classical music with pop culture has always fascinated me because the two seem to be polar opposites of one another. Most classical music that is widely known was written hundreds of years ago while pop culture takes place in the here and now for the most part. The man pictured above, Mr. Alain Trudel, will have the opportunity to blend symphonic music with some popular culture this May in Toronto when he leads the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in telling the story of The Hockey Sweater, written by Roch Carrier.

From the press release received today,
"Published in 1979 and instantly beloved by all, Roch Carrier’s "The Hockey Sweater" is as quintessentially Canadian as the game of hockey itself. Originally published in French, the story, which is often seen as a parable about French and English relations in Canada, became an instant classic of Canadian literature.

"Now, for the first time, “The Hockey Sweater” is being interpreted by a symphony orchestra by Dora award-winning composer Abigail Richardson. The world première of Richardson’s The Hockey Sweater will be hosted by famed Montréal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden and narrated by no other than the author himself, Roch Carrier.

"Part of an all-Canadian programme, the concert also includes André Jutras’ Suite folklorique, John Estacio’s Borealis and Doris Clayman’s Hockey Night in Canada."
How cool is it that former Montreal Canadiens goaltending legend Ken Dryden will be hosting the event, and author Roch Carrier will be narrating the story? This is truly a unique event because of the collaboration of these two iconic figures in bringing this story to life. However, every good story needs a background, and that's where the music comes in.

Composer Abigail Richardson is responsible for the musical background to the story of the The Hockey Sweater. From the release, Miss Richardson "was born in England and moved to Canada at the age of six. Profoundly deaf at the time, and pronounced incurable, the dry climate of Calgary restored her hearing within months. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary and a Masters and Doctorate of Music from the University of Toronto. Richardson won the first Karen Kieser Prize for Canadian Music; the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region award; and top prize in the under-30 category at the prestigious International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. Richardson's opera, Sanctuary Song, presented by Luminato Festival was awarded the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Opera in 2009. Abigail served as Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 2006-2009."

So we have a legend hosting the event, a famous author who wrote the book in question narrating his legendary story, and an up-and-coming composer, who has a pretty impressive resume, writing the music for the story. All in all, this sounds like a pretty impressive event!

So I've sold you. You're going to be in the Greater Toronto Area on May 12, and you want to take in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. How can you attend?

First, I recommend checking out the TSO's information page on the concert. Second, you need to decide on whether you'd like to see the 1:30pm show or the 3:30pm show, and purchase your tickets accordingly. Alternatively, you can call the TSO box office at 416-593-4828 and purchase tickets over the phone. Or, if you're the adventurous type, you can purchase your tickets in living colour at the TSO Customer Service Centre - 212 King Street West, 1st floor - or the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office at 60 Simcoe Street.

Tickets range between $20 and $32, so it's actually an affordable family event! And if you get there early on May 12, there's even a pre-concert performance in the lobby! How cool is it that Ken Dryden, Rich Carrier, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra have teamed up to present The Hockey Sweater, one of Canada's and hockey's most famous stories?

Take the kids down to Roy Thomson Hall on May 12, and let them hear some incredible music while experiencing one of hockey's greatest stories!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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