Ian Hampton

VIDEO: Langley concert and five new songs inspired by Canada’s 150th

Familiar faces from Langley Community Music School were asked to create Canadian pieces for Nov. 25.

Five new songs, composed by current or former faculty at Langley Community Music School – and all inspired by this country’s stunning landscape – are being premiered this weekend during a special Canada 150 concert.

Every year, LCMS celebrates Canada Music Week with a concert. It’s a tradition, said assistant principal Carolyn Granholm.

Five new songs, composed by current or former faculty at Langley Community Music School – and all inspired by this country’s stunning landscape – are being premiered this weekend during a special Canada 150 concert.

Every year, LCMS celebrates Canada Music Week with a concert. It’s a tradition, said assistant principal Carolyn Granholm.

“We do it every year, but this year we’re doing something extra special,” she elaborated.

Since it was the country’s 150th birthday, LCMS decided to approach five musicians back in January, and commission them to each write something “inspired by Canada’s diverse geography,” Granholm said.

The Golden Ears mountains, the Skeena train that runs from Jasper to Prince Rupert, and the Ogopogo that apparently lives in the Okanagan Lake are among the subject matter featured in their finished works.

The pieces will actually be performed by students, explained school principal Susan Magnusson.

“We wanted to do something for the students, and we wanted it to connect with our school community,” she said.

This concert will feature LCMS’ children’s choir and fiddlers, as well as other students and faculty, who have been working all fall to prepare for this weekend’s show.

“This is probably one of the best student concerts of the year,” Granholm added.

Inspirations for their music

These pieces had to reflect and relate to Canada and its geography, ie. places they love, Magnusson said.

For former school principal Ian Hampton his long-time fascination with the Naitaka (the Salish name for the Ogopogo or lake monster) inspired him to create a number called Naitaka for cello quartet and piano.

“The monster is represented by the four cellos; the piano is the lake,” he said of his piece.

Hampton’s musical career took root in the U.K. and continued in Canada after he moved in 1966.

Hampton has spent more than 30 years with the Langley music school, where he remains a faculty member, and is presently artistic director emeritus.

Current faculty member Rachel Button, an England-born singer, songwriters, and vocal coach, composed a song called Welcome Home.

This song – written for a guitarist and vocalist – was created in collaboration with Tim Taylor, a Canadian songwriter who lived and worked in Nashville for more than 20 years.

Welcome Home celebrates the diversity of the Canadian landscape and the people who call Canada their home,” said Button, a former Langley, now a Kerrisdale, resident.

Another piece was created by retired faculty member Leslie Janos.

His song, entitled Golden Ears Embrace, was written for flute and piano. It just so happens he’s a pianist, and his wife Caroline – also a former music teacher – plays the flute.

“I consider Golden Ears Mountain to be an incredible example of life… teeming with creatures, birds, and animals. Having camped, canoed, climbed up to the peak, over glacier like terrain, I have a fondness for its great presence in our Fraser Valley,” said the Langley resident.

“My piece is simply and probably an inadequate (but sincere) impression of the way I feel about it,” Janos concluded.

South Surrey resident and world-renowned pianist and composer Marcel Bergmann – a LCMS teacher – produced a number called Take the Skeena.

“Trains and train rides have been a source of enjoyment and inspiration for me since my early childhood,” Bergmann said.

“Over the last 15 years, the train theme has become one of my favourite sources for musical inspiration, as well. Most of the magic of the older steam and diesel-powered trains have vanished over time, however, throughout the vast and majestic landscapes of Canada and the atmosphere of a ‘lonely’ train, making its way through the days and nights, is still very present and reminds us of the railroad’s significant role that is connected to the discovery and exploration of this land.

“The title for my new work refers to the train that runs from Jasper to Prince Rupert. It’s now known as ‘Trains 5/6’ but was formerly called the Skeena. I would like to thank the LCMS for commissioning this new piece, and I am looking forward to the upcoming premiere with much anticipation.”

And last, but not least, internationally recognized Loverboy keyboardist, and former LCMS teacher, Doug Johnson (Magusson’s nephew) wrote a song for the school.

The South Surrey resident wrote Canada’s for Me specific for a children’s choir and piano.

“We are proud and free to be what we can be. It’s for you and me. Far as you can see. Yes, I do believe Canada’s for me!” said Johnson, who is the “talent” behind numerous musical composition projects that include film, television, radio, song writing, and musical theatre.

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Free show begins at 2

The school’s Canadian Music Festival Concert – a Canada 150 celebration – begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, with the commissioned works being performed during the first half of the show.

The LCMS fiddlers, under the direction of Andrea Taylor, will also be performing during the first part of the show. They will be performing a variety of Canadian fiddle tunes from Cape Breton and beyond, Magnusson said.

The second half of the show, which starts at 3:30 p.m., will feature performances by students of all levels, including at least six students performing their own compositions.

This is a free event. The concert will be held in the Langley Community Music School’s Rose Gellert Hall, at 4899 207th St.

 

Rachel Button

Tim Taylor (who collaborated with Rachel Button)

Leslie Janos

Marcel Bergmann

Doug Johnson

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