El Sistema Aeolian Expands
It was just a little over one year ago that The Aeolian took on a new facility. Bishop Cronyn Memorial Place is a former Anglican Church located at 442 William St. in London Ontario. Built in 1873, this designated Historic Site is a perfect facility for our program. The Church, Chapel and adjoining three story complex offers us ample performance and classroom space.
The participants in our program love this facility and often come early for their classes so that they can “just hang out”. We are building a massive library, computer lab and have many ideas to implement that will offer our participants one of the best music programs around.
Last year, we launched two other programs in this facility. Pride Mens Chorus London is a choir open to men of all backgrounds and ages. Rebelheart Collective is a new conductorless ensemble designed to change access to classical music.
We are excited about our future and how we can use music to foster community!
December 11, 2016
I’m in Austin Texas and just heard two performances by the Grammy Winning Choir Conspirare. My friend Matt Alber was guest soloist with the choir. It was a magical experience in so many ways. The conductor Craig Hella Johnson is a beautiful human being who is making change through his music and the message of love. The choir members are all professional singers and come from all over the United States. The glances of affection and joy they had for each other and their leader throughout the performance were astonishing. I have never seen that before. Matt’s voice came through like an angel…he truely has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. That sentiment was definately shared by the response of the audience. More than his voice, Matt shares a mission to make the world a better place and he radiated that feeling throughout the performance. I am so blessed to meet and have colleagues and friends engaged in making postitive change in this world. Thank you Matt for inviting my to come to Texas to hear you sing and for the friendship and values we share together. It makes life really rich and meaningful.
October 12, 2016
Without wanting to call this an orchestra or chamber ensemble, let’s call it a group. The Rebelheart Collective is a new creation of the Aeolian and is designed to change the experience of classical music. It is a string quartet at its core including Scott St. John, Sharron Wei, Tom Wiebe and Erika Raum. There is no conductor! Each core player takes a turn leading the ensemble. The second layer is students at the graduate level in an apprenticeship relationship with the core musicians. The third layer is participants from the Aeolian’s El Sistema Program. Half the tickets for these concerts are free. The other half are pay-it-forward premium tickets. For every concert held at Aeolian Hall, one shorter program will be held in a community space. Members of the ensemble will come out and greet the audience both at intermission and after the concert. Classical music should belong to everyone and not just an elite few!!
August 2, 2016
Pride Men’s Chorus London
Open to men of all gender identities, the Pride Men’s Chorus London is a choir based on the Gay Men’s Chorus model. Its roots go back nearly four decades and have centred on community, diversity and social justice. Why did Rod Culhman and I start this choir? We felt there was a need for an alternative, community-focused activity in London Ontario for our LGBTQ community. There is a lot of work to be done both locally and globally to raise awareness and help foster acceptance and embrasement for diversity in the LGBTQ Communities.
Members of our choir also include the straight community. We have big plans for this choir and are kicking off our 2016-2017 season with a performance at the Matt Alber concert at Aeolian Hall September 23, 2016.
Stay tuned for more details:
June 30, 2016
This coming Monday, The Aeolian is launching a brand new inittiative.
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Monday, July 4, 2016
New Notes About to Sound
Surprise Announcement from The Aeolian
Who: The Aeolian Musical Arts Association
When: Monday, July 4, 2016, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, announcement at 4:25 pm
What: Surprise Announcement
Where: The Aeolian Performing Arts Centre, 795 Dundas St East, London, ON
LONDON, June 28, 2016 – – The Aeolian is proud to be launching a brand new initiative!
Imagine an orchestra without a conductor.
Imagine orchestra concerts that include free seats.
Imagine an orchestra with a core of Canada’s best musicians.
Imagine our El Sistema students playing with these artists.
Imagine an orchestra that is accessible to everyone.
Imagine an orchestra that provides equal opportunities to youth.
Imagine an orchestra that supports social justice.
Imagine the Orchestra of the future.
At this point, all we can say is that it is big, it is the first of its kind in London, and it is world-class. On behalf of The Aeolian Musical Arts Association, we would like to invite members of the press, arts organizations, and our community partners to take part in the unveiling of our great big secret.
July 26, 2016
Last week I attended the first global Positive Education Conference “IPEN” in Dallas Texas. There is a major movement happening to change the world for the better! Some consider this to be a “once in five hundred years” shift. The focus for education is moving from survival and avoiding bad outcomes to “Flourishing”. Seligman’s model of flourishing is at the core of this movement and is embraced by leading positive psychologists and educators globally. This model is easy to remember with the acronym PERMA and stands for:
Engagement in positive acitivites and with positive people
Relationships that are strong and supportive
Meaning: What’s life all about? What makes me feel like there is a higher purpose to my life-journey?
Accomplishments: makes us feel satisfied!
We need to balance all of these footprints/pillars to have a feeling of well-being.
I would encourage all of you to investigate this new chapter in human evolution! IPEN: http://ipen-festival.com
November 23, 2015
Mindfull meditation is a technique which is growing in popularity in today’s schools. It is also used outside of the classroom as a form of reframing thoughts and emotions before a reaction to them. It is about focusing on the present without any judgement over thought patterns or their resultant emotions. The breath leads this form of meditation. One focuses on the breath and how it changes. Belly breathing is essential in this form. One pays attention to thoughts, feelings and emotions as a detached observer. The release from thought is to return to breath.
Today we will begin mindfull meditation at El Sistema Aeolian with the kids. We have already had a few sessions with our teaching team and volunteers. Mario Faveri, a renowned sports and performing artist coach will lead this exercise over a period of days and months to come and will measure its effectivenss. Our hope is that our kids will learn this technique and its language through practise. We will be looking for results measuring their ability to focus on their musical accomplishments. We will also measure the outcome in regards to their more positive social behaviour.
November 22, 2015
The Communicative Performer
November 4, 2015
I had an interesting conversation recently with a music educator from academia. We were talking about musical and social outcomes from music education programs. If I said that program X has a great outcome, she would ask: “what lens or you putting on for this outcome”. This begs the question of definition for outcome. How can we truely measure a multifaceted outcome in a meaningful way. There are logic models we can contruct. There are measuring tools we can make and adopt. But how can we “define” in a “moment in time” the impact of our teaching and resultant learning. I think we need to continue to hold the tension between our observations and the questions we haven’t even thought of yet!