Festival of the Sound’s Music Scores 2022 presents “Wandering with Wonder” with Samantha Whelan-Kotkas, Mark Limacher and Walter MacDonald Whitebear
Inspired by the land, water and sky, ‘Wandering with Wonder’ is an immersive musical storytelling experience using the arts to reconnect students with nature. On this journey, students will meet a magical young woman, Wonder, who guides them through a journey with her friends, Turtle, Eagle, Beaver and Bear. Through her eyes, we experience the transformational power of nature, music and friendship as she goes in search of her lost song.
This Spring, Parry Sound elementary school students will collaborate with Artists Samantha Whelan-Kotkas, Mark Limacher and Walter MacDonald White Bear. This incredible trio of teaching artists will bring an exciting multi-disciplinary, educational experience to our students that inspires imagination and creativity through music.
Through individual class visits in Parry Sound, students Grades 4-6 will hear instruments, teachings, and stories of the land taught by Walter – a Cree singer-songwriter, educator and motivational speaker, originally from Moose Factory First Nation. Reflecting on these teachings, students will create their own compositions with pianist Mark Limacher, an accomplished composer and improviser.
Ultimately, students will gain first-hand experience using music as an avenue for self-expression, reflecting on the process through storytelling with trumpet player, and educator Samantha Whelan-Kotkas. Samantha’s boundless energy, extensive education, musicianship and understanding of multi-disciplinary performance make her stand out as one of Canada’s top performers.
This year’s two-week virtual residency will culminate in a final performance on April 8th featuring music created together with our students and our visiting artists!
This adapted version for Parry Sound students of Wandering with Wonder is inspired by Samantha Whelan-Kotkas’ immersive, outdoor work of the same name.
Music Scores is the Festival of the Sound’s unique initiative to bring professional musicians to Parry Sound twice each year for visits to all of the elementary schools in the region. Every spring and fall, Festival musicians visit students in grade 4 to 6 at our local schools to get to know the students in an informal atmosphere, share about their instrument(s) and passion for music, and participate in an interactive, mutual learning experience. At the end of the week, approximately 700 students then travel to the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts to listen to the musicians, now their friends, in a formal concert setting.
The Festival of the Sound is dedicated to providing innovative, creative, thematic programming. This includes our “off-season” music educational projects.
The love of music often begins in childhood and the Festival is committed to bringing world-class, professional classical musicians into our local schools. During the school year, we organize an exciting and innovative music education outreach program called Music Scores. Through this program, the students are provided opportunities to meet professional musicians, learn together with them, and attend professional concerts at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts.
Our Spring 2019 Music Scores program featured the sibling string quartet Quatuor Despax from Gatineau, Quebec. Travelling to all ten local public, Indigenous, and Catholic schools, the quartet performed classical, Latin-American folk, and even movie and video game soundtrack music for the students. In addition to teaching the students about their instruments, the quartet performed musical requests from the students (Star Wars was a request at every school!), much to the students’ excitement. The week concluded with a final concert featuring guitarist Graham Campbell (Fall 2017, Spring 2015, Spring 2014). The program included a string quartet written for Quatuor Despax by their father as a gift to their mother, and music from across the globe including Brazil and France. Both the quartet and our local students had a great time together.
Our 2019 Fall Music Scores session featured eight world-class musicians that came together to form the Chamber Ensemble “Octagon”. The ensemble featured violinists Martin Beaver and Mark Fewer, violist Rivka Golani, cellist Rachel Mercer, bassist Joel Quarrington, horn player Ken MacDonald, bassoonist Kathleen McLean, and clarinettist James Campbell. They joined forces to play “A Drop of Light”, a brand new piece written specifically for the Ensemble by one of Canada’s hottest young composers, Kevin Lau, who was also present.
Music Scores primarily focuses on reaching students in grades 4-6; however, many schools often engage their entire student population for the in-school opportunities with the musicians. Music Scores includes all of the local elementary schools within the Near North District School Board, Wasauksing Kinomaugewgamik School, Shawanaga Kinomaugewgamik Elementary School, and St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School. The population of the area includes many youth who are at risk because of poverty, isolation, or lack of opportunity. For most children, Music Scores is their first and only live concert experience. Current research continually shows what educations and artists have known intuitively for many years: exposure to music and the arts helps children to build self-confidence, express their creativity, and perform better in school.
In 2010, Fran Brown, a dedicated concert-goer from the Festival’s inception, made a generous donation to ensure that children would have the opportunities to experience classical music at a young age that she didn’t. The Youth Music Education Fund was established to ensure the future of Music Scores.
The Festival of the Sound welcomes any assistance to grow the funds within the Youth Music Education Fund. A tax-deductible donation will make you a part of this exciting initiative!
