Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lunch Hour with the HPO at the HPL
By Jennette Lukasik
A young mother held the hands of her baby who hiccupped and bounced up and down on the floor. Bent with age, a silver-haired woman struggled to sit upright to better view the stage in front of her. A teenager coughed and continued to scroll through messages and texts on her phone. The woman beside her bent over and whispered in her ear. Momentarily the teen’s attention returned to her surroundings, only to have her attention divert back to the device in her hand.
       A shaggy-haired senior announced in a loud voice that she would sit on her walker. In her opinion, the seats provided in the venue were far too uncomfortable. Young people sporting shorts and sandals eased the burdens off their backs, breathed a collective sigh of relief and deposited their backpacks on the seats beside them.
      A high, stark concrete ceiling, partially obscured by bright yellow, green and blue panels hung above the wooden stage whose shiny surface reflected bright overhead lights. The lights did not dim for the start of the programme but intuitively the audience quietened as the performers stepped forward.
       Lance Ouelette, a slim young man, violinist with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra stood centre stage in the Hamilton Room of the Central Library. Pianist Justyna Szajna accompanied him on the stage. Both musicians of the HPO came to educate and entertain the audience at the Friday Noon Hour Concert.
      Lance prefaced his playing of the violin by sharing his knowledge as to the importance of a violin bow’s shape and how that particular aspect impacted the sound of the music emanating from the instrument. A variety of bows were presented and Lance explained the difference in their shapes and the musical period in history when a specific bow was used. Using different bows, he transported the audience through musical history from the Baroque period to the Classical and to the Modern, through the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and modern composers.
       The baby still hanging onto his mother’s hands continued to hiccup and to bounce to the music. The audience were enthralled by the variety of sounds coming from the same violin, but notably changed by the choice of bow.  Prolonged applause showed the audience’s appreciation for the concert. Lance graciously thanked the attendees, and praised both the space and the acoustics. A good time was had by all. The Lunch Hour Concert, a partnership between HPO and HPL presented an educational, music-filled free event open to all willing to take advantage of an hour of excellence.

       A variety of Lunch Hour Concerts are planned for the next several weeks. The HPO brass section will return to present their annual Christmas Concert, a yearly favourite, not to be missed. Hamiltonians are encouraged to attend these events. Where else but in our great library system can a citizen enjoy a wide variety of educational, entertaining events, free to all? 

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