Every single Tuesday during the school year Brock’s Department of Music hosts a free concert available to community members, staff and students. The series is entitled RBC Foundation Music@Noon in which student, faculty and special guests perform in Cairns Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, just steps away from the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts downtown.
Last Tuesday’s show featured four percussion pieces lead by Devon Fornelli, a percussion instructor at the MIWSFPA and joined by Scott Vernon and Dr. Karin Di Bella. The performance was tremendously entertaining, the perfect length for a free afternoon show, and educational. The performance successfully drew a large crowd to the Cairns Recital Hall.
The current series is put together by Di Bella, the Chair of the Department of Music at Brock as well as an associate professor. The Music@Noon series started over 15 years ago and almost six years ago the RBC Foundation started an endowment to support the series which allowed for expansion and improvement.
“With the support of the RBC Foundation we are able to bring in more artists, and have more of the Tuesdays presented, otherwise we can’t afford to run the concerts every week and to have more professional people on each concert because we pay each person individually, so that way we can start bringing up the quality of the guest artists,” said Di Bella.
Formerly held in the Sean O’ Sullivan Theatre at Brock’s main campus, the concerts have since moved, which the Department believes has been a great improvement.
“Now that were downtown we have a very regular group of community members who come in, and so much great feedback comes from these people who say ‘it’s just a great thing to be able to walk over here, I live Downtown, I go to the market, and I pop over for a concert — it’s great, and it’s free,” said Di Bella.
Since the move, Di Bella estimates that the audience has almost doubled which she describes as a win-win for both the Performing Arts Centre and the Department. She describes the publicity this free event gives to the Performing Arts Centre as it is low maintenance and caters to a larger audience, because of the lack of entry price and the appeal to school groups which in turn is great for recruitment.
On top of that, Di Bella adds, “it’s great for the students to have that kind of support and it really increases the quality of the performing of the students if they know there is going to be able to be 100 plus people in the audience.”
Every Music@Noon performance is a different experience, but they are usually classical and performed by music students and faculty. For last week’s performance Fornelli chose four pieces, “Rebonds: A” by Iannis Xenakis, “Quoi???” by Jocelyn Morlock, “Clapping Music” and “Nagoya Marimbas” by Steve Reich and “Infancia” by Egberto Gismonti all pieces chosen because they are pieces he hadn’t done before and wanted to.
“We hope [Music@Noon] it makes for a nice escape or break for people in the area. It’s also an opportunity for people to drop in and perhaps hear something that’s new or different from what they are used to hearing. In addition, it’s an opportunity for the music department to showcase the talents of the students and faculty and visiting artists” says Fornelli.