Canada Day 150! — A CBC Celebration Broadcast

Finally, I have hunkered down and am listening (and watching occasionally) again to the recorded broadcast that is available at note that Viewer Discretion is advised.

Before starting to write this blog, I discovered that the maximum or auto playback of the recorded broadcast from my Lenovo SL500 laptop computer running Windows 7 and FireFox version 53.0 and Adobe Flash Player caused that certain commercials repeated themselves (and in particular the DELL EMC advertisements about hearing aids and 3D view capabilities statement – repeated at least 3 times), and then after about an hour or so, the entire program repeated itself.  I also discovered that 360 p (1549 kbps) seemed to work best, and surprisingly, the commercials stopped interrupting the program.  Anyways, it was interesting to discover this, if not for you, then at least for me (yours truly).  Useful for future reference while I still have this machine of course.

At this point of my composition and in the present and past tenses, I’m currently watching the Cirque de Soleil (Circle of the Sun) acts with wonder and amazement, especially since it has been raining on the set.  I wondered and feared the first time during the LIVE performance that someone might slip on apparatus, but fortunately, no one suffered or seemed to be put in this dangerous predicament.

Ah, where do I start with such a ‘monumental broadcast’, that was LIVE from Ottawa, and perhaps at least some of the other locations of other provinces and municipalities?

I trust and suggest that you might consider watching this high quality broadcast, and then return to this, my blog here, to compare notes and perhaps even to comment.

And here, I insert some vertical space (by placing these 2 picture images here), to give you time through space, without influencing you unduly, to watch and form your own appreciation and opinions, and then please scroll down or advance down to read my commentary and review.

And here’s my version of a slightly modified design of the logo and art work. I like this because it is symmetrical and gives a 3-D look of the folded maple leaf, while preserving the integrity of the red stripes on either end of our glorious and beautiful flag and symbols of our great nation.

Okay, so you’ve may have scrolled down or advanced your screen to be here, and now I’ve just finished watching and listening to Cirque de Soleil and Rick Mercer’s announcement of the next act.

Overall, I found that the songs and groups that were selected made an amazing mosaic and tapestry of high performance and meaningful values.

I found that during some of the groups, I laughed and cried, and wondered and then understood more fully what it means to be a Canadian, and with this rare opportunity to join in the celebration, even via the Internet, that I realized that I am thankful to live in this great country of brilliant and hopeful souls and people everywhere, who claim Canada to be home.

Whew, that was quite the long-winded sentence!

Of course, being an Albertan, I was curious to hear and see who would be performing from our beautiful, generally sunny province.  And it was Brett Kissel  who was recorded at Banff, with a host of energetic and swaying fans.  You can check out his website at  Although I had never heard of him before, being quite young – born 1990, sounds quite accomplished, perhaps one day I will meet him, maybe at the National Music Centre (

And now back to my blog mode in present and past tenses: And now, I’m listening and have listened to some of the more Elderly people, who have been doing music practically from the last 50+ years.  And, I’m guessing the names of some of the songs, based on the chorus if the announcement was not made before hand or not remembered.  At any rate, here are the big 3!!!  Please note that I may update this information to be more accurate after watching and listening to this again.

Buffy Saint Marie — Timeless — see

Bruce Cockburn — Lovers in a Dangerous Time —

Gordon Lightfoot — Every Highway, Sometimes (?), If You Could Read My Mind —  A ladies trio group performed the first two numbers, and then he, himself with band, did the last one.

You may be interested to learn that I looked up the Bios on Bruce, Buffy, and Gordon, from Wikipedia and their official websites using DuckDuckGo (an alternative non-tracking Internet Search Engine), and shared their links above.

Of course, our French-Canadian bands were excellent, and having lived in Quebec and Ottawa Valley in 1989, I have a warm place in my heart for them, especially having served as a missionary there.

And, the biggest surprise for me this time around, was the discovery, of the band who was selected to give the final song before the fireworks, that members of The Tragically Hip, were given an Order of Canada Appointment in June of this year (visit, and that the band was formed in 1983.  Their song was quite well done, with audience footage and lyrics posted on the jumbo-tron display.  And having the Prime Minister introduce them was interesting again.

And then the fireworks, of which I captured and posted along with my initial July 1st blog of It’s My NewZ (News) at

While I could go on and on, giving more and more excruciating detail, but it’s enough to end this here, because I’m an amateur blogger, who does this for fun and enjoyment and possibly with a belief that perhaps this might be good in a future portfolio.

If there are errors made here, whether spelling, grammatical, or factual, please let me know. 

Regardless, I wish you a pleasant time, and opportunity to reflect on what it means to you about being Canadian.

Peace, prosperity, and pleasantness to everyone, and thank you for reading and sharing.  And please, feel free to share and enjoy this wonderful celebration recording available through the Internet as streaming video from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation now, and hopefully, in the many years to come.





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Grease (Part 1 & 3/4)

As I predicted, I would find my notes after receiving my ordered DVD of the play.  (And sure enough, I found one page of 3 panels of cursive handwriting in green ink.)

Greasy Dates — adapted from the Printed Program! 🙂

Although I started twice to watch the DVD, I was unsuccessful in completing it (in the first day and a bit of having it), partly because I’m afraid that once I watch it, the magic and wonder of my first viewing in the wonderful Forest Lawn High School Theatre, would be lost, and so, I have resisted watching it so far.

Unfortunately, or perhaps wisely, I was told that the quality of the video is never as good as the LIVE performance by Ms. Melathopolous, as I was about to get change for my $20 bill.  Even so, at $10 per DVD, this was quite a bargain.

This update of my Greasy experience, is entitled ‘Grease 1 & 3/4’, to indicate that I haven’t reached to culminating blog of Celebration On Being Human (Part 2).

And as I have now rested from two naps today, and it’s about 10:15 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, I am left to wonder how long my muse should and would last.

I’ll begin with transcribing my hand-written notes first, and perhaps add a little bit of my DVD watching experience so-far.  This should make it easier for my to finish this blog series by doing this at least.

On the top of my first panel of the 8-1/2 by 11″ sheet of paper that I folded in half, I wrote,
Grease — May 5, 2017.

Some of the paragraphs, sentences, phrases, or words may have quotes around — double for key statements that you may directly quote me with, single quotes for emphasis on words or phrase, and dashes, hyphens, or bullets for points.  Generally, any text here in these blogs may be quoted and referenced on other blogs.  And some of the words and points, not too clear, but hey, its here for reference anyways*.  Okay, enough, let’s get on with this Review of 1 & 3/4!

* — and some of the words are typical of adolescents and their emerging or budding sexuality.  (Please feel free to skip over some of these words, if you are uncomfortable with reading them.  I trust that you are a mature reader, and shouldn’t be overly offended…)

If I recall, when Grease was first released in the Movie Theatres, it was rated Mature.  In my tender age of 9 or 10, this was pretty much the same as Restricted in my mind.  My Mom went to see it with a Teenager, and then didn’t allow me to see it.  It wasn’t until I was married that I saw it for the first time with my wife.  I could see, back in the 70’s what was considered risky, has now become PG-13.  My, how society standards have changed based on precedence, declining morals, etc.  But that is a topic of another discussion.  Please continue with my notes here, and you have been warned.

Author’s Note:  After publishing this post, I discovered and remembered that there was a School version of Grease, with changes made to the script and according to, “The school version removes all profanity, lewd behavior, and Rizzo’s Pregnancy scare. Since Rizzo’s pregnancy scare is removed, the song “There Are Worst Things I Could Do” is also removed from this edition. The school version is approximately 15 minutes shorter than the standard version.”   This version, that was done, however, is NOT the school version but the regular full version.  Please see

“Great costumes, good choreography, fluid”

Summer Nights — leads 🙂

(Major part of the) Plot — sizing up each other (– comparison with each to establish sense of individualism and connected-ness).

Scene changes with music — great — I really appreciated hearing the music that kept the mood and flow going — well done!!

  • ‘Swinging R-n-R (Rock and Roll)’ —
    • ‘Believe in Me’ — a Hallmark film that I remembered watching and own that resonated with the era or time period of the play.
    • Da/Ha Da/Ha — tune (Haa Haa — my attempt to write down the rhythm and vocalizations)
    • Vigorous pelvic thrusts (or motions) from the boys — I didn’t write this down (but decided to include it here), but after seeing the first part of the movie again, I will mention it here — a bit too much for my taste and sensibilities, but consistent with script and play.
    • Photos – (shown in play when the girls were together in the bedroom)
  • Hubcaps
    • Mooning Ross – (another typical adolescent activity — I won’t define but you can ask an older adult what this is if you don’t know).
    • I thought about my Gr.4 Large Handwriting in 1976, when the movie of Grease came out — in comparison to my smaller, somewhat unreadable by others — a type of shorthand in longhand style unique to me.
  • Past — “Boob Mobile?” (probably a quote from the play)
    • Dance Standards (were different then with different fashions and modesty expectations)
    • Old — “Green Dream –“
  • The NEON light that said OPEN was bright, and a gasp from the audience was quite awe-inspiring, when it was turned on during curtain call or scene change.  And through the curtain, the light was still quite visible.  Nicely done – whoever got this sign as it evoked a certain nostalgia and huge visual appeal.
  • Then, the most funniest expression from the audience was given from a girl, who described these twisty looking trophies as “Those Are Weird!”.  (This was also mentioned in my  ‘Grease 1 & 1/2’ blog as well — significant and equally funny, if not more inspiring from the audience.)
  • Guardian Angels — and the reference to Debbie Reynolds was clever and most appropriate, considering that she was a well-known and famous actress of the time.  And now that she has passed along, along with her daughter, Carrie Fischer, this was most appropriate to include, at least for me, and I wonder how many other caught the reference.
    • This was perhaps one of the most inspiring parts of the play for me — beautifully done by everyone.  I hope that I won’t be disappointed to much by the quality of the DVD when I watch it, and remember that the LIVE performance of visual and audio and audience participation, was far, far better.
  • Beauty School Dropout — was one of my favorite songs of the music before I saw this play, and I must admit that the acting and choreography and singing, was quite exceptional good.  I could tell that the cast REALLY enjoyed doing this number as well.
    • Except for the blunt reference in the song to the punchline, “Hooker”, I enjoyed listening to a 45″ RPM Vinyl Record, along with my sister, who was a few years younger.  And seeing enough of the trailers on TV and other print media at the time, I kind of got the drift that ‘staying in school was and probably still is good advice’.  Alas, I digress, and return you to my notes.
  • Werewolves virtuoso (?) you — “H”
    • heater?  doesn’t work
  • Better if everyone went home
  • C’mon let’s GO!
  • Pink — Authentic (
  • Smile — laugh(?) away
  • Mickey Mouse Club
  • Ben Gay ointment
  • “Electrifying” — this was one of the expressions and motifs that seemed to characterize the excitement and thrill that seemed to permeate and extend beyond each individual character’s energies.  The genuine excitement and zest for life that often the Youth and Young Adults seemed and seem to carry, was contagious, and often influenced or cause others, in the audience and on set, to react accordingly.
    • This word, really made much more of an impact on me, the song “Summer Nights”, made later on.
  • “Always be together” — an expression of hope to keep things are they are in friendship and time, but knowing things would change.
    • I couldn’t tell…Ask my girl — probably a line, not quit sure why I wrote this down except that it seemed important enough to write.

So, these were the notes that I found.  I thought that I made more, but they are probably either still misplaced or lost.  That being said, I believe that I have rescued the most salient parts of my notes — the beginning and the end.

And so, thus ends ‘Grease 1 & 3/4’.
This should be the last installment of the ‘interim Grease blogs’.

Other Links

Celebration On Being Human (Part 1), please visit
You may also visit ‘Grease 1 & 1/2’ at

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Moroni’s Quest Fireside

You may be interested to learn that when I started writing this blog, that I had just returned back home after listening, and watching, and attending, a LIVE ‘dramatic stage and gymnasium’ presentation with LIVE music, about an upcoming Youth Camp that my Church Congregation, or Stake, is planning and organizing.

Perhaps, you may already know about who Moroni probably is, and then maybe, you don’t.  Regardless, you may want to continue reading about this, and how my Church is making this year, a major Quest, for Young Women and Young Men (from about the ages 12-18*), to really understand more about the characters of real people whose stories are found in Holy Scriptures.

The play starts out with Moroni, the last prophet historian of his people, who is seen sitting at a table, and in dramatic monologue, speaks and writes about his relationship to God, who “has created the heavens and the earth” and the blessings of his people while addressing us, in our present day.

The next scene shows a young woman, who is remembering and relating and writing about “taking a stand about something that is right, even if nobody else agreed”.  It started out with a teacher at school, who said that “traditional marriage between man and woman was no longer reasonable, logical, or acceptable today”.  As it turned out, she was alone in defense of her position.  (Interestingly, this was similar to Moroni’s position, because he felt alone too.)

Many more words of wisdom and growing experiences were expressed, with other actresses and actors.

The theme of “maybe one voice can make a difference”, was revisited by this same young woman, and she remembered reading the holy scriptures in her religious studies of early morning seminary.

A quote from the book of Alma, in the Book of Mormon, about the Stripling Warriors, “who doubted not what their mothers taught them […] in defense of truth and right [and freedoms]”.

What really impressed me the most, were the large choirs [of youth and adults], who gathered together to sing about their faith and hope.  Their unified voices in unison and harmony, brought together the reasons and purposes for the play, as I had often heard or sung these words myself.

The play continues about other stories from the Book of Mormon — Enos, who prayed for forgiveness from his sins, and to know about the truth of what his father had said — and the Appearance of Jesus Christ to the inhabitants.

Then, Stake President Kevin Thompson, spoke in conclusion, about many of the special and sacred things and events, and commended or asked the members of the Stake, ‘to seek this Jesus’ of whom the prophets have spoken.

Interestingly, I had struggled to write this blog, but found myself, changing my approach often from writing in the style of my other blogs of this Word Press site, to one of a believer, a Christian and  a Latter-day Saint.

And so, if you have seen and heard this special fireside, which is really an evening Sunday meeting, then you will probably have your own special ‘take’ of what touched you.

There are some things that can only be experienced in attending a LIVE performance and gathering.  This is definitely one of them.






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2017 Spring Music Concert — Lester B. Pearson High School

Sometimes, wonderful surprises creep up on you, without you realizing that they are going to be most excellent and awesome.

You may be interested to learn, that I had been invited to attend this (Spring) Concert from ‘DJ’, who is also formally known as Dyre Scheer-Peters, and is also a great friend of my son, Adin Court.  And it was with great anticipation, that I was (and we were) planning on attending.  (And what was even more surprising, was that several friends that I did not expect to see, were also there, and so, it was a joyful reunion of sorts, and most importantly, a treat for the senses — musically, visually, and emotionally!)

Dyre ‘DJ’ Sheer-Peters Photo taken by Adin Court.

And so, I resume my writings here, hoping to bridge the continuity of my previous thread of discussion, or what really is a presented written talk, with what was the flow of ideas and words with a graceful pattern and sounds of consonants and vowels and rhythms.  It seems best, that I repeat the opening sentence of this post (or article) and blog, that is sometimes formally known as a ‘web log’, or blog for short.

Sometimes, wonderful surprises creep up on you, without you realizing that they are going to be most excellent and awesome.

And then, you become ‘most enthralled’ with ‘almost the entire’ LIVE performance and concert, because your attention is riveted on what is happening, and you can’t take in enough richness and variety — to capture it (all) on paper, and impress upon your memory, and emotions through your senses with sounds and images that are indelibly and deliberately and intrinsically connected together.

Image was Scanned from Inside Printed Program. All subsequent scanned images included in this blog, are also from the Printed Program. Special thanks to whoever put together this program — it was very nice! 🙂

This has been one of those times, where I was figuratively transported into the realm of fantasy and flight — where well-loved themes of movies, and pop cultures, flourish and array themselves in exquisite grandeur of imagination and hope.

At first, I was about to commence this blog with a sequential summary of the program, and offer tasteful and constructive comments about the works performed, as well as the musicality of which they were delivered.

And then, I thought about this, and decided that this program of polished and finely rehearsed performances, deserve much better, in my recollection and presentation to you, my dear readers.

In the essence of time, and in respect to you, my dear readers, and not to mention that I strongly believe that you would enjoy this ‘monumental blog’ more fully — that I would also invite you to listen to the audio recordings that I have made, with my personal DS-40 Olympus Recorder.

You may listen to the recorded audio files that I made of this concert, by visiting  I claim ‘fair usage’, and give credit where credit is due by also including scanned Program Text, as the source of these wonderful creative works.

Please keep in mind, that my location (or rather seating position, and limitations of compressed audio, and hardware, etc.), will not be as good as the actual sound of the performance.  That being said, I believe that there is real merit or value in listening to a recording, to help jog memory and appreciation of the performances and concert.

The following center-justified text, is taken from the actual printed program, that was given to visitors, guests, and audience members who attended the Lester B. Pearson Theatre on Wednesday, May 17th of the 2017 Spring Concert.  Immediately following the ‘program’ text, of each and every Group, are my ReviewZ (Reviews), that are left-justified, in points and/or paragraphs, of the performances, pieces, presentation, and music.

Lord of the Rings, Suite

  • Really Exciting!
  • Mentioned something about French Horn for 17 years (see 1st image of whiskered cartoon and French horn from Program and featured on this blog earlier)
  • This composition for (concert) band is at a grade 5/6 level.
  • Nice opening — sombre, mysterious —
    • Bright Brass (a bit dry or raspy, but overall well balanced).
    • Jaunty
  • Nice clarinets
    • Bouncy
    • Nice theme by clarinets, then trumpet on top —
  • Shimmering lights reflected from the gleaming sparkle of the brass instruments (and woodwind shiny parts) on to the wall, as the pieces progressed.


  • Guest Conductor, Mr. Richard Lee-Thai
    • Shared a brief history about his University education and experience, and thanks
    • Told audience about the River, was written for a Middle school band director
      • story about 1/2 of the students had to leave,  because of a new school being built
      • Rivers refers to the band being ‘Split up’ and Chimes — at the end of the piece
      • 3 separate musical themes
        • Theme A — memories of the whole band
        • Theme B — new smaller band
        • Theme C — represents the students that had to leave
  • ‘Fluid conducting’ — nice response and following of the band
    • Tight, uniform, balanced
    • Glorious crescendos
    • Rich, sonorous low brass & woodwinds, & sparkling percussion

Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song

  • Guest Conductor, Mr. Richard Lee-Thai
    • A Japanese Girl is given a music box, for comfort and solace
      • She falls in love with this American Man
      • Must choose between either moving to America, or staying
        • Contrasting Rhythms of the Themes or Movements
          • A) Heartbeat of her Culture
          • B) Heartbeat of her love for this American Man
    • Mentioned that it was about the Inner war — Japanese
  • Movement — dancing lightly, tripping ever so elegantly
  • Suave-y kettle drums, nice glockenspiel and bass drum
  • Delicate theme, pretty (especially with awesome flute intro), and then building to climax
  • Robust (and strong)
  • mallet / sticks on drum
  • nice fermata, (noticed a clarinetist rolled eyes [just before] to see ending or cue).

Three London Miniatures for Band

  • Description of pieces, given by Ms. Riben, Director and Conductor
    • By one of favorite composers of all time — Mark Camphouse
    • i. Westminister Hymn — based on Westminister Abbey — “unbelievably huge gothic stone building — enormity of space, and what it is used for … Kings & Queens”
    • ii. For England’s Rose — “tribute to Princess Diana”
    • iii. Kensington March — “changing of the guard”
  • Nice intro
  • Mournful theme, played by saxes, then triumphant entry of Royalty
  • Beautiful break after first movement of “Kings & Queens” 5/5 rating 🙂
  • Before 2nd movement, “Princess Diana” –Wind Chimes going and Tympanist quietly tuning, smiling…
  • Flutes & clarinets start, then saxophones, and bass clarinets, french horns, and rest of Band follows, building —
  • Reflective, and mournful sentiments evoked, and nice resolution with chimes and flutes, woodwinds, brass supporting
  • 3rd movement “changing of the guard” — typical audience coughs heard, and sounds commence
  • Then, promptly, the unified, yet determined instrumentalists, make their way through the motifs of the march, in a dignified and stately manner.
  • And then, the grand ending note.
  • Of course, more could be written, but this will suffice for now… 🙂


  • Guest Conductor, Mr. Richard Lee-Thai
  • A gentle swaying motion, depicting a lull-a-by, of great sustaining power and mood
    • Excellent continuity and form — a definite masterpiece of intimate proportions
    • Hinting ever so subtly of other dream landscapes to follow

Intermission & Sound Checks

  • I was quite excited to see all 16 singers, do this — and prepared for an amazing 2nd 1/2
  • Was a bit confused, and thought that the Intermission was over, and so I stopped my chatter with a friend, and sat down.  Of course, it’s best to do a sound check with minimal audience noise.
  • Bravo to the technical and backstage support team!


Up the Ladder to the Roof

  • ‘Grand’! (No Ear Plugs for 2nd 1/2 for me)
  • Sweet, Sound  ‘a bit airy – but nice — balance – WOW!’


  • A Tender rendition, well balance on chorus lines
  • Clear soprano melody
  • Nice swells

Blue Skies

  • Soloist improvizations — “never again (the same)” unique and mentioned by Director
  • Duba Duba, Da Da Dat (scat attempt — to capture)
  • Confident and hopeful — 1st singer
  • Nice contrast and counterpoint by — 2nd singer
  • Swinging and nice tremolo / vibrato by — 3rd singer
  • Awesome Triplet over Two!
  • Nice (actually almost incredible or optimal acoustics)
  • Impressive SOLOs

Blue Care, Blue Night

  • A Kind of Crazy — 4 different time signatures, ambient mood sound
  • Stirring piano intro — then “Di yah” singing
  • Faces — Introspective — Pulsing / Swaying to rhythm
  • Building to climax with steady crescendo and intensity
  • Dizzying piano accompaniment, as sound diminishes

Kyrie Eleison

  • Guest Conductor, Mr. Richard Lee-Thai
  • Said that the students are talented and the type of (music) “that they sing is quite complex”
  • Theme — Lord Have Mercy
  • Two parts — 1st – Kyrie, 2nd Donon Nobis Etc. (Sorry*, I didn’t catch the Latin correct spelling of the 2nd part)
  • Written for victims of 9/11 attack
  • Firm piano intro
  • Nice layering, of 1st and 2nd groups, then harmonization of Ky-ri-e
  • Simply beautiful — goes well beyond mere words — touches upon the universal bond of all humankind

Mi’kmaq Honour Song

  • A bit of shuffling, and setup
  • “Honour to the Creator”
  • “Sounds not in a particular language”
  • “Always a little bit different — an ambient sound that carries all the way through”
  • Tuning note — then choir begins
  • Quickly diverging in pitches, to strange harmonies
  • Then sound effects of bird imitations — a glorious LIVE ‘surround sound’ experience
  • The steady pulsing of the drum, gives support to the chanting
  • I said ‘Hey — that was better than Quadraphonic Sound!”  —  “It was LIVE!”

Humble and Kind

  • Nice piano, bass, and guitar ensemble
  • Another really inspiring and almost beyond words with the message and music!
  • If I recall correctly, this is a ‘motto’ or ‘code of conduct’ that the students of Lester B. Pearson strive to follow.
  • Really rich and tender and ‘imbued’ with a sense of familiarity and good ol’ advice, but (remembering that there) still is room for improvement and betterment.
  • “Always stay humble and kind”

All Too Soon

  • “Those of you who are parents, (especially of those who are graduating) can [probably] relate to this”
  • “Crying story” — nice.
  • When I heard this, my eyes widened in surprise, at that colloquial (and local) humour, and the simple, yet profound messages given.
  • I will attempt to capture some of the lyrics here — keeping in mind that I acknowledge that there are some errors here — the exercise is useful
  • “The old ways, they change,…but the new ways…will they ever be simple again?”
  • “Children singing…all to soon will be women and men”
  • “Roll to the Ocean again”
  • “Papa was in the war…”
  • “Mama…”
  • “Hold arms to one another”
  • “Getting hard to stay, children moving to a bigger City”
  • “The World is getting smaller every day”
  • And the words repeat over, in a culminating masterpiece, of composition, interpretation, and performance.
  • Unaccompanied part — dramatic effect
  • (Move back to) [Something about an Ocean] and Nova Scotia(n)
  • “And life could travel slow”
  • Almost Greensleeves at the end motif
  • Back to the Children Singing…
  • “And I have loved you so long”
  • “No one can doubt that the children are singing — all too soon will be women and men”
  • “That we never could command…”
  • “That we (arose) to the Ocean again”

Acknowledgements & Thanks

  • Please listen to the last recorded file segment (if available) and the Special Thanks from the Program, also shared as follows:


I am extremely pleased and proud to have been invited by ‘DJ’, to attend this most wonderful and never to be repeated again Spring Concert.

The sacrifices that have been made by everyone, and especially the Staff and Students and Parents (and Alumni), to make this possible, are recognized and greatly appreciated.

A Student said — “a huge thank you to Ms. Riben”
“This woman spends hours, an extra hour to travel, and have a rehearsal at 7:15 a.m….”
Even helping student(s) with other subjects!

Flowers, and applause.

Thank you for reading and remembering and sharing in the joy of this Concert.

And even when Ms. Riben was sick, with a cold, and could hardly speak, and very emotional at the end, it was priceless.

Rest well, everyone, rest well



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Spring Concert — Sir John Franklin School

It was another amazing and fantastic year-end concert, performed by bands from Sir John Franklin School.  And interestingly, this is the last year that my daughter, Josie May, will be attending.

Normally, in years past, I would record the audio portion of the concert, but instead, this year, I decided to take copious or (rather write) ‘lots and lots’ of notes and comments instead on a clip board and 4 pieces of (unlined, blank) paper, double sided in my cursive handwriting.

Okay, I will type my notes (here), and eventually refine them if necessary for clarification.  If there is a double quote, (generally) ‘it’ was said by Ms. Jane (Reed) McLauchlin.  And for you musicians (who like to joke) out there, I would rather take a double Reed, than a double Tongue any day!  (Apologies to Bassoon, Oboe, and English Horn players, who were curiously absent, from these Bands — ah, maybe next year, eh?) ((And Apologies to Ms. Jane for disclosing and joking about her maiden name and suggesting that I could ever clone ‘her’, and the tricky ‘tonguing’ project piece of the Grade 7’s — but it made a nice funny, no? — and of course, apologies to the late P.D.Q Bach (R.I.P.) also known as Peter Schikele (Not R.I.P. thankfully or (…) yet! 🙂 ) . ))

Grade 8 (Concert) Band

Snake Bite — nice opening, confident, and deja-vu (for me about remembering previous concerts and dream, interesting…)
– reverberant bass drum thump in the gymnasium

Crystal Moon — project piece – 6 yrs ago, 2 yrs ago, couldn’t get it together.  Now – Yes!
“lots of tonguing and tricky”
– pleasant comforting theme — woodwinds tonguing well, nice low brass, sax melody
– contrasting movement – slow, almost hymn like chorale
– crisp ending.

Uprising — learned in 2 weeks.  WOW!
Kid was crying, carried by Dad, Ms. Jane M. was smiling and acknowledged this (inside joke?)
-Clapping – duples, then “Heys”
-(Curiously) almost like the tune by the group Blondie — Call me Anytime.
-saucy, strident march
– drums a bit heavy for my taste

Junior Jazz Band
While the Junior Jazz Band was setting up, mention of 60 volunteers to thank, was made.
-Ms. Jane said that she was “thrilled to see so many brave souls” and mentioned that she got some mic stands — so [they] will need to hold them — more awkward (perhaps).

Blues Machine
-nice steady groove — forward motion
-trumpet voices – begging conversation
1) funky flute & piano (struggling a bit together [but not bad of course]! 🙂 )
2) trombone solo — bell pointed up, easy slide
3) bari sax — nice. growling (sort of bit)
4) trumpet – glissando down – ATTITUDE! 🙂
5) Alto or Tenor Sax — [like] sticking toes in water
6) Bass Trombone – long cool notes
7) Drum set solo – nice riffs
8) Sax – (a bit off kilter — ended up okay.  Derailling a bit)
-nice ending chord

Gimme Some Lovin’
“Every grade […] in section — to fill in & have some fun”
da da da da dat (my rhythm ‘scat’ attempt capture in words)
-swanky trumpet with cowbell — more attitude — down to business
-nice steady beat-
-‘brave alto sax’ – upper register [REALLY] nice.
-abrupt, yet definite ending

Overall, my impressions are one of excellence in progress, learning, and execution.
It’s a pity that these students perform in a gymnasium though — it would be nice, or rather important that they perform in a properly designed stage or sound theatre.

Grade 7 (Concert) Band
Impressive setting up — well done on the transition seating (and between bands)!

-Well Rounded Sound — comfortable with parts
(Even with ear plugs, the sound still gets through and moves me.)
-Bold, strident quarter and eighth notes
-Woodwinds a bit weak –
-All ended together

Across the Serengeti
-Wide spreads, punctuated with metal blocks
(I almost imagined taking a Safari in Africa (but was distracted by my note taking, maybe closing my eyes would have helped?) — and — nice (and thankfully without Timon and Pumba from Lion King!))

Superheros R Us – Gr.7 project piece, in 6/8 time
Let’s see if I have guessed them right.
-Superman Theme
-Raiders of the Lost Ark
-Spy theme – Bond? / Goldfinger? (snaky — cool jazz)
-Another [I didn’t get this one at the time]
— Austin Powers? (found out that its a Bossa Nova composition, something out of the 60’s)

Ms. Glenda Nixon, who sat by me, said “I recognized them anyways”.
I said that I didn’t get (or guess) them all, Glenda laughed — the missing one for me was Batman (somehow I filtered this one out for some reason! 😉 )

I could tell while listening to this tune, that the students really worked hard putting this together.  Although it was a crowd-pleaser, it had some serious musicality and phrasing.  Well done, Grade 7’s!

Grade 9 (Concert) Band
Interesting tuning strategy — A Dischord, then Chord (Bb flat maybe?!)

-Omnious –curdling reeds, primitive drums
-little ‘estampe’ of sorts – with long lyrical strains-
-rejoining again
-xylophone solo, clapping, tamborines
-fluteys, ‘solid’
-(really) quick rising (standing up) of band after performance! 🙂

Confessions — while the Senior Jazz band was setting up, or just about to start, the Band Tour was talked about — Apparently Tom and Jane “had to limbo!” — (??)

Senior Jazz Band

Backrow Politics
(Interestingly, I sat in the Backrow of the gym, and started getting tired, and noticed and wrote about visuals — ie. certain unusual hair colours — green, purple — alas, I digress.)
-Ultra confident, bright brass, alternating between [or with] the saxes
-Sax section — ‘loopy’ or as I mispelled ‘loupy’
(This is the kind of sound that keeps you awake!)
-Suencenics (sorry, I couldn’t decipher the previous word — ) trumpet solo! — Extremely coherent — nice smear!
-Nice ‘denouement’ (not sure why I used this word, except it seemed to fit) — and (reply)

Blue Moon
Senior Jazz (continued) — Vocalists ‘Paige’ tonight, ‘Taya’ (spelling unsure) tomorrow (luck of draw)
-Slight tremolo / vibrato in Paige’s voice
-nice accompaniment of band — really bright, lyrical saxes
-Paige — a bit or moderately subdued, with occasional bursts
-balance could have been better — more vocalist (would have had to ‘project’ more), especially in lower range, less band (tricky to achieve in gym without person to mix)
-overall, good job — quite the demanding piece.

Swing Machine
-top/low separation and contrasting balance and colours
-Jive feel, and later with Bedrock – Baby!! — Smears !
-good opening, sax solo
-trumpets – frolic(k)

Previous teacher (from Winter Concert) was in attendance.
As I observed her, she was quietly listening with intentness.

Enter Sandman
Before the other Metallica piece started, Ms. Jane said —
“So much more fun when the Bass Player joined us!”
Also, Mr. Reed (if I heard his name right), joined on Electric Guitar
-more cowbell / block — does this make this PG-rated?
Silos on drums, Summer mixup — (Jane error, Tom correction)
(Although not my preferred genre, it was gutsy, grooved heavy, as one would expect)
(Colours of different hair, Purple Buns, Blond ‘Over-comb’ (on flute), notice, esp. on Tour Band change, started being noticed and written more…)

Mention of purchase of Vibraphone of $5,500 from casino funds. Ms. Jane was thankful for the instrument.

Tour Band
Band Tour — “All really hard [pieces]…Really rose to occasion.  [Only] Some of selections (this evening) [or else the cows would come home]”
Typical High Schools, aim for Gr. 4, maybe 5.  All Grade 3 pieces for Gr. 9 — a “Big Achievement”

Star Trek
Original theme — (uni/nice) tympani roll
– lol-la-ping – Lollaping*  theme, exchange
-tears to [my] eyes
-turbulence measures
-clock works — disjointed mood music
-epic music
-blob [like the Blob — B grade 50’s movie, Burt Bacharach] music — thump
-Triumphant, sordid themes
-final blats
* – (a word from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ — Mr. Potts story — the Brown Bear Comes Lollaping)

The Incredibles
– another epic crowd pleaser
-much the same quality as before
-for me, somewhat lack(ing) luster — ‘Dig More!!
-rhythms — tricky, more demanding
-nice smear, glissando ending

Lady Gaga
-picking audience < (less than) jr. high age — [checking if] percussionist ready
-antiphonal da da / da da
-Green shirt Birthday Boy, conducting along, on arm waving, down
-another boy up — 3/4? next one up
-2 girls up / 1 boy –> percussion, tamborines, blocks
-more volunteers — from audience
-girl in red
-(lots of) kids ‘ran’ back (at the end), excitedly, to their families and seats.

