Celebration Day!

At Festival HQ we are still pulling together the pieces of our Celebration Day on August 9th. Our resident blogger Ken Stephen has some thoughts on the occasion:

The All-Day 40th Birthday Party

The Festival of the Sound is celebrating its 40th birthday with an all-day gala birthday party like no other.

Since the Festival’s beginnings, it’s been dedicated to presenting great music played by fantastic musicians, so this party will certainly have music every step of the way.  In fact, the day has been billed as a presentation of 40 musical works for 40 years.

That description sounds like a musical feast as full, rich and entertaining as a banquet for hobbits.

Like any good birthday party, the day also includes plenty of surprises – although these surprises are for the audiences rather than for the birthday person.  The Festival’s management has let a few hints drop in recent weeks, so here’s a sneak preview of what to expect.

The party kicks off at 10:30 in the morning of Friday, August 9.  The Island Queen V sails from the Parry Sound town dock on a morning musical cruise.

After the ship returns to town, the next stage of the party involves a group of birthday concerts, and here’s where things get really mysterious.  Venues, programmes, and artists are all being held under tight wraps.  These concerts run from noon to 4:00pm, and admission to all of them is included in one single party pass.

At 4:00, there’s a musical tea being held at the Festival Station Gallery.  This event requires a separate ticket and capacity is limited, so anyone wanting to attend should order early.

At 5:00, there’s a musical barbecue, venue TBA.

The day is crowned with a celebration concert at 7:30 pm in the Stockey Centre.  And here’s where another significant anniversary gets celebrated.

This 40th season of the Festival is also the 35th season of James Campbell’s tenure as Artistic Director.

There’s a star-studded roster of over 30 artists listed to perform in this concert, as a tribute to Jim on his remarkable 35 years of steering this Festival from strength to strength.  Many of them are long-time Festival favourites, who’ve been coming to Parry Sound for decades.

You can expect the Penderecki and New Zealand String Quartets, the Canadian Guitar Quartet, the Cheng² Duo, Leslie Fagan, Moshe Hammer, R. H. Thomson, Glen Montgomery, Suzanne Shulman, Jim Mason, Jim McKay, Graham Campbell, and Jim Campbell himself – to name only a few.

I’ve had a sneak peek at the programme page, and it includes one hint of repertoire: Mendelssohn’s spectacular and beloved string Octet, a frequent and perennial favourite with Festival audiences.  That one piece alone will make this a concert worth attending.

What else may happen at this gala honoring Jim Campbell’s 35 years is all speculation, but it’s sure to be both musically amazing and entertaining, in the best Festival tradition of enjoying some great music and some good laughs all rolled into one package.

Only the Festival of the Sound could dream up such a spectacular birthday celebration.  Everyone should plan to come for at least some parts of this party!

If you want to join me in attending the full day of events, you’ll need four tickets: the cruise, the afternoon pass, the tea, and the evening gala concert.