Happy August everyone!
I wanted to share a little bit about an upcoming concert I will be involved in happening Thursday August 29. 2019 marks my fifth year with Music For The Gut, an annual benefit concert for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada that aims to increase awareness and support for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. For nine years now, the Hughton family (Tara, Basil, Jordie, and Jamey) have planned and organized concerts, artist showcases, and other community events in Saskatoon, and each year proves to be even more successful than the last for their main showcase. This is the second year Music For The Gut will be held in Sid Buckwold Theatre at TCU Place – it’s amazing to see how far this event has come since I’ve been involved.
I have the great pleasure this year of performing with the house band “Gut Banda,” in addition to performing a solo piece and duet with violinist William Boan. Since 2015, Jordie and his family have graciously invited me to perform a solo piece at Music For The Gut, and this year I wanted to try something a little different: I decided to write a short piece for solo alto saxophone. For those who are planning on coming to the concert (or those who are curious about what I’m up to these days!), here are some program notes on the inspiration for the piece:
Buenas Campanas (“nice, or pleasant bells”) for solo alto saxophone is inspired by a set of wind chimes near my place in the Buena Vista neighbourhood of Saskatoon. I have always been attracted to the sound of wind chimes, especially a set that my grandparents used to hang near their front door. I moved to the Buena Vista neighbourhood in December 2018, and I vividly remember stopping to listen to a beautiful set of wind chimes while walking my dog one bitterly cold winter morning. Wind chimes come in a wide variety of shapes and timbres (my mother-in-law has a set of bamboo ones), but this particular set has long, black chimes that possess a soft, mellow, and bell-like quality. The pitch collection of the chimes suggest a C major pentatonic scale, but depending on which chimes are struck (and in which order), other key centres can be implied. The opening section introduces the pitches of the chimes. As the wind picks up, the opening pattern gradually becomes busier. The middle section of the piece explores the randomness of wind chimes through improvisation on swirling figures, occurring while the wind is at its strongest – a prairie gust on a chilly autumn day. As the wind calms (as it often does in Saskatchewan evenings), so does the intensity of the final section.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you at Music for the Gut 9!