Fid­dle tunes in the spotlight as Jenna Cyr pre­pares to launch de­but record­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY CAROLYN DRAKE MU­SIC

Jenna Cyr is set to launch her de­but CD of tra­di­tional fid­dle mu­sic at a spe­cial con­cert on Tues­day, July 21, 7:30 p.m, at the BIS Hall in Char­lot­te­town.

En­ti­tled “Prom­ise”, the CD fea­tures 11 tracks of waltzes, jigs, marches reels and strath­speys and was recorded at the Sound Mill stu­dio by Jon Matthews.

Jenna, who is the 12-year-old daugh­ter of Heather and Paul Cyr of Stratford, is look­ing for­ward to Tues­day evening. In ad­di­tion to tunes from the CD, the launch will fea­ture the Fid­dle Mon­sters (a trio of young fid­dlers Jenna plays with), fid­dler Fiona MacCorquo­dale, Ju­lian and An­nie Kit­son, the Haven­wood Dancers and Jenna’s teacher, Aaron Crane, as host and ac­com­pa­nist. Ad­mis­sion is at the door; copies of the CD will be avail­able for sale.

“I am ex­cited about the launch, but I am kind of ner­vous, too, be­cause there is a ton of peo­ple I know go­ing to be there and some peo­ple are com­ing from off P.E.I.,” says Jenna. “But I’m look­ing for­ward to be­ing on stage with my friends and play­ing the mu­sic — it’s re­ally fun.”

For the CD, Jenna turned to Crane, who has been her fid­dle teacher for al­most four years, to help her through the process. He sug­gested she pick her top 45 favourite tunes and, af­ter choos­ing from those, she then learned some new mu­sic for the record­ing. While she prac­tised and per­fected the tunes, Crane worked on the ar­range­ments, de­cided on the ac­com­pa­ni­ment and worked out the or­der of the sets on the CD.

Crane, who is “su­per-ex­cited” about the launch, says that de­spite her age Jenna was ready to take on this pro­ject.

“She can play tunes that not too many peo­ple her age can play and not too many peo­ple can play that are older . . . . I just wanted peo­ple to hear what she can do be­cause not many peo­ple know just what she has learned, es­pe­cially in the last year.”

Her tal­ent was one of the rea­sons Crane sug­gested the name for the CD.

“It has mul­ti­ple mean­ings,” he said. “Prom­ise me you’re go­ing to prac­tice, Jenna, and I prom­ise to be there to help you out. And then, of course, it’s that she shows great prom­ise as a mu­si­cian.”

In ad­di­tion to her tal­ent, Crane says Jenna has the drive to record a CD. For her part, Jenna says it was a lot of work — one tune, she re­calls with a lit­tle laugh, re­quired about 20 at­tempts to get it right — but it was all worth it to see and hear the end prod­uct.

How­ever, she says when she started play­ing the fid­dle, dreams of mak­ing a CD were not danc­ing around in her head.

“You know, I didn’t think about that, not at all. I thought ( fid­dle lessons) would be just a phase and I would be done in less that a year, but I just loved I and I kept go­ing. I like it be­cause of the rush of be­ing able to make a crowd en­joy the mu­sic and clap for you — it just makes me re­ally happy.” Set The Stage

Set in a POW camp in Ger­many dur­ing the First World War, the re­worked set­ting keeps a pe­riod feel but avoids gim­mick. It also means that per­form­ers speak in fa­mil­iar ac­cents, rather than chas­ing that ever-elu­sive El­iz­a­bethan elo­cu­tion.

Re­becca Par­ent draws us in as Juliet. Her for­mal com­port­ment, a sort of learned sto­icism, is dis­armed by the youth­ful ideals bub­bling to her sur­face. There’s a whiff of wis­dom that be­lies her age, but a re­bel­lious­ness that over­rules it. I mean, she’s only just met the dude.

Gra­cie Fin­ley is out­stand­ing as the nurse, Juliet’s con­fi­dante. Her comic sense is im­pec­ca­ble and as drama builds, she car­ries its weight with ar­rest­ing re­al­ism. That in­jec­tion of com­edy di­gres­sions into the swelling ten­sion is, I sup­pose, a hall­mark of Shake­speare tragedy.

Jake McNeil brings us a Romeo who is aptly capri­cious and ex­citable at the be­gin­ning, and ex­ceed­ingly des­per­ate with each rash move. His per­for­mance, too, stirs as the stakes grow.

John Dartt gives com­plex­ity to Ca­pulet. Jonathan Wid­di­field is a real scalawag as Mer­cu­tio.

In my soft­est, most re­spect­ful pleb voice, I might sug­gest the di­a­logue was at times a lit­tle rushed by a few ac­tors un­der the spell of emo­tion or chas­ing nat­u­ral­ism.

Not to the point of slur­ring, and cer­tainly noth­ing is missed — par­tic­u­larly thanks to body lan­guage — but some of the joy of the verse mightn’t have got­ten its due. Again, see open­ing line. I’m putting this un­der a much more in­tense lens than most plays be­cause it’s at the pin­na­cle of theatre.

What I ap­pre­ci­ate here is that for such an am­bi­tious un­der­tak­ing, the pre­sen­ta­tion re­mains tact­ful and in­ti­mate. Di­rec­tor Dun­can McIn­tosh fol­lows the brisk surges of ac­tion with el­e­gant, sober­ing ebbs. Some dou­bling of roles, es­pe­cially that of Ty­balt and Lady Ca­pulet un­der Robert Tsonos, also shows great faith in the abil­i­ties of the com­pany.

As ra­dio coun­try com­pleted its meta­mor­pho­sis into rap over in Cavendish, only min­utes away, ac­tors were quar­ry­ing cen­turies-old al­lu­sions in a markedly dif­fer­ent ap­proach to tale-spin­ning.

The mes­sage from the man in the ruff is as po­tent to­day as it was 400 years ago: teenagers, don’t do drugs!

What a treat to see such pas­sion­ate pro­fes­sion­als en­grossed in the height of their craft.

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