The students themselves give the best testimonials to the success of the Festival of the Sound’s Music Scores program. Read below to see what some of the students have enjoyed over the years!
The part that I like best about the Music Scores program is…
- “When we all got to sing and do instrument together! I thought it was super fun!!!” – P.S.P.S, Grade 5
- “Learning the different cultures of music and comparing them to others.” – P.S.P.S, Grade 6
- “Was when you guys played Brazilian music with the guitarist” – P.S.P.S, Grade 5
- “Practicing and performing with the Quatuor Despax and learning how they got engaged with music” – P.S.P.S. Grade 5
- “I liked when they played songs that I know like Super Mario and Happy and Spiderman.” – Abby, Grade 5
- “That the musicians told us about their instruments and that they played the music we know.” – Emma, Grade 5
- “I really enjoyed the music. I would like to see it again. I really liked the trumpet.” Parker, Grade 4
- “That the musicians played songs I liked like Mario, Pink Panther, etc. And when they were playing Pink Panther they asked for audience participation.” – Frannie, Grade 5
- “I liked the Music Scores because you played my favourite song. Good work.” – Steven, Grade 4
- “That the musicians took their time to come to our school and perform for us. Also a lot of money was put in for their instruments.” – Evelyn, Grade 5
- “The musicians let us participate like clapping for the song Happy.” – Jenny, Grade 4
- “The themes that they played like Pink Panther, Happy, etc. and when they introduce the instrument. It inspired me to play music.” – Rush, Grade 5
- “That us kids can see great musicians perform! Also we get to witness great performances. I love the Music Scores. That’s what I think of the Music Scores!” – Alexis, Grade 5
- “That they played songs I like, like Happy. I also like that they work hard to practice playing so kids can learn more.” – Sarah, Grade 4
- “Thank you for the beautiful music.” – Travis, Grade 6
- “I loved how the performers were so nice to us.” – Josh, Grade 5
- “The music is wonderful. I mean great songs, great musicians equals great.” – Anonymous, Grade 4
Through Music Scores, our local students get to meet professional musicians from all “wavelengths” of the musical spectrum. All of the artists listed below have been involved in our Music Scores program; without them, none of this would be possible. The Festival greatly appreciates their participation and we thank each of them for their dedication to and passion for youth music education. We know the students do too!
- Kathleen McLean, bassoon (Fall 2019)
- Joel Quarrington, double bass (Fall 2019)
- Rachel Mercer, cello (Fall 2019)
- Rivka Golani, viola (Fall 2019)
- Kevin Lau, composer (Fall 2019)
- Mark Fewer, violin (Fall 2019)
- Martin Beaver, violin (Fall 2019)
- James Campbell, clarinet (Fall 2019, Spring 2015, Spring 2013, Fall 2007, Fall 2005)
- Quatuor Despax, string quartet (Spring 2019)
- Ken MacDonald, French horn ( Fall 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2013, Fall 2007, Fall 2005)
- Jodi Baker Contin, hand drum (Fall 2018)
- Canadian Guitar Quartet (Spring 2018)
- Graham Campbell, guitar (Fall 2017, Spring 2015, Spring 2014)
- Cecilia String Quartet (Spring 2017)
- TorQ, percussion quartet (Fall 2016, Spring 2012)
- Guy Few, trumpet (Spring 2016)
- Olivia Esther, French horn (Spring 2016)
- Rachel Thomas, trombone (Spring 2016)
- Patricia O’Callaghan, soprano (Fall 2015)
- Robert Kortgaard, piano (Fall 2015, Fall 2014)
- Joe Phillips, double bass (Fall 2015)
- Shannon Mercer, soprano (Fall 2014)
- Colin Ainsworth, tenor (Fall 2014)
- Chris Kettlewell, double bass (Spring 2014)
- Karen Ng, saxophone (Spring 2014)
- Trillium Brass Quintet (Fall 2013)
- Suzanne Shulman, flute (Spring 2013, Fall 2007, Fall 2005)
- Elizabeth Eccleston, oboe (Spring 2013)
- James McKay, bassoon (Spring 2013, Fall 2007, Fall 2005)
- Strings Across the Sky (Fall 2012, Fall 2009)
- Elmer Iseler Singers, choir (Fall 2011)
- National Ballet – YOUdance (Spring 2011)
- Chase Sanborn, trumpet (Fall 2010)
- Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (Spring 2010, Spring 2006)
- Peter McGillivray, baritone et al. (Spring 2009)
- True North Brass (Fall 2008)
- Zapp4 (Spring 2008)
- James Mason (Fall 2007, Fall 2005)
The Festival of the Sound thanks the following for the support that makes Music Scores possible:
- Frances M. Brown, lead donor
- Near North District School Board
- In Memory of Roy Hardie
- Rotary Club of Parry Sound