Mixed bag of performers at “5 @ 1st” opening 2020 concert Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
For their first concert of the new decade  5 at the First had no less than twelve string players in a quartet, several duos and finally an octet.  The program began with a quartet from the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Beth Cushnie & Elise deBlieck violin, Sarah Cushnie, viola and cellist Christiana Lammers playing the first movement of Antonin Dvorak’s String Quartet in F major.  This is a group of 16 & 17 year olds who have played together for about six months who played this difficult piece very well, especially once they overcame their initial tension and relaxed into the music.

the performers for 5@ 1st’s 2020 opening concert

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A delightful H.P.O. Closing 2019 concert Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

‘Tis the season to be jolly” and director Gemma New’s Hamilton Philharmonic ended the year with what epitomizes eclectic and certainly jolly. A projected BBC cartoon, recited and orchestrially accompanied; Hamilton’s Youth Choir; and the musicians of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra augmenting their more mature professionals. Something for everyone.
From a vibrant opening interpretation of Anderson’s ‘Christmas Festival’ to the sing-along ending, this was an evening with something for every taste and especially, every age group.  The youth choir under long-time director Zimfira Poloz performed works by Quartel; Kastalsky and Saindon.
*

  “ILLUMINI” – the Ham’n Children’s Choir with the HPO

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“O.A.R.’s TOP TEN for 2019 ” Reply

Opinion by O.A.R. administrators
Dec. 15th, 2019

Age is finally catching up with us (almost) ancient critical scribes. We attended and wrote about fewer cultural events due to octogenarian fatigue, aches, and general ennui. Still, enough energy to have adequate content from which to select the ten most effecting.

HAMILTON PHILHARMONIC. The whole season was superlative. The HPO’s musicians are all “A-Team” worthy; the conductor’s renown in the orchestral community continues to grow; and the eclectic program has something for everyone. The works chosen please, educate and entertain. The HPO is a credit to its host city and especially its audience. Kudos for a 2nd year in the black! *

Matt Nethersole inviting us to BRIGADOON’s “McConnachy Square

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, @ S.LT Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

‘APRICOT’, noun; a fruit. Seventy-odd years ago by spelling it APRACOT, this scribe lost out on making history as the only Grade 6 entry on Iona Ave. Public School’s Spelling Bee team. Haven’t eaten one since! So, why bring back old memories by attending a performance of Simcoe Little Theatre’s iteration of the Finn/Sheinkin play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, here-to-for abbreviated “T25APCSB”. Because it’s a cute bit of fluff and especially because the major members of the cast are kids. Talented kids, adorable kids, funny kids- what’s NOT to like?
The directing team of Tony & Michelle Proracki both have teaching and musical backgrounds.   Photo by RoseLe Studio

Jim Donovan & Jada Dawson competing, observed by a dour Rylea O’Toole

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“THIS IS WAR”; as gritty & intense as the real thing Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Hannah Moscovitch is an acclaimed young Canadian writer with a plethora of awards that are not only impressive but especially so given her (almost) tender years. For Theatre Erindale and its director Anita La Selva to decide on staging THIS IS WAR is more than just a challenge, it is a gamble! The play may run only ninety minutes long but for the quartet on stage; and especially for the audience; this is an exceptional demand. The plot-line concerns four Canadian Armed Forces grunts deployed to Afghanistan who have just completed a joint operation with the local militia and it appears that a slaughter may have occurred.

l-r, Ackerman; Boston; Sidlofsky & Cadwell     (Photo by Michael Slater

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“MAMMA MIA”; Theatre Ancaster takes a chance… Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
First saw the Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) silliness ages ago when everybody trooped to Mirvish’s King Street theatre to hear, sing & dance to the mega hit. Thought the movie version (Streep/Brosnan etc.) was a disaster. Last night I again felt the excitement experienced in Toronto during the last century!. It’s toe-tapping; titillating; hummable and certainly encourages muted singing along. Well staged; superbly sung & acted and meticulously directed. Ancaster may be a community theatre, but its efforts are highly professional productions. Their 2018 “CHICAGO” made our O.A.R. Top Ten List and MAMMA MIA is a definite contender for 2019.

Cast & crew of Ancaster’s MAMMA MIA 2019   Photo by John Gillett

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