Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm? Observations, actions and connection points through art.

1 Comment

A broadly curved road

I went subterranean twelve weeks ago, maybe more.  Came up again two days ago, I think.  I know this because I found myself gardening yesterday.


This was a tunnel of a place I’ve been in, a way into and through the deep, long list entitled Impossible-but-Necessary.  In twelve weeks strong and beautiful people died, shockingly, suddenly, and those of us who grieve them turned inward then slowly forward; old and treasured things were broken then transformed phoenix-like amid the mourning, the loss.  Boundaries were breached, injuries dealt and received, some old trusts betrayed and also new ones established without question.  Concerts were rehearsed and played; family homes sold and contents dispersed, others burned and the tenants embraced by this rich community. Long overdue letters were written and sent; 50-year careers ended; a 20-year-old vehicle sold for parts; the streets in the city opened and excavated in the great replacement of metal with plastic…


As the boxes were packed and the old things released into landfill sites, recycling depots, re-store Judy Collins sang who knows where the time goes? to help the tears come.

As the goodbyes were said after the stories were told, as the weeping hugs were shared, Kodaly’s solo cello sonata raged and softened and spoke …

As the solos were played and the painting delivered; as the portfolio was presented and the university applications sent, Cohen sang ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering…

Through all the overnight insomnia on the studio couch Joni sang dream on, dream on...


As we turned forward into spring, and green and growth, david sereda sings, you’re beautiful.  Be You.  Coco Love Alcorn sings We gather ’round when we can, and we let ourselves be true…  Tyler Wagler sings …out the doorway, ‘way we go.  Where you lead, I will follow … Kati Gleiser plays Rachmaninoff and then sings our beauty back to us.

As the pipes thawed, so did we.


Leave a comment

Youth Orchestras, open windows and spring

I wake into this morning still wrapped in a cocoon of wonder, pour myself into hot coffee and sunshine.

From this computer two lovely pieces of new music emerge, both via my dear friend Kati Gleiser who is some hundreds of miles away but also next to me, as I write.  I listen to Kati’s voice, hear wolves and oceans, and also the phoebe & the white-crowned sparrow through the open windows.  There is no wind.  It’s as though the world I see is paused in a bow of gratitude.  I believe I can hear the plants speaking – chamomile, thyme, mulberry, foxglove…

carpet of trout lillies

carpet of trout lillies

Last night, 19 young cello players from Meaford Owen Sound and Port Elgin played together in a combined orchestra, beside 9 double-basses, an ocean of violins, a full wind & brass section.  There were upwards of 130 of us on stage, with young energy pulsing through the hall like a big Hug of Promise.  Wonderful, wonderful.  All those characters, from bassoon to trumpet to bass and viola – the tribe of celli like a thundering herd of centaurs, playing in time and in key together.

I don't have a pic of last night - wish I did.  But here are some rehearsal celli.  2 Walkes, a Ruppert, and a Bartlett.

I don’t have a pic of last night – wish I did. But here are some rehearsal celli. 2 Walkes, a Ruppert, and a Bartlett.

Huge thanks to everyone who played, to the parents of everyone who played, to Patrick Delaney and Sandy Pedlar for building such thriving music programs in their respective schools, and for Richard Mascall who brought five orchestras and ensembles together into one.

So Flipping Awesome.

I itch to get into the Garden – to tend and dig and coax and listen as everything wakes up and the last of the snow melts.  Tomorrow is tree sale day, so we meet in the 6am ritual line to buy maple, birch, oak and cedar then bring them home to the soil and sun that will sustain them long after we have left our bodies for the next chapter of life.

I think the 10' transplanted oak is going to make it.

I think the 10′ transplanted oak is going to make it…

More Awesomeness.

Happy friday, all.  I’m going to go get muddy.

Leave a comment

Swimming in Music

Rehearsing and conversing with the highly engaged and engaging pianist Marc Pierre Toth and composer Richard Mascall last night, the day after dinner with pianist, singer-songwriter, electronic artist and visual artist and dear dear friend Kati Gleiser – and snowshoeing with her today.  Talk  – of Shanghai, Japan, Hannover, my neice Anna in Germany, The Toronto Maple Leafs, music music, school, beer, beef, Kung Fu, Shaolin & Soccer, Poetry, Redwood trees screaming, Ted Burtynsky, the Job of art-making and presenting, Eco villages and how long it takes to make zuccini loaf while staying in one, Toronto Cafes & dances, technology as a tool, not a device to facilitate avoidance….

I feel just like this looks.

I feel just like this looks.

Through all of this plays Beethoven 5th Piano concerto, Mendelsohn violin concerto, Tchzaikovsky, Dvorak – which the Youth Orchestra presents to the folk of Owen Sound at the Roxy Theatre Wednesday evening, and the divine music of Sarah Slean, who I get to rehearse and play with on Thursday. Now there’s a lady chock full of joy and purpose – I am so looking forward to this.

This week is a collaboration to wake up the world.

Leave a comment

Returning home

We hit the road a week ago yesterday for London Ontario for a quickie overnight visit.  This was the fulfillment of an idea that we should mark the last week that my niece would live in Canada before she left on an extended Rotary trip to Germany.  We did so –   there are new memories now – coffee and a discussion about letter writing in Chapters during her dental appointment;  some new shoes for us (I will wear them this year and think of her);  gelato (or was it frozen yoghurt?) soup with multi-coloured chunks of candy floating in – ewa brief and almost innocent water fight in the washroom of said gelato place; later Master and Commander, “the lesser of two weevils”….

We returned home by the back road route,  through scattered showers and brilliant sunlight -did our best to get lost, but couldn’t – there are great lakes everywhere around here….

I took no pics of the drive – but here’s one of the lookout from the Lindenwood section of the Bruce Trail.  Georgian Bay is on the horizon.

It was 1:30pm by the time we arrived at Mom & Dad’s to help set up for the post-concert reception with ice, wine, flowers and balloons in hand.  Reba the dog bounded & leaped around us on her spring-loaded legs, snapping at the air with joy, jumping in the car and out of it as we unloaded – I SO love her, I SO love all dogs….

5 hours until concert time & plenty to do (though Mom had it all entirely organized):  veggie tray, fruit tray, make room in the fridge, there will likely be 60 people, get the parking sign from the church, make sure the solar lights mark the path from the parking place, let’s have tea, wait I need to register our TIFF choices at 2pm or our Sept schedule will be shot, Dave Thomas is on the phone from L.A., maybe we need more sweet nibblies, Renee is coming to warm up, let’s do a quick drive in to Metro, yay we found little tarts there, oops we forgot to eat supper, time to go….

This is the church down the road from Tom Thomson’s childhood home. As a kid he attended service here regularly and doodled in the hymn books. The Church was restored by another small-but-mighty group called the Friends of Leith Church, and is now a beloved and prized venue for some of the best ensemble music in North America.
If you’ll permit some advice – whether you know of Sweetwater Music Festival or not, I urge you to go to their website and buy weekend tickets NOW. Two of their (always sold-out) concerts are held here – I promise that you will never forget the experience.

The (sold out) concert was performed by Kati Gleiser (piano), Renee Krusselbrink (piano), Sebastian Ostertag (cello), and Emily Aquin (violin) – all recipients of the Donna Steinacher award for post-graduate studies in music.  It was held at the incredibly lovely Historic Leith Church, which has near-perfect accoustics.  Everyone there felt personally blessed and honoured to hear the solo and ensemble music these people played (in honour of my good friend Donna Steinacher who so deserves it). The experience was a perfect illustration of healthy give-and-give in a small-but-mighty community:  everything flourishes, everyone benefits, we are all enriched.  I was in tears much of the time – I’ve played many times with Kati, Sebastian, Renee and Emily, and each of them is so very dear to me.

Duck out before the encore and drive home to prepare for the reception, keep Reba contained, here are the extra wine glasses, punch glasses, can you keep an eye here,  oh here they come.

It felt more like 100 people in the house – characters, bulldogs, sirens, keen and sharp musicians, parents and politicians, teachers, composers, performers, producers and loyal supporters of the arts – a powerful, highly charged melee.  By gum it was a good time.

It was Reba’s first party (she was adopted only a few months ago). We were wondering how she’d handle it – turns out she charmed them all.

Kati left the next day to teach and play in China.  Sebastian back to his lucky students and Symphony in Prince George BC, Emily back to her freelance work in Texas, and Renee to continue her work in Montreal.

david’s Blue Moon Concert is this Friday at Tone Yoga in Owen Sound. This is a lovely old limestone church that’s been beautifully restored, on the SW corner of 1st ave w and 9th Street. 8pm. I’ll post more about this as we get closer…..

I had rehearsal the next morning with david sereda for his gig this coming Friday at Tone Yoga.  I love playing with ds, love singing with him, rehearsing and performing with him.  It’s been some years since we’ve done this – he’s been away in Regina, and lives during the week in Port Dalhousie.  I’ve had my head and fingers deep into the classical world in that time.  So when we riffed through the Blue Moon songs on Sunday morning, we were both crying tears of pure pleasure.  If you are here in town, you really should come – it will be special.

drive down to say goodbye to Anna at Terminal 3.

Anna is 17 – a very strong, capable, resourceful and smart person.  Her goodbye into her new life in Germany away from family and us was supercharged.  I am very very glad Dom and I were there.  Ah.  The bird has flown.

We toasted her take-off with my oldest friend Marcus, who writes marvelous things here, is a consummate musician, and whom Robert Downey Junior modeled his Tony Stark character after (or this is my theory).   Then we crashed into a lovely space made for us by Fiona, who is like my sister.

Value village for 3 hours the next day (half-price everything).  Supper.  Home.  Sleep.

I wake in the sun-bathed grass and the wind-tossed morning glories to find that home includes so many people, so many places.  Which is why I needed to write this.

I feel….  big.