Family and friends gathered for a lovely evening of jazz at Upper Canada College’s Club Bluenote at the Prep School’s Weston Hall on Feb. 7.
The candle-lit hall was packed, and audience members enjoyed coffee and desserts as well as the talent displayed by a range of UCC’s top musicians and singers.
Upper School music head Tony Gomes’ Intermediate Jazz Band opened the show to much applause with “Funk Zone” by Doug Beach and George Shutack, followed by “Tutu” by Marcus Miller, “Some Other Blues” by John Coltrane and “Tango for Jam Jam” by Zachary Smith.
An engaging performance by Upper School music teacher Peter Smith’s Junior Jazz Band included “Stella By Starlight,” “If I Could Fly” and “That’s How We Roll.”
The Upper School and Prep choirs led by Upper School organist and choirmaster Daniel Webb and Prep arts head and Primary Division music teacher Kathryn Edmondson also performed, charming the audience with swinging renditions of the Bill Haley and Elvis Presley hits “Rock Around the Clock” and “Blue Suede Shoes.”
Prep band director and Middle Division music teacher Paul McGarr’s Prep Jazz Band performed “Ocean View,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Some Like it Blues,” featuring solos by Jacob Moore on alto saxophone, Neil Zhou on clarinet, Alan Cui on piano, Alexander Janczewski on tenor sax and Matthew Ho on piano.
The Senior Jazz Band closed the show with “Black Pearls,” “Whisper Not” and “All I Do Is Dream of You.”
Thank you to all of the talented boys of the Prep Jazz Band, the Upper School’s jazz ensembles and the Prep and Upper School choirs, as well as Edmondson, Gomes, McGarr, Smith and Webb, who all worked hard to make a lovely night happen.
In terms of news coverage for Vimy, by Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Vern Thiessen, the Arts Booster Club has a report as does Angus Webb ’19, whose first foray into acting was both a personal history lesson and a chance to immerse himself in a completely different world:
Congratulations to all the actors and everyone who contribute to the Upper Canada College-Bishop Strachan School co-production of Vimy on Nov. 23 through 25 in the lecture theatre. Every detail is thoughtfully considered for this production both inside and outside the theatre, from the reception area decorated with old posters of Canadians who fought in Vimy to the intimate stage of four hospital beds set against the sounds of battle. Costumes are so well done; one understand that, in those conditions, a pair of shoes two sizes too big is part of the deal.
Most impressive is the cast whose wonderful performance makes it hard to hold back tears. The history of Vimy, narrated by each individual, is the history of Canada; it’s a country of different cultures with something in common — their love for their land. This play was a must-see, not only for students but also for parents.
-Arts Booster Club
Going into my first play, I didn’t know what to expect. Most of cast members were new to acting, too. With the help of the two returning actors and director, Ms. Macdonell, over eight diligent weeks we learned much about both the art of theatre, and the Battle of Vimy Ridge. I remember studying the event in Grade 9 Canadian history and heard stories of my great-grandfather as a highlander at Vimy, but never had I understood how the soldiers felt during and in the days leading up to the famous battle. Playing soldiers and a nurse, in Vern Thiessen’s VIMY, showed us all the different Canadian perspectives of the war. We all felt very pleased with the play’s reception. It was wonderful to be part of a significant Canadian play for the UCC/BSS fall production.
Check out this collection of videos from the Festival of Christmas Music and Readings. Then scroll down to read the Prep Arts Booster Club’s account of the afternoon, along with some images.
Prep musicians add sparkle to Festival of Christmas Music and Reading
Laidlaw Hall was filled with the joyous sounds of holiday music as the Prep Concert Band, the wind ensemble and the Prep school choirs performed in UCC’s annual Festival of Christmas Music and Readings on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017.
Parents, students and friends came together in song to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Our musicians and singers were phenomenal, with an impressive vocal solo performance by Form 7 student Andrew Ma in the processional carol, “Once in Royal David’s City.” Friends and families were also treated to moving readings by Prep boys Jack Guilfoyle and Hudson Vandermeer, and Upper School students Noah Verhoeff and Josh Neufeldt.
