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Archive for the ‘Music’

Ringing and remembering: There aren’t enough tolls

February 27, 2018 @ 15:00 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Handbells

One of my favourite pieces of music to play on handbells is Make Me An Instrument Of Thy Peace by Kevin McChensey. It’s a beautifully moving piece of music, that takes full advantage of all the handbells my choir has. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve played it over the years, playing it both with just my choir and organ, and larger massed choirs, including in 2005 at a handbell festival in Ottawa with a huge number of choirs.

He based it on the 13th century prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and dedicated it to “the victims of the shooting at Columbine High School and other acts of senseless violence”. A few years ago, while talking to him (Kevin, not St. Francis) about commissioning a piece of music, I mentioned it. He told me that it was actually his second attempt at writing a piece of music in memory of those who died at the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999. The first attempt was apparently too dark and sad and not what he was trying to achieve. I’m glad he made a second attempt, but I wish he hadn’t had to write it at all.

The piece starts and ends with 12 tolls and a final chord. Each chord represents one of the people who were killed at Columbine.

Here’s a photo of the last couple of lines. You can see the chords starting at bar 109.

We’ve been rehearsing it for the last few practices, but yesterday evening’s practice was the first I’ve been at since the horrible shootings in Florida and I couldn’t help but think about the victims and survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There aren’t enough tolls for them.

One of the many videos on YouTube of it being played on handbells…

A Touch of Brass: As Seen On TV

December 19, 2011 @ 15:27 By: gordon Category: Handbells, Out and about

I was up well before the crack o’ dawn this morning to play bells with the other people in A Touch of Brass on CTV Ottawa’s Morning Live show. We played two pieces this year: Christmas Angels Medley and Let It Snow.

The two segments have been posted on YouTube by CTV and I have to say I think these are our best appearances on the show, yet:


The B-52s and me: Some history and a review

July 10, 2010 @ 01:08 By: gordon Category: General, Music, Reviews

image I’ve been a fan of The B-52s for a long time. The first concert of theirs I went to was in San Diego on December 31st, 1989. I was visiting a penpal and she had tickets for the show. The show opened and I was hooked. (Thanks, Kara!) One of the things that stands out in my mind was Love Shack, which they played over midnight. It ran for 10 or 15 minutes and set the house on fire.  You can read an article about the show from Spin Magazine online.

The next time I saw them was later on the same tour when they played Massey Hall in Toronto. I was in the balcony looking down at the show and had a great time. The show almost ground to a halt, however, when some pinhead grabbed a stuffed lobster that was tied to one of the microphone stands. Fortunately, they retrieved the lobster, but before they basically singled out the offender and told him what he’d done was “not cool”.

I’ve also seen them in Ottawa once or twice – one time at the Ex.


Photos from The B-52s at the Ottawa Bluesfest

July 09, 2010 @ 02:26 By: gordon Category: Music, Out and about, Photography

image I took a few photos (ok, 292’ish… whatever) at the B-52s concert at the Ottawa Bluesfest. I’ve dropped some of them into a gallery, which you can view here.

Commentary sometime Friday. 🙂

The B-52s at Bluesfest

July 08, 2010 @ 21:54 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Music, Out and about

Just a quick photo of the B-52s on stage at Bluesfest during Private Idaho.

More pictures to follow…

Pictures of KISS at Ottawa Bluesfest posted

July 16, 2009 @ 10:49 By: gordon Category: Music, Photography

I’ve posted all the pictures I took of KISS on-stage at the Ottawa Bluesfest. You can view them here.

KISS at Bluesfest

July 16, 2009 @ 02:05 By: gordon Category: Music, Out and about, Photography

KISS at Bluesfest 2009 004

I headed down to the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest at Lebreton Flats Wednesday evening to see KISS in concert.

This was my first KISS concert, which apparently put me in the minority based on the fact that there were tons of people in KISS makeup. I enjoyed it enough and can put a tick next to “Seen KISS in concert”. Rock and Roll All Nite was pretty impressive, with lots of fireworks and confetti cannons. Very cool!

I took a lot of pictures, some of which you can see by clicking on the images below. Sooner or later I’ll get around to putting the rest of them online. They’re now available here.