Prior to the COVID pandemic, a group of local music teachers would hold a series of four music recitals during the fall and winter to give their students an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience.
It was called the Gloucester Music Club and the recitals featured some of the best young pianists, violinists, vocalists and other instrumentalists in the east end of Ottawa and beyond.
Like most other public events, the Gloucester Music Club recitals were suspended during the pandemic in order to adhere to provincial regulations banning public gatherings.
As things started to return to normal in 2022 there was no real desire to reinstate the Gloucester Music Club or the recitals.
It wasn’t until former GMC president Jennifer Messer opened a piano rehearsal studio on Montreal Road earlier this year that the seed was planted to organize a successor the Gloucester Music Club, and so the Ottawa East Music Club was born.
The second in a series of five recitals was held at the 10,000 Hours Piano Rehearsal Studios on Nov. 26.
Nineteen young people between the ages of six and 17 who are at various stages of their musical education performed in front of an intimate audience made up of about 60 family members, music teachers and other musicians.
Among the many standouts were recitals by Annie Lee, 9, who played Chopin’s Waltz in B minor Opus Posthumas 69, No. 2; Charlotte Hu’s performance of Fantasy Bossa by British pianist and composer Christopher Norton; and Victor Leclerc-Wu’s performance of Franz Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90, No. 2.
But the two recitals that stood out the most for this writer were Naomi Lee’s performance of Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 5 Black Keys which was a sheer delight, and Carl Albert Loschhorn’s Etude No. 60, Op. 136, No. 20 which was played by 12-year-old Sofia Zaika who recently immigrated to Canada with her parents and older brother.
The family is originally from Ukraine, but they moved to Poland five years ago with the goal of eventually ending up in Canada. It was friends of theirs in the local Ukrainian community who convinced them to put down roots to Ottawa.
One of the first things they did after they arrived here was to find a piano teacher for Sofia, who started playing piano when she was six under the tutelage of her mother Yulia.
“This has been our dream to live in Canada,” says Yulia. “In Canada, our children have many opportunities they didn’t have in Poland.”
The next Ottawa East Music Club recital will be held on Jan. 14. The 10,000 Hours Piano Rehearsal Studio is located at 353 Montreal Rd.
|Naomi Lee, 13, closes out the Ottawa East Music Club Recital on Nov. 13. This was the second in a series of five music recitals to be held at the 10,000 Hours Piano Rehearsal Studios in 2023-2024. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO