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(Posted 4:30 p.m., Nov. 30)

Gloucester Music Club concert showcases remarkably talented youngsters
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Sara Cowell performs a recorder recital during the Gloucester Music club concert on Saturday night. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Gloucester Music Club held the first installment in its annual concert series on the weekend, showcasing a wonderful array of incredibly talented musicians.

The Orleans United Church provided the venue for the concerts which took place last Friday and Saturday night.

The Gloucester Music Club was formed in 1995 by members of the Gloucester Music Teachers Association to give their students an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of an actual audience.

The concert series also provides the young musicians with an opportunity to prepare for the Kiwains Music Festival, a city-wide music competition which takes place every spring.

Saturday's recital was kicked off by nine-year-old Jeffrey Xia who showed signs of possessing a real gift during his performance of "Funny Puppy" by Anne Crosby. Jillian Kimbell was up next with "Snowflakes" by Linda Niamath, which was brief but extremely well-played.

Two-thirds of the Millan sisters followed Niamath onto stage. Nine-year-old Julia Millan had a couple of small bobbles during "Never Smile At A Crocodile" by Frank Churchill and 11-year-old Natalie performed a very beautiful flute recital of "Vltava" by the 19th century composer Bedrich Smetana.

Robyn Moke and Jacob Brant were both extremely impressive on the piano. Moke's interpretation of "Dream Journey" by Christine Donkin was extremely well-played -- I especially liked the flourish at the end -- and Brant provided one of the early highlights of the evening with his near flawless performance of "Sleeping Dragon" by Nancy Telfer.

The third Millan sister, 12-year-old Emily, started off playing "Monkeys In A Tree" by Boris Berlin in perfect syncopation before making a couple of miscues near the end. Part of the problem was that she had only started learning the piece six weeks ago, which is not a lot of time.

"I started off well, but I made four mistakes," Millan admitted after her performance."It's a difficult piece to play."

Alexander Cosenza, 15, tackled J.S. Bach's very complex "Invention No. 13 in A minor" and did a superb job despite sounding a little rushed at times and losing his way slightly in the middle.

Sara Cowell provided a respite from the piano recitals with an enchanting performance on the recorder. The 24-year-old played a traditional Quebec composition entitled "Noel Nouvelet".

While most Grade 7 and 8 students dread having to learn the recorder in music class, Cowell fell in love with the instrument from he first time she played it.

"I started out playing piano, but it wasn't my thing," said Cowell. "Then in school I started playing the recorder and I really liked the sound."

The second half of the concert featured several stellar performances starting with Philip Chau's rendition of "Pink & Crimson" by Robert Starer.

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Zhu displayed a musicality beyond her years during a truly exceptional performance of "Gigue, Suite No. 3 in Eb+" by the baroque composer Johann Ludwig Krebs.

Ziu was followed on stage by pre-teen prodigy Mark Perera, who recently completed his Grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music exam. The 12-year-old wunderkind's performance of Bach's "Prelude and Fugue in D minor" was one of the finest piano recitals of the evening.

Two of the most memorable performances of the evening were delivered by sisters Carolyn and Diana Fernand.

Fourteen-year-old violinist Carolyn played "Concertino in A- Op 21" by the 19th century German composer Oskar Rieding, while 16-year-old Diana played the "Hungarian Pastoral Rhapsody" by Franz Doppler on the flute.

Diana's spell-binding performance was definitely the high point of the evening. At several points during the piece the hair on my arms stood up, it was that good.

Among the other performers were Jeremy Xia who played “Pumpkin Boogie” by Faber; Stephanie Gran-Ruaz played “Cape Breton Lullaby” by David Duke; Marcus Gran-Ruaz played “Bacarole” by Duke; Angela Mackenzie played “This Is The Moment” by Wildhorn; and Rhys Carriere-Webster brought the concert to a close with “Waltz in C minor” by Chopin.

The next Gloucester Music Club recital is scheduled for Feb. 5 and 6, while the third installment is slated for March 26 and 27.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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