Music in the Morning
20th Season Birthday Party

Date: 12 September 2004 Venue: Orpheum Theatre

Reviewer: June Heywood




Linda Lee Thomas

What a party! There was cake and champagne. There were tributes to the founder of Music in the Morning - June Goldsmith - and there was a variety of varied music that is the hallmark of this fine organization.

The program began with "In the Morning," a jaunty, spirited piece composed by Ilan Rechtman who, with Linda Lee Thomas played, four-handed piano accompaniment for the St. Lawrence String Quartet - Geoff Nuttall and Barry Shiffman, violin; Lesley Robertson, viola; and Christopher Costanza. To add to the fun, Jeremy Beckman, unexpectedly appeared stage left, played a few bars on his trombone ,then disappeared behind the curtain. The packed audience roared with laughter.

Petite Linda Lee Thomas held commanding stage presence as she sat at the dark grand piano. She played Astor Piazzolla's "Invierno Porteno" and Angel Villoldo's "El Choclo," two challenging pieces, without musical scores. With strength and control in her fingers, Ms Thomas, a Vancouverite of whom The Vancouver Sun has said her music is infused with "subtlety, elegance and fire," made the notes shout and whisper.

A Touch of Brass is a quintet comprised of Tom Shorthouse and Jim Littleford, trumpets; Geoff Leader, french horn; Jeremy Berkman, trombone; and David Sabourin, tuba. They are dedicated to educating audiences about the joys of music and music making. They demonstrated this commitment by playing show tunes by Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. This was the lightest segment of the afternoon's program. One soulful arrangement was played especially for June Goldsmith at her request.





In 1992, the St. Lawrence String Quartet won the International Banff String Quartet competition. June Goldsmith has been so impressed by this young foursome that she has invited them back each year since to perform at Music in the Morning. Ilan Rechtman is a pianist from Israel who produces almost 300 concerts a year. He is also the Music Director of the Israel Virtuosi, Director of the City Island Baroque Ensemble, and the Artistic Director of "Sundays on the Island" concert series.

Together, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and Ilan Rechtman demonstrated their energy and exuberance in Robert Shumann's Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44.From the Allegro brilllante through the In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente, the Scherzo: Molto Vivaci to the Allegro, ma non troppo the performers took their cues from one another. Although wrapped in their music, each contributed to the harmonious enjoyment of the quintet.

Throughout the programme, tributes were given to June Goldsmith. Her sons David and Gordon Goldsmith described the early days of musical gatherings in their home; soprano Judith Forst told of her long friendship with Ms Goldsmith; and musicians thanked her for believing in their talent; and Mayor Larry Campbell declared Sunday, 12 September, "Music in the Morning" day.

Overwhelmed and brought to tears, Ms Goldsmith thanked everyone and invited all to join her for cake and champagne in the lobby. The party was great!

2004, June Heywood