Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sky Dancers: Leaping to a New Level

July 25, 2009

How does one wrap up an amazing experience in a few words?

On Tuesday I wrote the Sky Dancers poem reflecting on the opening event for Stratford Summer Muisc,(SSM), and posted it on this blog. On Thursday morning I happened to be chatting with SSM's artistic producer, John Miller, and offered to send him the blog site as I am planning to write about more of the wonderful musical events that will be offered here over the next few weeks.

On Thursday evening, John was in touch with me and asked if he could offer the Sky Dancers poem to Dr. Andrew Gant, who is the organist/composer/and director of Her Majesty's personal choir, The Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, London, England. Dr. Gant was offering a three part lecture/concert series here this week as part of SSM and wished to write a choral number that he would dedicate to Stratford Summer Music as a finale for his time here. John felt my little poem would be perfect for the occasion.

Between Thursday and Friday night Dr. Gant composed the music. The Tactus Vocal Ensemble practised it briefly and presented it as the final number of this morning's concert. Lively and boisterous at times, thoughtful and moody at others, Dr. Gant captured the imagery of the poem perfectly. What an honour for me and for Stratford Summer Music! I spoke with him briefly after the concert before he packed up to fly home to England, in order to conduct and play for the services for Her Majesty tomorrow.

This is an example of the magic that can be experienced in my Stratford!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sky Dancers

July 21, 2009

Noisy and precocious
They danced across the sky
Flaunting summer colours
In bright array
Across the stage of night

Symphonic tones
Trailing through the cosmos
Heightened the spell
Of cultural delight
With ethereal sounds
And phantom shades of light

Stratford Summer Music has opened once again gracing the shores of our picturesque riverfront. The music on the barge will entertain our noontime picnickers, and downtown streets will host guerilla minstrels, who'll turn up in the most unexpected places to add to the ambiance of our fair town. Local churches, restuarants, cafes, City Hall, as well as outdoor venues in Queen's Park, will offer an array of international musical talent. Many free events as well as recitals at very reasonable rates are running from July 20 to August 15. Check out the website and come partake in the Stratford Summer Music experience.

In The Park

July 20, 2009

Birdlings sing and soar in flight
Children laugh in sheer delight
Grey heads nod and young toes tap
Some eyes close for a short-lived nap"

Mellow strains fill the evening air
Soothing souls and lifting care
Music echoes through the park
The band plays on 'til the sky turns dark

On Wednesday and on Sunday night
Crowds convene to see the sight
Of concert bands who come to play
A perfect end to a summer's day

Thank you to the Kiwanis Club of Stratford for providing such pleasurable outings throughout July and August. Citizens and tourists, young and old, have come to appreciate this compimentary summer entertainment in Stratford, Ontario.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You Never Know!

July 17, 2009

The breezes were stirring gently as twilight tinged the sky. Strolling along Downie Street, I soaked up the silence after the crowd had moved into the Avon Theatre for the evening's performance. Restaurateurs were bringing in their patio chairs and getting ready to close. There was a sense of quietude, of tranquility.

As I walked, I glanced up and there they were. Gargoyles? In Stratford?

Indeed. They rest atop the condo building across from the Y, as if guarding the area where our youth are known to gather. Memory took me back to a cartoon show when my boys were young where certain gargoyles came to life to protect the citizens of their community. Ah, imagination!

Some gargoyles have a rather scary look, but these ones are kind in countenance.

You never know. Perhaps they do come down to enjoy the sweet peace of Stratford on a summer night. You never know.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Evening Snacks

July 9, 2009

Last night as dusk approached, the river beckoned. It was a beautiful evening, warm, with a slight breeze, too nice to stay inside. I was anxious to see if I could find the cygnets about whom I had written on June 21, when they were first born. I had heard about 10 days ago that one of them had not survived. Would the rest still be living?

It was a great joy therefore to spot the family receiving an evening snack. I was so pleased to discover that this good citizen knew to feed them greens. She informed me that the stores here are quite willing to let her have lettuce that is past its prime. This family of swans seemed very comfortable with her and ate voraciously, even taking a leaf from her hand.

The little ones are obviously thriving, still with their fuzzy baby feathers, but definitely growing and healthy.

We continued on our walk, enjoying the magic of the sunset, intrigued to spot a duck among the clouds.
Turning reluctantly to head for home, we came upon yet another evening feast. This time the hostess was serving corn, and an eager crowd had gathered to partake! Several swans crowded around her including the bully who I described on June 15, this time well behaved and even eating politely from her hand.

The newest additions to our waterfowl were there as well, a very interesting-looking pair of Chinese geese.

Night had definitely fallen. Reluctantly we turned our steps towards home, but our hearts were light with the joy of watching mankind and nature interacting in such a mutually appreciative way.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Parkland Variety

July 5, 2009

Take time to walk through our less manicured parks in order to experience Stratford's more rustic beauty. In the T.J. Dolan park, just off of John Street, intriguing pathways call for further exploration. Wear your insect repellent and some good walking shoes and you can enjoy a natural hike along part of the Avon Trail.

This wild area offers short or longer hiking trails where you will see native foliage and blossoms that change with the seasons. The thought of what lies beyond the next corner is enticing and begs the novice to go just a little further.

At the East end of the Lake Victoria park system, on the south side of Festival Bridge, the entry trellis of Meadowrue Gardens invites you to to explore a nautralized area on a much smaller scale. Plants native to this part of Ontario tumble in disarray by the meandering pathway. While there you may wish to take a look at the new bed of reeds providing natural habitat for wildlife at the east end of the river, or hike along the abandoned rail line to Confederation Park.

My Stratford is a place to enjoy the wonders of creation.