Farewells to Ms. Dennis
Students with quotes (missed the first one)
2) “Goes the extra step” and “Has Charisma, care, and free attitude — will be missed”
3) “So many memories — helped make our dreams true, a shoulder to cry on…”
Ms. Jane said “I don’t know what to say.  [There is] another month to cry tears together.”

“Spectacular year — Gr.9’s [will be gone soon]”  (My comment — Why cry?  … And then, on second thought — why not (and good riddance in the nicest, polite terms)?)
(I refrain from making any Lady Gaga jokes for the sake those who like her stuff!)

Pop Culture
Bonanza — nice French Horn solo
Flintstones — clarinets ‘squeaky proper’
Pink Panther – sax, tubas / low brass (smiling — one girl in middle back)
Peter Gunn – a bit muddled — lots of notes
Ah Baby – Be My Girl – sung (NICE!)
(Green Hair, sax, look play?)
Colonel Bogey (or someother march by John Philip Sousa) — Wow! — Piccolo!

And so, I have finished typing my notes from the 4 pages of cursive handwritten stuff.
I hope that you may have enjoyed skim reading them.

As this will probably be my last concert to attend, because my children have left or are leaving Sir John Franklin, I would like to say a few things.

Kudos to you all, especially to the volunteers and staff who have made the last 5 years, from 2012 – 2017 simply amazing.

How can I describe fully in a short blog, what I feel or appreciate?!

And to you, Ms. Jane McLaughlin — well done!!

In memory of the students who have attended and are attending Sir John Franklin —
Never forget who you are, and the wonderful opportunities to make music and change lives!!

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Grease (Part 1 & 1/2)

It’s been a week since I attended the Forest Lawn High School Drama Department’s adaptation of the play ‘Grease’, and I am yearning and wanting to preserve my memories of the play, and especially now as I await the arrival of my ordered DVD.

Greasy Dates — adapted from the Printed Program! 🙂

Unfortunately, I seemed to have misplaced my notes that I made, so I will really have to ‘dig deep’, and remember the salient parts of what I wrote down.

A choice moment, was when there were some silver looking hands that were presented as awards, and a girl said, “Those are weird!”.  Well, most everyone in the audience laughed out loud, something akin to the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, when a child said, “he got nothing on!”.

Like the Lion King 1-1/2, where Billy Crystal as Timon, and the other guy who was Pumba, made jokes about the movie outside of the movie, this rendition of Grease 1 & 1/2, is somewhat akin to the Titanic trying to avoid hitting an iceberg, or me trying to re-live and express meaningful memories.

Alas, the muse has stopped, and the realities of my everyday life, have crept in, and seek to thwart my best intentions, to freely blog, where no blog has freely gone!

I suspect that there will or may be numerous other ‘fractional and incremental’ blogs about this play, as I explore and describe what I enjoyed most.

Stay tune for more exciting stuff, both fantastical and magical…

To read the first post of this well-done play ‘Celebration On Being Human (Part 1)’, please visit

To visit ‘Grease 1 & 3/4’ go to

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Concours musical international de Montréal #CMIM2017

What a Gala & Awards Ceremony!!
Words can not express the total impact that this competition has had on my life the last 12 days, from May 1st to 12th!

Screen Shot of CBC Music Blog by Robert Rowat, taken late evening, May 12th from

It made so much of an impact, that I found myself literally mesmerized at my computer screen, unable to do much else, except for rapturously listen and watch and even do YouTube Live Chat on the final night of this most prestigious and glorious event.

Screen shot of Giuseppe Guarrera (and presenter of an award) at the Gala, who was the winner of many prizes at #CMIM2007 and my LIVE YouTube chat

Even though I was not able to attend this Competition and Gala in person, thanks to the marvel of streaming Internet video with quality high speed stereo sound and realistic looking high definition moving pictures, I felt as if I was transported to almost being there emotionally.

At times, I was so engaged in capturing pictures and listening intently to the classically romantic music that was performed by some of the world’s finest young adult pianists, that I felt like I was unable to keep up to the brilliant and rapid pace of the competition in absorbing and processing its grandeur.

As an amateur, volunteer, and aficionado of classical and acoustic piano, I was motivated in promoting this event to others, so that they could also enjoy this, as much as I was enjoying it.  And what is also remarkable, is that through the YouTube channel of Concours musical international de Montréal at, one can revisit these thrilling moments of interpretation and expression through performance.

Words, of course, can not adequately express the joy that I have felt, as it was building in a ‘crescendo’ like manner, as I became more able to appreciate and listen and respect the work of the 19th Century to our ‘present day’ composers of music for the piano and also with orchestra.

I hope to write many more blogs and references to this blog, and hope that you, my dear reader, will have also discovered a treasure of fine music making here.

As I conclude this blog, I would like to close with this LIVE YouTube chat, that I participated in while I was watching the GALA.  Please visit to preview the hyper-text markup language (html) text in Microsoft Word 97/2003 document format.

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