Minor Music celebrates youth musicianship

Belle Hatfield
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Alex Surette performs one of his compositions, backed up by the Rhapsody Quintet.

By Belle Hatfield




Minor Music wrapped up a day of workshops and clinics with a showcase before a full house at the Rodd Grand Hotel Saturday evening, Oct. 13. The evening concert showcased the work of many of the youth who worked with Rhapsody Quintet, country/blues performers Ryan Cook and John Campbelljohn, jazz drummer Jerry Granelli, and fiddler Sébastien Dol. Also showcased were the works of local high school art students.

Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney was in the audience.

“I don’t know what it takes to be a superstar in Nashville, but if Ryan Cook doesn’t have it nobody does,” he said, adding, “The orchestra [Rhapsody Quintet] were just great … if I heard they were playing, I would go see them, anytime, anywhere.”

Mooney said the event is growing and he believes it has the potential to become a destination event for western Nova Scotia.

“The whole thing was professionally done and the quality of the music? They had something for everybody,” he said.

  Breaking down barriers that sometimes segment music into genres has been one of the goals of organizer Kim Anderson since the event’s inception and pulling in classically trained musicians to headline the concerts and lead the master classes this year was a big leap.

For David Langstroff, who is one of the quintet’s principal arrangers and plays double bass, the gamble paid off.

“No matter what genre you come from, it’s finding the places where you all connect musically,” said Langstroff.

On Saturday Anderson was in the audience during the quintet’s arranging workshop when Grade 12 student Alex Surette first played through his original keyboard composition with the quintet’s arrangement backing him up.

“There he is a rock drummer [with the Yarmouth band Rockabillys] – and I don’t know if he realized what that was going to feel like, when the strings began coming in and he heard what they had done with his song.”

It was an emotional moment.

Looking back on the weekend, she says, “we really did exceed our vision, but there’s still more to do.”

 “The workshops were very instructive,” said Langstroff. “It is not a one-way street. We got to hear this wonderful enthusiasm and young talent that is coming up and we really enjoy doing that.”

Anderson would like to extend the work-shopping element and perhaps bring them into school music programs, perhaps three or four times through the year, with Minor Music acting as the showcase for the students’ work at the end.

Minor Music opened with an art auction and drumming demonstration at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia western branch. The auction raised just over $2,000, which will be used to develop a bursary for students planning to continue studies in music. David Gorman was on stage Friday evening during the highlight concert in Tusket, painting during the performances of Unisson and Rhapsody Quintet.  That painting will form the basis for next year’s art auction.


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