Parrywinkle, September 29, 2016

Let's start off this week's column by quoting Duke Orsino of Illyria, presiding over the merry, mixed-up world of Twelfth Night, who opens Shakespeare's classic with the lines:

'If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.'

Okay, so I had to look it up on Google, but for a specific reason!


TRULY TALENTED TRIO - You see, a few years ago, while relaxing in our garden, I heard for the first time the most excruciating, painful, caterwauling strains of a violin - t'was either that or a cat catching a squirrel - emanating from a garden close by. And on and on it went, seemingly forever, although in reality, for an hour at most each time. But every weekend, for months on end.

Not that I'm a musician by any stretch of the imagination - although it is said I do play a mean air guitar - but it sounded like someone practicing their scales albeit not on a Stradivarius. But in time, dear readers, the notes became more melodic, more structured, more confident. And I came to actually look forward to hearing the progression of this obviously young violinist or violinists who I came to believe was, or were, giving a concert recital just for me alone.

PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY Ember, Ashley-Maria, and Colton Reed, photographed in their garden on the eve of a major concert in Valleyfield, are sweet music to my ears.

Well, this past week, after listening to not one but two violins accompanied by a cello coming from the very same home, and loving every minute of it, I decided to go over and introduce myself and thank them sincerely for the impromptu concert. And what a delight it was! For I finally got to meet some very talented young Hudsonites for whom playing music is not just a hobby, but a passion.

Namely 20-year-old Ashley-Maria Reed, who has been playing the cello since she was four, her 18-year-old brother, Colton, who began playing the violin at the age of five, and their younger sister, Ember, who also started violin when she was four years old.


SUPER SIBLINGS - What's more, my unannounced visit was the very day before they were to appear on stage in Valleyfield in a concert featuring three laureates of the music competition, Classival, held last spring and comprising another violinist, their multiple award-winning string trio, and a pianist. And with a diversified, program featuring violin works of Bruch and Mozart, string trio works of Beethoven, Kodály and Dohnányi, and piano compositions by Chopin, Schubert, and Ravel.

Says Ashley-Maria, who recently graduated from Vanier College in Music and is now taking a year off preparing for her 'next adventure' while enjoying painting and stargazing, “It was standing room only and organizers told us that it was the best attended concert they have ever had.”

Colton, who - in addition to the violin - has recently taken up the viola and loves to cook and go hiking, is now completing the Music program at Marianopolis College, and Ember - also an accomplished singer who loves to paint, draw, and write - is currently homeschooled through the Kolbe Academy in the U.S.

Was fascinated to learn that neither of their parents are, in fact, career musicians. Their Mom, Michelle Manuel, being a microbiologist who does play the piano occasionally, and their father, Doug Reed, also a microbiologist.

“They are very supportive of us,” says Ashley-Maria. “Through encouragement, faith, and patience. They are selfless in giving of their time be it driving or listening to us to give a hand. And they have also sacrificed financially for us, making sure that we have good instruments. Instruments that they frequently play at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Hudson on which note she adds, “Father Roland Demers, the congregation of St. Thomas, and the community of Hudson have been tremendously supportive over the years and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their encouragement. It makes all the difference when we see joy in people’s faces. It means a lot.” Looking forward to your next impromptu performance in your garden guys. And delighted to have finally met you!


CORONATION STREET MOVES - On not such a happy note, the volunteer-run Hudson Coronation Street Appreciation Society which, together with my beautiful Sunshine, I founded 12 years ago on September 5 and which has since held 142 monthly Sunday luncheons without a break at the Auberge Willow Inn - rain, snow, or shine - will not be held there this coming Sunday, October 2.

The reason? While the landmark inn, owned by Michel Poirier, is set to officially close on November 1, I learned from managers, Nancy Campeau and Christine Booth, this week that it is no longer accepting group bookings as they cannot guarantee quality service with so many staff members already hired, or seeking employment, elsewhere in the region.


Instead, it will be held at the regular time at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #115 in Hudson with Betty's Hot Pot on the menu and lots of other surprises. The address is 56 Beach adjacent to the Community Centre on Main Road, the dress code is black and white, and for further info, or to confirm your reservation, give me a buzz at (450) 458-7154 and hope to see you there. It sure promises to be a most memorable afternoon!


FOR THE BIRDS - Meanwhile, it also promises to a fun and amusing evening there on Tuesday, October 4, when - following the phenomenally successful weekly Hamburger Night soon coming to a close - there will be a very special guest. All the way from Yellowknife in the North West Territories. Namely, Anthony Foliot, son of Hudsonites Gerry and Sylvia Foliot, who will be reading from his hilarious book, Tales of an Old Town Versifier.

Learned from Gerry that several years ago in his travels, Anthony immediately fell in love with that part of the world and became an admirer and ardent fan of the north's well known poet, Robert Service. So much so, in fact, that it inspired him to write down his own personal experiences of the north and its rich history in his book published last year when he was invited to do a reading at the National Arts Gallery in Ottawa.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GERRY FOLLIOT No, that’s not me above. But rather Anthony Folliot all the way from the North West Territories who will be reading from his book, Tales of an Old Town Versifier, at the Hudson Legion on Tuesday, October 4.

While there will be no charge for his performance here in Hudson, Gerry says that if you wish to make a donation of bird seed or a monetary offering for the Legion-sponsored Feed the Birds project at the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence on Como Gardens in Hudson, it would be greatly appreciated as Legion members will be continuing to fill and maintain the feeders throughout the winter for our feathered friends who do not go south. What a great initiative folks and well worth supporting!


MORE HUMOROUS READINGS - As is the Hudson Players Club, now celebrating their 68th season of continuous community theatre in Hudson and area, that begins their Fall/ Winter season of activities with the ever popular Evening of Humorous Readings at Hudson Village Theatre on Friday, September 30, with the doors opening at 7 p.m. with refreshments being served before the 7.30 p.m. performance.

Among members reading are Lorne Elliott, Peter Williamson, Mark Drake, Jasmine Floyd, and Jeff Poitras, as well as club president, Steve Walters, and his 'Gang of 4'! All are welcome and while it's free for members, guests will be asked to pay only $5 for what, as usual, promises to be a hoot of an evening. During which they will be giving away two tickets to an upcoming show at Centaur Theatre in Montreal by random draw of club members. Bravo to all!

And that's a wrap!


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