Classical music tour draws local students

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NEW GLASGOW — Music students are getting an opportunity to hear classical music performed by artists already scheduled to visit Pictou County.

Their next scheduled chance will be on October 23 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre and will feature the Montreal-based ensemble Les Songes, a quartet that consists of Baroque cello, harpsichord, recorder and soprano.

“You don’t have many quartets like that touring, especially in Pictou County,” said Ian Grant, who teaches music at North Nova Education Centre.

Grant has been planning daytime concerts with groups scheduled to perform in the Debut Atlantic Series at the deCoste in Pictou.

Debut Atlantic has developed the program called Debut Goes to School to encourage students to attend concerts and learn more about music.

The scenario includes inviting students from North Nova and other schools to attend morning presentations on the day the groups perform.

The first concert has already taken place, with North Nova having hosted a morning event.

Grant has arranged for the Northumberland Regional High School to host the next school event on October 23 at 10:45 a.m.

The volunteer group of classical music enthusiasts that helped secure dates for the series last season approached music teachers at Pictou County schools about arranging sessions with series groups that would include instruction and performances, Grant said.

“They wanted to do some outreach to schools to allow students to hear classical music in schools,” he said. “We hope to have other concerts and have other schools to allow as many people as possible to hear them.”

Grant noted that the school events are free, and admission for students who attend the concerts at the deCoste is also free. He said he’s impressed with how strongly students have responded to classical music after the session at North Nova.

“Some students who had never heard classical music really enjoyed it,” he said.

The sound at presentation centres at North Nova and NHRS make these events a special experience, Grant said.

As an example, he said the Yamaha grand piano emits a high quality sound at North Nova’s centre.

“We’re really fortunate to have a venue with such great sound,” he said.

Will Daley, a Grade 12 student who has been playing piano for less than two years, is among music students at NNEC who have seized on the opportunity to hear classical music this way. He said the series has helped fuel his desire to pursue a musical career.

“I want to be a performance pianist,” he said. “That’s my goal. I love hearing classical music performed and I love playing it. I play the piano here as much as possible”

Andrew Douglas, a member of the group that helped bring last season’s classical music series to the deCoste, agreed with Grant that the students who attend the concerts will like what they hear.

“It’s very accessible music and should be interesting as well because they play on period instruments,” he said. “The first group that came last month did so as well and were very well received.”

Will Daley tickles the ivories on the grand piano at North Nova Education Centre with music by Claude Debussy. Daley is among music students looking forward to the second scheduled concert in the Debut Atlantic classical music series on October 23.  (Goodwin photo)