St. Joe’s adds a dose of drama to annual festival
Waiting for Norman Reintamm’s third annual Music at Saint Joe’s Mini-Festival?
Well, it’s back, only now under a new name, St. Joe’s ArtsFest, and in a slightly expanded format running from Friday, June 2 to Sunday, June 11 in St. Joseph’s Church, 260 Herkimer St.
The name change was brought on by the addition of drama to this year’s festival, specifically T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral.” Reintamm hopes that the inclusion of Eliot’s 1935 verse drama about the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 will add to the festival’s demographics.
Lana Borsellino, a drama teacher and department head of religious studies at Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School in Oakville, not to mention a longtime St. Joe’s parishioner and chorister, will direct the production, which will be presented on Saturday, June 3 and repeated Saturday, June 10, both beginning at 7:30 p.m.
“There’s so much effort put into it that it would be nice to do more than one performance,” said Reintamm of the two showings. “And we have such a great cast it would be a shame to do it once.”
The cast includes Peter Churey as Thomas, and Lana Borsellino’s son, Christian, as the First Knight. Adam Burdulis, another St. Joe’s parishioner, will play the Herald. Burdulis’s daughter, Sara, will play the Fourth Tempter and one of the women of Canterbury while Sara’s daughter, Abbey Smith, will join her in the female chorus. Now that’s keeping it in the family. According to Reintamm, Robert Laszcz is creating original soundscapes and incidental music to complement the play’s mood and action.
“One thing that I want to stress with this festival is that what I don’t want to see is the festival becoming absolutely professionalized,” said Reintamm.
“There are so many wonderful amateurs — in the best sense of the word — actors and musicians around that it would be a shame to exclude them … And there are some people in the cast who don’t do it full-time, but could be considered more on the professional side. Everybody learns from everybody else.”
The festival opens on Friday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. with the Artistic Director’s Evening pitting Reintamm at the 88s versus Johannes Brahms in the latter’s monumental “First Piano Sonata.”
“I tell ya, this has been a personal challenge for me, and I guess the question was, ‘Can the old boy do it’?” said Reintamm, 58, about tackling the Brahms. “This piece is one of the pinnacles of Romantic piano literature. It’s also opened up a whole pile of repertoire that I didn’t think I would be able to access.”
After battling Brahms, Reintamm will be joined by clarinetist Stephen Pierre and violist Henry Janzen for Mozart’s “Clarinet Trio.”
Sunday, June 4 at 4 p.m., Reintamm welcomes back pianist Ken Gee, a former Spec classical music stringer, and acclaimed cellist Paul Pulford for sonatas by Handel, Beethoven, and Debussy. Pulford, who plays a cello previously owned by the late Ann Vallentyne, who was a founding member of the Hamilton Suzuki School of Music, will likely be making his last appearance in the area before moving to New Brunswick.
Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m., jazz trumpeter Mike Malone — one of Canada’s finest, and yet another talented St. Joe’s parishioner — will be joined by guitarist Reg Schwager, bassist Neil Swainson, and drummer Terry Clarke for some standards and originals.
The festival closes on Sunday, June 11 at 4 p.m. with Reintamm’s 35-voice St. Joseph’s Church Choir and 19 members of his Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s “Requiem” with soloists Iris Rodrigues, Richard Cunningham, Lenard Whiting, and Doug Tranquada. The performance will be dedicated to the memory of Glenn Mallory who passed away on May 17. St. Joe’s associate organist, Stillman Matheson, will be at the Casavant for some selected solos.
Admission is by suggested donation of $20. But as Reintamm says, “If you don’t have twenty bucks, come anyway. Nobody will be turned away.”
Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m. in Grace Lutheran, 1107 Main St. W., the Rosewood Consort performs music by Schmelzer, A. Scarlatti, and Stéphane Potvin’s arrangement for recorders, viola da gamba, and two harpsichords of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” Suggested donation: $20.
The ensemble also has a student summer job opening for administrative assistant. Call 905-6485607.
Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in St. Paul’s United, 29 Park St. W., Dundas, the Dundas Valley Orchestra gives a free Canada 150 concert. Music by Tyler Versluis, Harry Somers, Howard Cable, and others. Musical guests: flutist Doug Miller, Dundas Celebration Singers, Dundas Pipes & Drums.
Cellist Paul Pulford performs June 4 as part of the St. Joe’s ArtsFest.