Curtain set to rise on new season for the Moncton Community Concert Association

The Moncton Community Concert Association began in 1934 as a part of the North American Community Concerts organization. In the years since, it has brought a wide range of world-class acts to Hub City, including The Canadian Brass (1978), and the Vienna Boys Choir in 1959. In more recent times, shows have featured the Foothills Brass and violinist Marc Djokic.

The association is now entering its 78th season and is getting ready to launch the newest round of programming. The 2012-2013 season kicks off with a concert on Friday night featuring New Brunswick flutist Sally Wright and classical guitarist Steven Peacock with accompaniment by renowned percussionist and Université de Moncton professor Michel Deschenes.

Wright and Peacock are both veterans of the classical music scene in the province. In addition to thriving solo careers, they perform together as Duo Cantilina, delighting audiences all over the Maritimes and beyond.

Wright, a Moncton native, studied at Dalhousie University, London’s Guildhall School Of Music and Drama and California’s Holy Names College. She joined Symphony New Brunswick in 1991 and has performed as a soloist throughout the Maritimes, and in London and San Francisco.

Steven Peacock is a classical guitarist, composer and choral conductor. Like Wright, he has performed as a soloist and an an accompanist in a variety of live and recording arrangements throughout Canada.

Though he and Wright are familiar with each other’s styles, inviting percussionist Deschenes to join them for their show this Friday has been a wonderful learning experience for all concerned; a breath of fresh air, if you will.

The show will feature pieces influenced by music from around the globe, including Spain and South America.

Peacock shares that while they will be performing songs that will be familiar to some, they are also incorporating music that is not as well-known.

‘Each of us is trained in the techniques used for our instruments,’ he says. ‘It lends an immediate access and directness to the music. There is a distinct emotional appeal to the music that we will be performing. It’s something that grabs people.’ Wright says the idea to bring Michel into the fold came about when she saw him perform alongside the Chorale Beauséjour of which she is also a member.

‘I was so impressed with Michel’s versatility. It was obvious that he was a great musician,’ she says. ‘The majority of these pieces that we will be performing already have a very strong sense of rhythm, however Michel helps add some additional colour into the songs.

‘A lot of the music we play can be very subtle and very subdued and Michel’s choice of instruments to include on these songs opened up a new realm of possibilities for us.

It has been fun for the three of us to share ideas and discuss who will take the melody in certain songs.’ Percussionist Michel Deschenes got his start on the drums around the time that he was 12 years old. It was a performance by a Quebecois percussion ensemble that ultimately resonated with him and opened his eyes to the exciting possibilities that lay in the world of percussion.

Though Deschenes had not previously performed with Wright or Peacock, he was keen to join them on stage.

‘Being the newcomer does not discourage me at all,’ he laughs. ‘I look forward to bringing rhythm and colours to the music with Sally and Steven. The instruments I will be using, including the marimba and vibraphone add an exotic feel to these songs and ultimately really blends in well with Steven’s guitar and Sally’s flute.’ An exciting year lies ahead for the Moncton Community Concert Association. The October show features baritone Philippe Sly and pianist Michael McMahon.

Sly is the recent winner of The Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Competition and has performed as Don Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program under his belt.

McMahon is a rising star in the classical music scene, having performed throughout Canada, Europe and the United States with vocalists including New Brunswick native Measha Brueggergosman.

The association’s first show of 2013 will feature renowned pianist Todd Yaniw, an extraordinarily talented musician who received his Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music Diploma shortly after he turned 12 years old and who debuted with the Edmonton Symphony at age 13. Yaniw is a two-time national winner of the Canadian Music Competition and has impressed audiences around the globe, including in Monaco, London, and New York City.

Article published in the September 20, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript