January 2018

NSCE Winter Concert Series was a resounding SUCCESS!
One of the much anticipated highlights of every North Shore Celtic Ensemble season is the NSCE Winter Concert Series, performed at the Terry Fox Theatre in Port Coquitlam and our very own Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. The 2017 winter shows in November, entitled “Resonance”, were true to form as always and an entertaining delight for all who were able to take in the performances. The crowds enjoyed a colorful, upbeat and positively energizing display of musical violin talent onstage by the NSCE Senior Ensemble and the Junior Ensemble, along with singing, percussion, flute and dancing. They also enjoyed the music of the Strings & Things group in the lobby.  The crowd was very receptive and thoroughly enjoyed the eclectic mixture of Celtic tunes, jigs and contemporary pieces performed with amazing joy and energy. The repertoire for the performance included a delightful range of violin and fiddle tunes, well-miked flute, percussion, guitar and keyboard accompaniments, a special vocal rendition of the Beatle’s “She’s Leaving Home,” and a taste of Irish dancing as well. The standing ovation that erupted after the final notes was a given after such a performance. The rendition of the popular “Eh, set” as the encore was a fantastic finale to the event and the entire audience loved it. A huge and heartfelt "Congratulations!" was earned by every single one of the Senior and Junior players and, of course, by Claude Giguère, Will Chernoff, Kirin Lamb, Jay Knutson, and Carlson Tworow for such an engaging, memorable and joyous performance.
SENIOR Ensemble
In addition to the two "Resonance" concerts, a few other highlights to the Senior Ensembles’ year include: the Fall retreat at Camp Capilano in September, where the players got to stay over for 2 nights to enjoy some group bonding and work on musical development. The Fall retreat was packed from start to finish with learning new repertoire, getting to know the new members of the group, and prepping for the winter concerts. A second January retreat followed at Camp Capilano, and included some improv playing/jamming, as well as writing music in small groups. The retreat leaders included Claude Giguère and Will Chernoff, with Kirin Lamb and Jay Knutson joining in. Another event is the anticipated trip to Galiano Island towards the end of the season. This trip is typically the last big concert of the year, and is a super enjoyable bonding experience for the group members. The stayover trip is usually done as a homestay event which is especially cozy, and culminates with the big Saturday night concert at the town hall. The crowd for this event is always fabulous and delightfully receptive, making it especially fun for the NSCE participants.
One of the biggest events this year is the group’s trip to China from March 22 to April 1, which all are looking forward to as a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is sure to be exciting and memorable. An anticipated highlight of this trip is the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians and groups from North America during their travels. Later in April, the group will participate in the Spring Ceili Dance, an annual event featuring their high energy Celtic music, which is a fantastic backdrop to some fun and lively dancing by participants from the local community. In early May, the Senior Ensemble will be collaborating with the Laudate Singers at a North Vancouver church event, an opportunity to pair their unique Celtic music with an established chamber choir. Finally, the group may also be putting together a music video during the rest of the season, for both fun and promotional purposes (for potential social media exposure and other promo initiatives). With the "Resonance" concerts already under their belts, the Ensemble is looking forward to a busy and fulfilling 2018!
September Retreat
by Paula Burgerjon
All the musicians did meet
which is no small feat
at Capilano Camp
where it can be a bit damp.
Many a beautiful song
soon righted this wrong.
They did practice and play
so that all wanted to stay.
Will, Kirin and Claude
great musicians behold
saw to it that
everyone went to bat.
They swam in the pool
which was pretty cool
because the water was cold
despite what was told.
They played many a tune
by the light of the moon
and with cards they did play
until the break of new day.
They did everything but sleep
but for another night, that can keep.
The food was a treat
just right for a retreat
that could not be beat!
JUNIOR Ensemble
We are very lucky in the Junior Ensemble as some of our talented musicians opted to stay with us instead of moving into the senior group.  It can be the perfect fit for some families.  We have a few long-time member musicians and several new players who came in from our Strings & Things group in September.  Just recently we’ve had another up-and-coming young musician from outside the NSCE audition and join us, bringing the junior number up to twelve. Our concert line-up includes playing a few tune sets at the big theatres for the NSCE Winter Concert Series on our own and alongside the senior ensemble, and any number of concerts out there in our local community.  We played for the opening of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and will do so again in February.  We have been playing regularly for Capilano Care Centre and we’re really looking forward to another inter-active concert with the residents of Inglewood Care Centre on Saturday, February 3rd!  Also in February we will audition for the IGNITE! Youth Festival taking place at the CULTCH in East Vancouver in May.  Wish us luck!
INTRO, Strings&Things, Rec&Tech Ensembles
This year has been an exciting year of firsts for the younger ensembles. We welcomed eleven brand new players over the course of the Fall and debuted our Strings & Things Technical Ensemble program, bringing the total number of ensembles in the NSCE up to six, including the Alumni. The two S&T ensembles had the pleasure of warming up the audience at the November Centennial Theatre performance by playing in the lobby beforehand!  Early in 2018 we are looking forward to some exciting opportunities for the S&Ts:  an annual house concert celebration for an alumni parent who continues to support the NSCE Community Concert Series and, a very well received performance for the North Shore Hospice and Palliative Project.  As well you can expect the performing debut of our introductory group in March!  Stay tuned!
The North Shore Celtic Ensemble has a great variety of upcoming concerts and events at any given time. With the season and the Community Concert Series in full swing we have among others a performance by the senior ensemble at a fundraiser to assist a Syrian family living in North Vancouver on January 26th at St Agnes Anglican Church, 530 East 12th Street. Please consider attending this lovely homemade supper and concert.  Doors open at 5:30 pm however tickets must be purchased online no later than 48 hours in advance through Eventbrite.ca (search Honada’s Syrian Supper). The deadline is this Wednesday, January 24th. There will be an interactive performance by the junior ensemble with the residents of Inglewood Care Centre on February 3rd at 2:30 pm and they will also play at the Centennial Theatre for the grand opening of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on February 9th at 6:30 pm and for the residents and guests at North Shore Hospice for a family Easter Celebration and egg hunt on March 31st at 1:00 pm.  The Strings & Things will play as part of the NSCE ‘Music at Hospice’ program again this year and they have a house concert later on this month.  All NSCE groups play at our Community Ceili on April 21st and all ages are invited to attend and join in the dancing! Exciting times for the senior ensemble as they head to China for a collaborative tour in March and have the opportunity to work and perform again with the Laudate Singers in ‘Celtic Spirit’ on May 5th in North Vancouver. Save the date!  And stay tuned as the calendar continues to fill in for 2018!

Summary of Events - please go to http://www.nsce.ca/nsce-events/ for more details
Jan 26               Seniors’ Fundraiser at St Agnes Anglican Church, North Vancouver
Feb 3                 Juniors’ perform at Inglewood Care Centre, 2:30pm
Feb 9                 Juniors perform at Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival,
                          Centennial Theatre, 6:30pm
Mar 22-Apr 1    Seniors go on China Tour
Mar 31              North Shore Hospice, 1pm                           
Apr 21              NSCE Annual Ceili
May 5               Collaboration with Laudate Singers
May 19-20        Galiano Tour
May 29             NSCE Open House
Alumni Get Together

On the evening of January 6th, a historic NSCE event took place.

After a few years of entertaining the thrilling idea of a gathering of alumni, we finally made it happen. A Facebook page was created, social media’s wheels set in motion (Thank you to Amanda Rowlands and Gabriel Dubreuil!) and alumni of the NSCE were summoned for a musical and social get together. We were overjoyed to reconnect with close to 30 players who, after a much anticipated social preamble proceeded to play well into the wee hours of the night, covering 20 years of NSCE repertoire, some of which hadn’t been heard in literally decades.

The enthusiasm in the room was absolutely infectious and it was heartwarming to see everyone tapping into their own particular slice of NSCE history and to experience the blending of generations of players who, in spite of having never played together, eagerly jumped in. How best to describe the evening but to say it was like a raging fire that consumed us all for much of our time together. There were moments of refuelling, conversations but the musical thread was never lost. The lure of a tune, of a long ago melody would send the gang back into a blaze of frantic output of playing. It was remarkable to see the ease with which everyone picked up tunes and remembered specific arrangements, more than can be said about my recollecting.

This has of course strengthened our resolve to make an alumni-get-together a semi-regular occurrence. We are working on finding our next jam! In the meantime, we will continue searching for our old friends.

Please do get in touch with us if you haven’t heard from us!

A big thank you to all those who made it to our first one! And a special thank you to Alison Heath for helping to make this happen.

See you all in the near future.
A Message From Director Claude Giguère
I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who have nominated me for a community award through an initiative from the Government of Canada in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

This award really belongs to the many people who have been part of the NSCE over the past many years and who have contributed so much to enhance the life of our community. The generosity of the parents and kids of the ensemble has served as a guiding light for the direction the NSCE has taken in its efforts to make a difference. It also belongs to the wonderful people at the North Van Recreation and Culture Commission who have believed in our work and who have always been there for us. It belongs to our faithful audiences who have shown such enthusiasm at our performances.

Probably the accomplishment of which we can be most proud is the beautiful community we have built over the past 19 years. Having spent a heartwarming evening of music with close to 30 alumni, it made me realize how special those relationships are and how important they are in building a strong community.

This award goes to Jay Knutson as well, who has been an inspired presence in the making of the ensemble from the very beginning and without whom this little project wouldn’t have seen the light of day. 

So, let’s take this award as a team. Congratulations everyone! And a very heartfelt thank you for supporting what we do.


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