In renditions of stories, letters and dances, members of Queen’s School of Music showcase their operatic and instrumental talent as part of the Faculty Artist Series.
The Faculty Artist Series was established in 2010, and consists of a series of concerts intended to exhibit the talents of the accomplished faculty of the School of Music.
Sunday’s performance, held at The Isabel Bader Centre, titled “Intimate Expressions: Stories, Letters and Dances”, featured Elizabeth McDonald, soprano singer; Jeff Hanlon on guitar; and Kama Tomm on the violin.
McDonald, a voice instructor at the University of Toronto, has worked as a performer with the Santa Fe Opera and the Canadian Opera Company. She has been featured as a recitalist at the University of Toronto, Queen’s and Carleton among other institutions.
Hanlon, an adjunct lecturer in guitar and music education at Queen’s, has performed across Canada and the United States in many venues, including the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Yale University and Queen’s.
Tomm, director of the Queen’s Conservatory of Music, has performed throughout North America, Asia and Europe. Tomm has taught violin, chamber music and music theory since 1997 and also performs as a freelance artist.
The Isabel was the perfect location for the series, which was previously staged on campus and at local churches.
The intimate setting of the The Isabel’s performance hall complemented the grand performance, which opened with McDonald’s awe-inspiring voice, accompanied by Hanlon’s mellow guitar.
Following this duet, McDonald was accompanied by Tomm, whose jaunty violin paired perfectly with Gabriel Fauré’s “Le Papillon et la Fleur” — a story of love and dependence told through the relationship of a flower to a butterfly.
The second half of the performance opened with a unique visual and auditory experience, as Tomm provided violin accompaniment to a recitation of the children’s story of “Ferdinand the Bull” by Munro Leaf.
Tomm introduced the piece as a musical rendition of a favourite story amongst her family and dedicated her performance to her son.
Tomm’s musical interlude to McDonald’s narration of the story was visually enhanced with projected images of illustrations from “Ferdinand the Bull”, which transported the audience to the bullfighting rings of Madrid.
This distinct Spanish theme was expanded upon by the following pieces, which included “Histoire du Tango” and “Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas”.
The lively and romantic “Histoire du Tango”, performed by Tomm and Hanlon, was a personal favourite.
The final piece, “Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas”, consisted of all three performers and was a grand ending to a fantastic performance.
According to McDonald, the final piece was originally intended as a duet, but, the combination of Soprano, guitar and violin created a sensational exit performance that highlighted the creativity and virtuoso of Hanlon, McDonald and Tomm.
Stephen Smith, ArtSci ’15, shared his enthusiasm for the performance.
“I thought it was a wonderful take on a couple of very under-appreciated pieces,” Smith said. “The arrangement was clever and I would like to hear more from the performers.” The performance was an exploration of oft-forgotten artistic mediums brought to life through music and was a truly enjoyable experience.
The affordable student-priced tickets and the opportune location of The Isabel hold the promise of similar future events to cultivate an important relationship between the rich arts community of Kingston and students.
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