October, 2006

Saw the Etobicoke Concert Band Perform

Erika is currently working on a low budget film and her only days off are Thursday and Friday (which means that she will unfortunately miss out on Halloween again this year). Her trumpet partner, Dave from across the street, was having a concert with his new band this evening, so we both opted to go to it.

Dave and Erika had formerly been members together in the East York Concert Band, comprised of big-hearted people whose music unfortunately had the tendency to sap one’s will to live. I had been through enough torturous performances over the years to have simply fallen out of the habit of going to the performances, but I knew that this band we were going to see tonight, though still comprised of amateurs, was considered a serious step up in terms of quality.

And so it was. Held in an auditorium in a west-end collegiate, the concert was very enjoyable, and featured not only some truly outstanding individual players (the bassist, drummer, a trombonist and the saxophone player who also arranged many of the pieces played that evening) but was clearly comprised of a good ensemble cast of musicians. On top of that, there was a featured young local musician just back from a stint at a prestigious Manhattan music school who played excellent piano, clarinet and drums at various points during the night (a “triple threat” as the conductor put it).

It was hard not to make comparisons to previous EYCB concerts: this was fun, the pacing never seemed to drag, and the pieces clearly within the abilities of the musicians. At the end of first half there was a jazz jam session which featured a select group of the better musicians who proved that they could swing as well as play classical pieces. The conductor is a bit of a ham (and a helluva trumpet player), and a separate announcer injected the right dose of humour and banter. In the end there were a few dud notes, but they were few and forgivable. I had been expecting a better concert this time around and was not disappointed.

Afterwards we joined Dave as he joined the rest of the band at a nearby pub for a couple of drinks.

Am looking forward to seeing Erika’s performance for the “Brass Conspiracy”, another band she has graduated to from the EYCB.

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Photo Trip to the R.O.M.

Due to a scheduling snafu, I had to teach the second full-day session of my Information Architecture course at the U. of T. on the Thanksgiving long weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to see all of my students there, thinking I might not even have half the class turn up.

Afterwards, with no family to return home to (everyone had gone up north to the cottage at Deloro for the weekend, I decided to head over to the nearby Royal Ontario Museum and take some pictures in an unhurried manner. Here’s some of what I took:

R.O.M. cladding
Protective cladding is being applied to the angled surfaces of the “crystal”.

Jousting Mural
Jousting mural in the southwest quadrant of Samuel Hall/Currelly Gallery. The image features the Directors of the museum at the time it was painted in the 1940s, and features Currelly himself (the man behind the tapestry).

Hadrosaur
A Hadrosaur skeleton “stranded” in the Samuel Hall/Currelly Gallery while the new dino gallery is being built.

Triceratops Head
“Just arrived!” says the sign in the lower-left: A Triceratops skull giving a tantalizing glimpse of some of the new things to expect in the renovated dino gallery to come.

Former Insect Gallery
More signs of change as this glimpse of the former Insect Gallery, in the middle of being dismantled, shows.

Another Former Gallery
This was a shock: finding that the European/Mediterranean ancient civilization galleries were closed and being renovated.

St. John The Baptist
Bust of St. John the Baptist in the European Medieval Gallery

Haida Totem Pole
One of the Haidi Totem Poles — with nobody on the stairs! (the place was far from full when I visited).

Carlos Garaicoa Paper Lanterns
There was an installation in a newly opened gallery on the ground floor by the Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa. This and the next image are panoramas I stitched together from several photos of a couple of his larger pieces. This one greets the visitor to the gallery, and is a model of a fictional urban complex made out of rice-paper lanterns.

Carlos Garaicoa: Negatividad
This one is called “Negatividad”, made up of wooden toy trains.

ROM Ceiling
The magnificent mosaic ceiling in the main foyer of the R.O.M.

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