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Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony | Bon Appetit!

Written and photographed by Sean M Puckett


Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony | Bon Appetit!

Written and photographed by Sean M Puckett


Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony | Bon Appetit!

Words and images copyright 2010 Sean M Puckett.

All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be


reproduced in any form without written permission
except as provided for by law.

Published 2010 Sean M Puckett.

Sean M Puckett is a photographer, writer and arts activist


living and working in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Learn more about Sean and his photography at


SeanMPuckett.com

This PDF version is intended for fast viewing on computer screens and the images have been
reduced in quality. If you are interested in a printed & bound book, contact the author directly.
Introduction

Who could imagine a romantic evening meal without musical accompaniment?

And yet, oddly enough, we’ve become accustomed to having our music served alone.
Centuries ago, music and food were almost always served together, especially at large
celebratory feasts. It is only in the past hundred years or so that the formal and serious
classical music concert has become a tradition.

Have we become too accustomed to near-perfect silence while the music plays, remaining
nearly motionless in ranked rows so we do not disturb our seat mates, obeying regimented
manners to applaud only when the music stops? Can we no longer conceive of an alternative?

Might there be another way to enjoy music, a way foreign to us but familiar to our ancestors?

This concert answers that question. Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony music director Edwin
Outwater says, “music and food go together! They’re both very sensual experiences.” He has a
plan to explore this sensual intersection and to challenge our formal concert traditions.

Tonight, we turn the familiar romantic meal with musical accompaniment on its head:
a romantic evening concert accompanied by food and wine. Bon Appetit!
Tonight’s music
Raymond Scott (1908 - 1994)
Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals
Per Nørgård (b. 1932)
“Pastorale” from Babette’s Feast
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975)
Tahiti-Trot (Tea for Two)
John Estacio (b. 1966)
“The Harvesters” from A Farmer’s Symphony

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958)


“March Past of the Kitchen Utensils” from
The Wasps
Cole Porter (1891 - 1964) / arr. Edwin Outwater
“The Tale of the Oyster” from Fifty Million
Frenchmen
Lee Hoiby (b. 1926)
Bon Appetit!
Strawberry Alarm Clock / arr. Nicole Lizée
Incense and Peppermints

Photo: KWS Librarian Corey Rempel shows us


where the music sleeps. The green boxes marked
EMO are Edwin Outwater’s personal collection.
The crowded shelves at right are a small portion
of the KWS permanent music collection.
Preparing the (musical) menu
Left: Corey prepares music for a future
concert for school children. Each roughly
one-inch-thick stack is a single piece of
music printed in all of the versions needed
by every musician that will play it. The front
stack holds excerpts from John Williams’
score for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Stone.

Upper right: tonight’s concert, Bon Appetit,


includes a famous tune most people don’t
know by name, but have heard dozens of
times. Raymond Scott’s Dinner Music for a
Pack of Hungry Cannibals was musically
quoted many times by renowned Warner
Bros. cartoon score writer Carl Stalling.

Lower right: on the table to the left of


percussionist Lori West are two rusty metal
objects. These are brake drums that she will
strike to make metallic sounds during the
performance of The Harvesters.

Far right: harpist Lori Gemmell’s silhouetted


hands run through a phrase during rehearsal.
Group rehearsal
Even though each musician is a virtuoso, the
group still must practice together as a unit:
as the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

Bringing the musicians together into a


musical whole is the multifaceted role of the
conductor. From the podium in the centre of
the orchestra, the conductor sets the tempo
and can gauge whether each instrument is
playing too loudly or softly.

More importantly, the conductor is


responsible for the feel of the music.
Through body language, movement and
facial expression, the conductor directs the
orchestra to perform symphonically --
“sounding together as one.”

Rehearsal sessions typically last about two


and a half hours. Fifteen to twenty minutes of
music from the final concert are covered
during each session. There’s plenty of time
to try variations and to adjust performances
to suit the conductor’s wishes.

Photo: KWS rehearsal in session.


Edwin Outwater, seen here at the conductor’s podium during rehearsal, is in his third year with the KWS. In
these sessions, he listens both to the music he “hears in his head” from studying the score, and to the ideas of
orchestra members. Interpretations are tried and perfected so the final public performance is at its musical best.
Above: Lori West and Dave Campion in the percussion section. Opposite: guest soloist mezzo-soprano Megan
Latham in rehearsal with the KWS.
Top left: rehearsal winds down. Far left: harpist Lori Gemmell and members of the violin and viola sections. Near
left: the piano is tuned before each performance. Above: KWS musicians Anthony Christie (cello), Daniel Warren
(trumpet) and James Mason (oboe) at ease following the rehearsal.
Food to accompany the music
Three tasting courses are planned for the evening. Each
course will be served on a small spoon with just enough on it
to give the audience a taste of the featured flavour.