Thank you to Kathryn Edmondson, Tony Gomes, Paul McGarr and Daniel Webb for organizing this lovely afternoon. Thank you to all our Prep Primary and Senior Choir boys’ beautiful carols. And a special thank you goes to Paul McGarr and the talented boys in the Prep concert band for welcoming guests to the Upper School with a selection of Christmas carols, a terrific prelude to the day’s main event.
Laidlaw Hall was the place to be, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to enjoy this autumn’s Music Night. The ambience was inviting and the music was groovy, while the energy of a stage full of young musicians filled the hall with exuberance.
The music moved the audience with its crisp and soaring melodies, no doubt so beautifully rendered due to a great deal of practice. The boys delivered a fine concert, indeed.
Thank you to all the talented boys of the Blue Notes, the wind ensemble, the concert, symphonic, junior jazz band, Intermediate jazz and Senior jazz bands, and to Mr. Webb, Mr. Gomes, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Heffernan, who all worked so hard to make a night like this happen.
Mark your calendar, UCC families and friends — Association Day (A-Day) is September 23, 2017. A-Day is one of the biggest community events of the entire school year. Join Old Boys, students, parents, past parents and friends of the College for a wonderful day of friendship, fun and UCC spirit.
Friends and family gathered in the David Chu Theatre for an intimate, one-night only musical event on April 28. Peter Smith and the senior jazz ensemble entertained the audience with a fabulous repertoire including hits from Bill Withers, Lennon and McCartney, and Rodgers and Hart. [Scroll down for complete photo/video coverage.]
The night was filled with wonderful solo performances from many of the boys including Max Fingold on alto sax, JC Chung on tenor sax, Jayson Dale on keyboard, Robert Walker and Jacob Gotlieb on guitar, and Raphael Berz on trumpet. Highlights of the evening included a stunning duet by Kal Shaw on alto sax with his mom on keyboard, an incredible rendition of “I’m Feeling Good” featuring vocalist Nathan McLean and a captivating solo performance by singer Flynn Tanner on his acoustic guitar.
A number of songs showcased the impressive vocal talent of Daniella Gallay and Amanda Cash from the Bishop Strachan School. They sang beautifully in such classics as “My Funny Valentine” and “Girl From Ipanema.”
Throughout the evening, younger band members expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Leaving Class boys for their hard work and friendship. Jazz Night concluded with a lovely presentation and gift for Peter Smith.
A huge thank you goes to Smith and our talented senior jazz ensemble; you definitely all put on a terrific show. Best and warmest wishes go to our graduating IB2s. We will miss you.
All 140 Upper Canada College Grade 8 students were involved in the first of what should be annual collaborative art projects at the Norval Outdoor School last month.
“Students use found materials to create place-based land art on a large scale, inspired by the history of UCC and Norval’s land use,” says Norval instructor Liz Jankowski.
While land art with natural materials in the style of Andy Goldsworthy has been created at Norval in past years during the annual Grade 8 trip, this is the first time that it’s been a collaborative effort with each piece being incorporated into the next.
An aerial view of the boys’ work.
“This is also the first year their art is created to be viewed from above,” says Jankowski, noting that a drone with a camera flew over the Norval campus to record the process.
“Not only were their finished pieces a work of art, but the entire process of creation over the week was filmed as an art piece as well.”
The idea was inspired by a British children’s television series called Art Attack where, at the end of each show, the host would create a large piece of art that could only be viewed from above.
Students had two hours to collect natural materials and create their design, and all of the projects combined took 12 hours to complete.
“They learned about planning a project within time constraints, and adapting their plan as time passed,” says Jankowski.
“They learned to work together towards a common goal, and how to incorporate all ideas from their group into their final design. They had fun creating the art.”
All the materials used to create the art were later moved to line a path at Norval.
“I hope in future years we can add to this path so the whole length of the path is lined with tree cookies,” says Jankowski.
Watch this video of the process to get an idea of the scale of the project.
