Collingwood Summer Music Festival Has Spectacular Opening Weekend
Last Thursday night, for a full house audience in the New Life Church, the newly-founded Collingwood Summer Music Festival hosted some of Canada's top talent on one stage in their first concert titled "A Choral Extravaganza".
"Words cannot express all of the emotions that we experienced at our inaugural night!" marveled the festival's artistic director Daniel Wnukowski. The performance featured Toronto's renowned Elmer Iseler Singers together with Collingwood's ChoralWorks choir, the Collingwood Festival Orchestra, and, guest soloists Mayumi Seiler on violin and Wnukowski, also a world-class concert pianist. From the sheer brilliance and crisp freshness of Mozart's Divertimento in F, to the haunting beauty of H. Janmohamed's "Reflections on Light", the audience was led on a magnificent journey of consummate music-making ending on a high note with Beethoven's Choral Fantasy.
"It was truly an honour for me to take part in the evening as both artistic director and pianist. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and working with each member of the extended Collingwood community in person, with its continuously growing network of patrons, partners, sponsors and volunteers," stated Wnukowski.
The following evening, the extraordinary energy and dynamism of Beethoven's temperament was further unraveled with a stellar performance by three of Canada's greatest virtuosi: Serouj Kradjian on piano, Mayumi Seiler once again on violin and Rachel Mercer on cello.
"A huge thanks to our Master of Ceremonies - Brian Rae from ChoralWorks and Bill Anderson from The New Classical FM 102.9, for leading both evenings respectively" said Wnukowski. "We were also excited to welcome our mayor, the honourable Brian Saunderson and the numerous town councillors who attended our inaugural event."
On Saturday night, the very popular Quartetto Gelato rounded off the weekend, wowing Collingwood fans for the first time in 10 years - since their last appearance here.
From Thursday August 1 through Sunday August 11 the festival's concerts continue, offering a dynamic array of top-level classical, world music and blues-jazz programming, sure to cater to all tastes. Featured are award-winning ensembles and celebrated personalities including the Rolston String Quartet, Payadora Tango Ensemble, Zimbabwe's Nhapitapi music and dance ensemble, and, Sugar & Gold (The Diana Braithwaite & Chris Whiteley Duo).
There will be two concerts geared specifically toward families with children. Sugar & Gold will present a late afternoon educational kids' show "All About The Blues" before their evening concert "The Story of the Underground Railroad in Canada", relating the story of the arrival, challenges and riveting experiences of the African-American men and women who became members of Canada's first Black pioneer communities. The finale concert for the festival on August 11 - a matinee - will be the World Premiere of "Carnival of the Animals/The Hockey Sweater" an exciting new musical attraction for the entire family featuring an 11-member instrumental ensemble, R.H. Thomson (Narrator), Trevor Copp (Mime Artist), and Michael Schulte (Violin).
For individual concert details, artist biographies and convenient online ticket ordering, please visit http://www.collingwoodfestival.com .
Tickets also available by phone at 705-445-2200 / 1-866-382-2200 or from the Theatre Collingwood Box Office, 115 Hurontario Street (Suite 104) in Collingwood.
Festival founder and Artistic Director Daniel Wnukowski explains: "I had learned about this region from my parents who retired there in 2017 and was immediately drawn to its unique charm and colourful history. In April 2018 I had performed at a fundraiser for the Barbara Weider House, which provides housing for homeless youth. I was amazed at the enthusiasm and support for classical music in the area - tickets sold very quickly and patrons expressed excitement at an internationally-renowned pianist performing in their community."
He continues: "From that experience and since the final presentation of the previous Collingwood Music Festival (2001 to 2011) it became clear to me that the community was truly missing having its own annual summer music festival. That festival dedicated almost 30% of their concerts to world music and often onstage, musicians discussed similarities of their varied cultures. The new festival offers a similar complementary mixture of classical, world and jazz music which will once again provide a summer entertainment option second to none for the many music-lovers who live year-round or cottage seasonally in the region."
Collingwood Summer Music Festival gratefully acknowledges their partners and media sponsors: Monaco Classic Condominiums Collingwood, Mortgage Wellness - Gerard Buckley, The New Classical 102.9 FM, On The Bay Magazine, Theatre Collingwood, Peak To Shore Music Festival, South Georgian Bay Music Foundation, Yamaha Canada Music, Saunders Book Company and New Life Church.