Listen Up! Ottawa: A triumph for The Gryphon Trio, Andrew Staniland, Maestro Rob Kapilow, Featherston Drive Public School Students, the Ottawa Children’s Choir at “Featherston Days” Performance on May 29, 2013


That’s what JC had to say after the May 29 performance, under the baton of Rob Kapilow, who conducted the Gryphon Trio, students from Featherston Drive Public School and choirs under the direction of Jackie Hawley in the premiere of “Featherston Days,” an original suite arranged and composed by Andrew Staniland, based on music and poetry written by Grade 7 and 8 students at the school. JC was thrilled to have served this Listen Up! Ottawa project as poet-mentor.Go to the Ottawa Chambre Music Society Website for information on Listen Up! Ottawa.

“These young poets and composers show such promise. It has been wonderful to be associated with The Gryphon Trio’s project and with the school. The performance on May 29 provided a unique musical and literary opportunity to Ottawa audiences which revelled in these students’ creativity,” JC declared .

For her part in Listen Up! Ottawa at Featherston Drive Public School, JC spent many hours with participating classes and their teachers. She led a number of interactive workshops with each of the three classes involved, which focussed on building poetry-writing skills. She also offered individual coaching to students who wished to discuss their poems with her directly. Once all the poems were written, JC reviewed them and forwarded the students’ work to composer Andrew Staniland, who selected the poetry that would be incorporated into “Featherston Days.”

“I am hoping that Listen Up! Ottawa will publish a commemorative book on this project at Featherston Drive Public School. I look forward to seeing “Featherston Days” in print and salute The Gryphon Trio for enriching the project by adding this print dimension this year!”

In the autumn of 2012, the media advisory issued by the Chamber Music Society described Listen Up! Ottawa this way

“The initiative features Canadian composer Andrew Staniland and Ottawa poet JC Sulzenko, who will guide Featherston’s Grade 7 and 8 students in an intensive three-day creative writing and composition workshop. The three members of the Gryphon Trio (Roman Borys, cello; Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; and Jamie Parker, piano) and percussionist David Schotzko will also be on hand to provide direction and inspiration.

“After the workshop is complete, Staniland will use the students’ collected ideas in a new musical arrangement, which the students themselves will perform on May 29, 2013 at Dominion-Chalmers United Church with the Gryphon Trio, the Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa, the Ottawa Children’s Chorus, and members of Ottawa-based Leading Note Foundation’s Orkidstra. American composer and music commentator, Rob Kapilow, conducts.

“Listen Up! involves entire communities in a collaborative arts creation process. It teaches children to actively listen to music by engaging them in learning activities that combine music creation with poetry writing, music improvisation, movement, staging, and video creation. The program also offers parents the opportunity to re-engage with the arts, and it encourages local businesses and associations to support community arts initiatives.

“The Ottawa Chamber Music Society, whose mandate includes community outreach and arts education, is a funding partner and community host presenter of Listen Up! Ottawa. The Society will provide promotional, box office, front-of-house, and production support to the May 29 concert at Dominion-Chalmers.”

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