Nuit Bleue was a night to remember, with so much creative energy shining brightly all through the College. From the art rooms to the David Chu Theatre, from the film room to Laidlaw Hall and throughout the student centre, creative artists in all forms dazzled visitors with their amazing work on April 18.
The excitement kicked off with a special Nuit Bleue rally in Laidlaw Hall, featuring a rock concert and students waving blue glow-bracelets enthusiastically. Then the student centre came alive with the with first ever “Iron Chef UCC” competition. Complete with celebrity judges and secret ingredients, UCC crowned its first Iron Chef. The IB2s’ incredible works were all on display and the Blue Zone had plenty of different food including ice cream and a DJ to keep everyone happy.
Moviegoers were treated to the IB2 final films, while those looking for a break in the action stopped by Cafe Moliere for some French pastries and a chance to practise their French. And what better way to enjoy the French culture than being surrounded by artworks from budding Grade 7 artists” And in the David Chu theatre, theatrical performances including improv, solo and IB2 group works impressed the audience with compelling performances.
Beautiful artwork created by artists in all grades was displayed throughout the halls, turning the school into one big gallery. The Blue Caller, a compilation of literary gems, was handed out to give people a chance to not only see and feel, but also to read some impressive works.
An awesome musical celebration capped off the evening in Laidlaw Hall featuring all the ensembles. The audience appreciated the incredible musical performances and musicians received two standing ovations.
Nuit Bleue is a celebration of the arts at UCC and, as we saw this year, there’s lots to celebrate.
More than 400 moms, “special moms” and sons got together to share an evening of fun and laughter at the Arts Booster Club’s third annual mother-son dinner theatre on March 8.
The evening was anchored by a hilarious performance by Greg Eckler ’87, a multiple winner of the Canadian Screen Award and writer for the Rick Mercer Report. He was joined by four comedians who’ve performed all over Canada. They are Tim Steeves, Fraser Young, Jeff Tseng and Rick Currie. They kept the audience laughing all night long.
The show, called “Comedy Digest: Jokes while you Digest,” was performed in Laidlaw Hall and created specially for the evening. It included jokes about mothers, sons, relationships and so much more.
Principal McKinney offered some heartfelt words about mothers and sons before the show and everyone was treated to a delicious buffet dinner catered by Black Camel. People filled their plates multiple times, sampling all offerings from this popular spot.
It was a special evening as moms from as far away as Hong Kong and Texas came to attend with their sons. Boarders were accompanied by “special” faculty moms and Upper School moms and boys all shared the evening together in this wonderful community event.
And when the night concluded, moms took home a lovely photo with their son. The boys received a candy treat. It was a sweet ending to this incredible night where everyone left with smiles on their faces.
A large cast and crew comprised of Upper Canada College Prep boys, and female guests from The Bishop Strachan School, staged an impressive performance of Shrek on Feb. 23 and 24.
While Shrek and its three computer-animated sequels have made hundreds of millions of dollars at movie box offices, the much lower budget UCC and BSS production featured young actors bringing the title character and the likes of Princess Fiona, Donkey and many others to life on stage under the direction of Prep music head Kathryn Edmondson.
Shrek tells the story of a solitary ogre named Shrek who’s befriended by a donkey and several fairy tale creatures who are sent to live in his swamp by Lord Farquaad. Farquaad needs Fiona to marry him so he can become king of Duloc, and Shrek and Donkey help rescue her from a fire-breathing dragon.
Along the way, Shrek falls in love with Fiona, who reveals to Donkey that she’s cursed and turns into an ogress at night. Farquaad and Fiona’s wedding is interrupted by Shrek, Donkey and Dragon, who removes Farquaad from the picture. Shrek and Fiona kiss, and Fiona turns into an ogress permanently. Shrek gets his swamp back and marries Fiona.
“Friday night’s auditorium was full of family and friends who were charmed by the Prep performance of Shrek the Musical,” says Prep parent Astrid Player.
“The energy and enjoyment of the actors radiated off the stage and cultivated smiles and laughter for a fun night for everyone. Congratulation to all the hard work and talent of the UCC boys and the BSS girls.”