Those of you who know me well know that I have a husband named Roger. In fact, many of you have probably met him. He and I both have a lot in common. We both work hard and play hard.
By the end of the week, I had finalized 3 sales and had an accepted conditional offer on another, and Roger had finished up two large projects, a kitchen and a library. Roger owns a custom woodworking business called Lasting Impressions & Company. Anyway, to say the least, after all of this work, it was time to play! So, spending an evening enjoying some live music (after a dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, of course Koh-i-noor) is just what we both needed.
The Magic of Hugh Russell is playing this weekend, as part of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony's Signature (Classical) Series. There is still time to buy tickets for the 8pm show tonight. If you decide to go, you will not be disappointed. You can expect to hear a few numbers with just the orchestra and several pieces including one of the most excellent baritones I have ever heard, and he just happens to hail from Canada. From Mozart to Mahler to Brahms, it is all simply beautiful. We aren't sure which we prefer more, Classical or Pops. All I can say is that it's all amazing. Our city is blessed to have the very best, and because of that, we are able to draw talent from all over the world. What a gift we have, and I hope we truly appreciate it. Buy tickets at KWSymphony.
Russell sang all of his pieces in German. It made my mind wander back to a time when Kitchener was full of new German-speaking immigrants, and people from all over the world have since joined in. I looked across the audience and wondered just how many of the patrons there had a German background, and how many of them may still understand the words being sung without having to leaf through the program to read the English version like I was doing for the first song or two. After I started following the words, though, I realized it was more fun to just let go and rely on the singer to express himself...and by the colour in his voice and his facial expressions...he succeeded. Having to fully know and understand each word can be kind of exhausting.
As the evening progressed, I thought about the many changes have taken place since this city was established. We have to give credit where credit is due and thank the forerunners in our community for paving the way for the programs and offerings we have today. We didn't always have an orchestra, and we didn't always have a place for them to play, which brings me to thank a man I never met for something he did for people he never met.
This concert was dedicated to Frederick Paul Schneider (1926-2011), a Foundational Supporter who was a strong advocate for the building of the Centre in the Square. Here is what Raffi Armenian, Music Director Laureate, had to say about Mr. Schneider:
"In his quiet, self-effacing and gentle manner, Fred Schneider was a pillar of strength when it came to his convictions. For the musical world of Kitchener-Waterloo, he is one of the most important persons to have strongly supported the building of the Centre in the Square. Few people remember perhaps, that initially the Federal Government of the day turned down the grant to build the Centre. Fred Schneider was then President of the KW Symphony and championed the building of a concert hall in this community. I recall being asked to go to Fred Schneider's office where the Federal Finance Minister was arriving to see him. After about ten minutes in Fred's office (I was asked to wait outside), the Minister emerged with the words 'You have the financing for the Theatre.'
On Fridays noon hour at the Kitchener Library, I gave introductory lectures on the works to be performed on the Main Series of the Symphony. In the beginning, very few people attended, but sure enough, among them was Mr. Schneider and his wife, who were true advocates of not only enrichening their listening experience, but also their lives, through the treasure of good music. They came to these lectures right up to the last one I gave."
Reading this last night and again today re-instills in me the importance of supporting my community and the people in it. Everyone has a vision and everyone has a dream. But, we sometimes get so busy trying to understand every word that we can miss the true picture that is placed in our hearts and minds. It's funny how music has a way of bringing it all back into focus.
I was pleased to hear the announcement of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony has just released a new recording, the first one in 12 years. (Hint, hint...great Christmas stocking stuffer idea!)