“If music be the food of love, play on.” This is a quote from one of my favourite Shakespeare plays talking about how music can be used to indulge in our interests and bring great joy. I found there to be much joy and great talent at the 72nd annual Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival and President’s Trophy Showcase.The talent that these young people (okay, I say young people, but we’re talking my age range and below here) is simply astounding.
During the first half of the evening, I was treated to a variety of different instruments and music styles. One of my favourite performances was a duo, of Bandura players in traditional Ukrainian costume.
The post-interval program began with the Ho Deng Music Ensemble, playing the gu zheng (a type of Chinese zither) and wearing beautiful blue satin dresses. Julia Mirzoev, blew the other 6 competitors away with her stellar performance of a Mendelssohn Concerto, winning the President’s Award. Emily D’Angelo won the runner-up prize singing 2 pieces by Duparc (Chanson Triste) and Rossini (Contro un cor).
It’s a terrible shame that there is such a negative connotation to the word “Amateur” and that people turn their noses up at the mention of the word. In reality, some of the best performers and the most talented artists are those who are not considered “professional” and are your friends and neighbours. With such a beautiful evening, I strongly encourage anyone who can – support your local music and arts programs, like the Kiwanis club, that work exclusively on donations, with little to no government funding. It may be the thing that inspires some young person to be the next Mozart or Rossini.