With over 200 seats in the audience and three courses,


preparing the food is a two-person job. Natalie Benninger, co-
owner of Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21 restaurant in Waterloo,
along with server Kevin Kraemer, work feverishly before the
concert to prepare the courses:

1. Endive salad with caramelized walnuts and Benedictine


blue cheese, from the movie Babette’s Feast, will accompany
the music from that scene in the film: Per Nørgård’s Pastorale
Moderato.

2. Crisp cornmeal polenta cake with micro herb salad in a


lemon vinaigrette, a dish that goes perfectly with John
Estacio’s The Harvesters.

3. Gâteau au Chocolat, created by Julia Child, will be served


during Bon Appetit by Lee Hoiby.

Left, from top: Kevin prepares the endive salad; tasting


spoons ready for their savoury payload; Edwin sampling the
gâteau as Nat looks on.

Right: Kevin awaits the signal to bring the tasting courses to


the front of the house for service.
The evening begins
The KW Symphony performs its main series events --
Signature and Pops, eight concerts each -- at Kitchener’s
world renowned Centre in the Square, a 2000+ seat facility.
The KWS has such a dedicated following in the region that
these performances take place three times, twice in Kitchener
and then once more in River Run Centre in the nearby city of
Guelph.

Bon Appetit, part of the smaller Intersections series, is being


performed at the 300+ seat Conrad Centre for the Performing
Arts, the KW Symphony’s new home in downtown Kitchener.

Two nights of performances are also required to handle the


ticketing demand for Bon Appetit. Thursday’s premiere
concert was sold out, and Friday’s concert, tonight, only has a
few unsold seats remaining.

Left: before patrons are admitted to the hall, the evening’s


ushers are briefed on the emergency exits.

Right, from top: the audience gathers in the lobby; the


audience begins to fill in; central seats are taken quickly.
The Kitchener-Waterloo
Symphony Orchestra
“The KWS was formed in 1945, the brainchild
of Dr. Glenn Kruspe, then-director of the
Philharmonic Choir, who suggested forming
an orchestra to play for a choir performance
in April of that year. The performance was an
overwhelming triumph, with over 2000 people
in attendance.

“Today, the KWS performs over 90 concerts


every season to a combined audience of
over 90,000 concert-goers. Nationally
acclaimed, the KWS is the cultural
centrepiece of the Waterloo Region.
Comprehensive school programs and free
concerts at hospitals, soup kitchens and
seniors’ homes are offered every year to the
community.

“The KWS also supports the activities of a


Youth Orchestra Program, which involves five
distinct ensembles: Preludium Strings, Youth
Strings, Youth Sinfonia, Youth Orchestra and
Valhalla Brass. Its musicians range in age
from 8 to 24, and number over 100.”

--- KWS Biography, from kwsymphony.ca


The orchestra from above
There are fifty-five musicians in this
photograph, including:

Eight violins, six violas, six cellos, seven


second violins, two trumpets, three
trombones, a tuba, four horns, percussion,
tympani, four basses, two clarinets, two
flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, a harp and
a keyboard player. Plus a soloist, and a
conductor.

And when they play together, they play as a


single musical entity.

A symphony orchestra is a truly amazing


example of cooperative and synchronized
human group activity.
Intersections and conversations
Tonight’s concert abandons our classical concert habits of
formality and seriousness not only by bringing food together
with music, but by adding conversation during the concert as
well.

At left, a live video feed opens up during the concert to Nick


Benninger, Nat’s partner, back at the Uptown 21 restaurant.

Edwin and Nick converse briefly about music and food, and
Nick admits that he prefers the Rolling Stones to classical
works. Edwin’s fine with that; he likes the Stones too!

Above right: Edwin and Nat chat between songs.

Centre right: during intermission, Bryan Izzard, owner of artbar


-- a bistro favourite of KW’s art and music crowd -- serves
wine he has chosen to compliment the music and tasting
courses.

Below right: in another break of formal concert tradition, the


wine is permitted into the theatre.

Wine and food during a classical music concert?

Yes!
The tasting
The challenge for the evening is to serve three tasting courses
to the audience while the orchestra is playing -- without
causing undue disruption.

Careful planning and timing are essential, as are the cautious


and considerate hands of the ushers.

Left, from top: from a sideboard staged in the lobby, Kevin


stages the tasting spoons on trays; ushers carry these trays
into the hall; waiting for the cue to begin service.

Near right: an overhead view of the tasting. Ushers bring the


trays quietly down the steps and pass them to patrons at the
end of each row. Patrons pass them across, taking a spoon
each. Later, trays cross again to collect empty spoons.

Far right: sampling the polenta.


The second half
Audience members, having heard about the
selections of wine chosen to match the
music and the food, are intrigued by the
possibilities.

Most have chosen to bring their beverages


back into the hall to complete the sensual
triple-play: food, music and wine.

Left: returning from intermission, a patron


descends the stairs just in time for the
second half to begin.
The soloist:
Megan Latham
The second half of the concert also brings us
tonight’s soloist: Canadian mezzo-soprano
Megan Latham.

Ms. Latham’s rich, melodic and artful voice


is a perfect compliment to the musical works
to come.

From Cole Porter to 60’s psychedelic rock to


the avant garde musical experiment Bon
Appetit, her keen feeling for dramatic
portrayals never leads the audience astray.

In this photo, Ms. Latham is wearing a pink


shawl and is standing just to the left of
conductor Edwin Outwater.
In this overhead shot, Ms. Latham performs
Edwin Outwater’s orchestral arrangement of
the humorous Tale of the Oyster, a playful
and light-hearted story about the adventures
of an eponymous shellfish written by the
jazz-era master Cole Porter.

The next piece is Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appetit,


an interesting musical recapitulation of Julia
Child’s recipe for gâteau au chocolat
(chocolate cake). The vocal performance
includes not only the full recipe for the cake,
but also every word spoken by Ms. Child
during the episode of the television
programme that presented the recipe.

As the final song for the evening, she will


perform in an orchestral arrangement of the
famous 1960’s psychedelic rock song
Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry
Alarm Clock. The arranger for this innovative
version, Nicole Lizée, is in the audience.
The evening ends
We have spent two and a half hours exploring the intersection
of food and music. With classical orchestral compositions,
jazz standards, art songs, and psychedelia -- accompanied
by wine and both sweet and savoury tasting experiences --
the evening has been a sensual tour-de-force.

One of Edwin’s final comments to the audience: “Thank you


for coming out for something we’ve never done before, and
something I’ve never even heard of before!”

With daring experimentation like this, the Kitchener-Waterloo


Symphony’s Intersections series is on the leading edge of
orchestral musical performance.

I know I speak for more than myself in saying that I am thrilled


to live in a community that is willing to take artistic risks like
this, see them through with talent and enthusiasm, and
thereby produce something new and wonderful!

Bravo!

Left: the audience and orchestra members applaud Ms.


Latham’s performance.

Right, from top: ushers open the doors as the concert ends;
patrons in the lobby, on the way home after a satisfying
evening; Kevin cleans up the preparation area.
KWS staff and volunteers
The non-profit Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony
is not just a group of musicians. Nearly two
dozen staff members plus many volunteers
work to keep the organization running. So,
when you think of the KWS, don’t just think
of the wonderful music and the talented
musicians -- also think of the hard-working
and dedicated team working behind the
curtain.

Administration
Genevieve Twomey, Amy Higgins
Artistic
Edwin Outwater, Olga Myachajluk
Finance
Marilyn Fitzpatrick
Development
Jana Gordon, Sarah McPherson,
Sandra Villaraga
Marketing
Jessica Jones-Deziel, Tal Hebdon,
Esther Wheaton, Stephanie Munger,
Rob Covens
Education & Outreach
Christopher Sharpe, Barbara Kaplanek
Operations
Laurie Castello, Dawna Coleman, Michelle
Lawson, Corey Rempel, Nancy Wharton
Acknowledgements
This book would not have been possible
without the enthusiastic cooperation of the
Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony staff and
musicians.

Not only have they given me full freedom and


access to their rehearsals and concerts, they
have responded enthusiastically to every
idea and challenge I’ve thrown their way.

It is every author’s dream to work with a


group who are so engaged and responsive.

For this book in particular, I would like to


thank Jessica and Dawna for cheerfully
making impossible things possible.

Thanks again.

-- Sean M Puckett, March 2010


Written and Photographed by Sean M Puckett | www.SeanMPuckett.com