New York, Paris, London and Montreal were among the great cities featured at the Glendon Musical Ensemble’s latest production, Stories of the Street performed on February 5th, 6th and 7th at the Glendon Theatre.
Upon entering, members of the audience were immediately transported to a jazzy cityscape, with a haunting background of shadows and skylights at dusk. It was no small feat that in this bitter Toronto winter, through dramatic staging and lighting effects, one could almost feel the cool breeze of a summer night falling on the city, as the show was about to start.
Thirty talented Glendon singers and instrumentalists in colourful tops brought many different musical genres to the stage, from pop to rock, to folk and jazz, and even hip-hop, underlining the changes – both artistic and social – that have been taking place in our urban spaces. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious, bringing the audience more than once to sustained applause.
Choir members singing "Penny Lane"
Projected photography and video footage provided an effective backdrop to the music and the poetry, evoking the many faces of modern cities through twenty pieces: songs interspersed with poetry, offering powerful descriptions of urban scenes. “It was a really great show and I especially enjoyed some of the readings, which were very street-like”, commented Jonathan, a 4th-year Glendon mathematics student. “Having grown up in the city, this show makes me feel happy and proud to be here”, added Maria, a Glendon student attending her 4th year in psychology and linguistics. “I think there should be a CD made of it.”
Left: Soloist Charlotte Petrie, guitarists Duncan Cameron, Breno Horsth and Guy Larocque and drummer Jeremy Wright perform "Beautiful Day"
The audience was taken on a two-hour virtual journey with unique arrangements of well-known favourites, such as Bruce Springsteen’s Streets of Philadelphia, Simon and Garfunkel’s At the Zoo, Billy Strayhorn’s great classic - Take the ‘A’ Train, and the Beatles’ Penny Lane. But there were fresh, new hits as well, including Ariane Moffat’s Montréal, Moxy Früvous’ King of Spain and K-OS’ Crabbuckit, which had to be performed twice in response to continued applause. “[Ralph McTell’s] The Streets of London took me back to a place I have visited several times”, said May Ralston, family member of one of the performers, who was most impressed with the evening’s quality. “You can see how much they enjoy performing and I am amazed at the amount of work these young people put into it […] - I wish I could sing like that.“
Right: Soloist/guitarist Duncan Cameron, keyboardist Luc Mallet and bassist Lesley Bartlett perform "Summer in the City"
In its 9th season this year, the Glendon Musical Ensemble (GME) has been particularly active in campus programs, adding a great deal of enhancement and ambiance to events such as the Remembrance Day ceremony, holiday concerts and Christmas-caroling during December. “Before each year, we develop a vision for our concerts without knowing who our members will be”, state co-directors of the Ensemble, Glendon students Laura Cameron and Hannah Renglich, in their program notes. “Fortunately, we are always astounded by both the talents and the commitment of Glendon’s musicians.”
Left: Soloist Michelle Longo, guitarist Breno Horsth, bassist Duncan Cameron and drummer Jeremy Wright perform "Palmeira"
Stories of the Street provided a wonderful evening, where everybody’s musical taste was indulged. It was travelling without leaving the theatre, yet making all those present feel that they have had many familiar, as well as exotic experiences.
More about the Glendon Musical Ensemble
The Glendon Musical Ensemble (GME) was formed in 1999 as a student initiative, under the patronage of Glendon’s Artistic and Cultural Affairs, within the Office of Student Services. Its mandate is to foster the study of music and provide opportunities to the members of the entire community, in order to experience and learn about music across all time frames, styles and ethnic origins. The GME consists of vocal and instrumental sections, featuring a blend of modern and period instruments. Currently, over thirty singers and instrumentalists - students, faculty, alumni and friends of Glendon – participate, motivated by a common love of music and performance.
Article submitted by 2nd-year Glendon psychology student Cindyrella Miranda in her capacity as communications intern, in collaboration with Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny