RILEYS AND THE HPO
It has been written that “to everything there is a season … a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
At the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Nov. 10 concert commemorating the centenary of the First World War, patrons will be able to remember the fallen and honour those who serve or have served as well as trip the light fantastic as if it were 1920 again.
The HPO’s “From Broadway to Tin Pan Alley” concert in FirstOntario Concert Hall will open with Capt. Ryan Baker, directing The Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry as they march on to “Canada on the March” by C.H. Jaeger. The 40-piece Rileys will then play “O Canada” and march off to “The Maple Leaf Forever.”
They’ll also perform in the lobby during intermission.
Right after the Rileys, music director Gemma New and the HPO will launch into a lively array of pieces culled from the early years of the last century when flappers ruled the roost and popular musicians such as Al Jolson and George Gershwin were king.
Now, if you’re thinking that the New Zealand-born New is a giveme-Beethoven-or-give-me-nothing type of gal, read on and think again.
“I love this early jazz, Broadway and ragtime music,” wrote New in an email to The Spec. “I grew up with this music playing all the time at my grandparents’ home. As a teenager, I would play
a lot of early jazz, Broadway and ragtime at weddings, arranged for string quartet. And in the USA, I have enjoyed doing a lot of this music with the New Jersey Symphony (Orchestra). The NJSO musicians were born with this music in their blood, and they play often on Broadway, so I learned a lot about this style from them.”
New and the HPO will take the spotlight in two Scott Joplin numbers, his 1902 rag “The Entertainer” followed by his 1899 “The Maple Leaf Rag,” alas not inspired by the Canadian maple leaf, but the Maple Leaf Club, a social haunt in Sedalia, Missouri, where Joplin often played. After intermission, New will strike up the HPO with the overture to Gershwin’s 1927 musical, “Strike Up the Band.”
Joining New and the HPO onstage will be Michigan-born tenor Doug LaBrecque, a Great White Way vet who has also done orchestral gigs such as the St. Louis Symphony’s holiday concert with New last December.
“Doug has an incredibly warm, rich and powerful voice, and a great sense of humour, too,” wrote New of LaBrecque who’ll be heard in “Colonel Bogey,” “’S Wonderful,” “I Got Rhythm,” and a medley of Jolson tunes, among others.
In addition, Alexander Cann’s Bach Elgar Choir will join in the fun on several numbers, but also lend a moment of solemnity with Evelyn Stroobach’s setting for chorus and strings of John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields.”
According to New, if you clap
long enough at the end of the concert, there’ll be a secret encore, a piece she’s really looking forward to.
Immediately thereafter, guests and patrons are invited to sashay down the red carpet to The Studio for some nostalgic entertainment by the Hammer Hoppers, a local vintage swing dance troupe who’ll also provide mini-lessons on the Charleston and other dances.
Come attired as you are or in dapper flapper wear. Admission: $75, with concert ticket $60, under 35 $60. Proceeds go to the HPO’s Education and Outreach programs. Thursday, Nov.1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 320 Charlton Ave. W., Paul
Grimwood gives his inaugural concert with the parish choir in Fauré’s “Requiem.” Free admission. Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. in the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion, 123 King St. W., Chamber Music Hamilton welcomes the Amici Chamber Ensemble, clarinetist Joaquin Valdepenas, cellist David Hetherington, and pianist Serouj Kradjian, in works by Beethoven, Rota and Zemlinsky. Tickets: $35, senior $30, student $15. Call 905-719-6457. Saturday, Nov. 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. in Dundas Baptist, 201 Governor’s Rd. W., Dundas, W. Ian Walker signs copies of his selfpublished autobiography, “Stirring my Soul to Sing, Overcoming ADHD Through Song,” on sale for $25. Call 289-700-7005 to RSVP by Nov. 2.
The Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, under the direction of Capt. Ryan Baker, will open the HPO’s concert Nov. 10.