I had a real nice mini vacation this past weekend.
I was asked to come up to Peterborough to play an all Johannes Strauss JR. program with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra.
I was first of all quite surprised how far Peterborough really is from Toronto. 140 km ! one way. This orchestra has a wonderful conductor, and a great dedicated horn section. I was able to billet with the 2nd horn player on Saturday night.
To my wonderful surprise I was invited to a winter wonderland picture postcard of a house. The first thing you realized when I traveled to this house, you think were the hec are we going. My drive to the house, winding roads, and finally a small tree covered road opened up to this large area and with a large 19th century typical 2 story Ontario Home. There was about one foot of fresh snow on the ground, and all the trees were covered with a large amount of the white stuff as well.
I really felt like I just drove up to house that was featured in the December issue of Homes & Gardens ! When you entered into the home you were confronted with a wonderful Christmas smell in the air of sugar and spice. The banisters where all covered in Christmas holy, every were there were beautiful Christmas ornaments and really tasteful decorations. When you walked down the long hallway, you entered the heart of the house, the Kitchen and Kitchen den. Fresh cookies were just baked, the fireplace was roaring the Christmas stocking all hung over the fireplace… really, Martha Stewart would approve !
… any way.. I had a wonderful time, Ann and her husband, a CBC hockey Night in Canada announcer, and ex professional NHL goalie were extremely hospitable, and made me feel very welcome !
I just love meeting and making new friends, Canada is a great place to do just That !
Once again the Christmas Around the World festival was held at City Hall. This year once again we were disapointed with the turn out. I had done so much extra advertising this year. Alot of newspapers plus TV news stations did cover the event, but the crowds were very thin. I really don't know how we can improve on this for next year. It remains a great event and all of our groups love taking part every year.
Any way, Merry Christmas, from City Hall from 14 different ethnic communities that took part in this festival.
So this whole week I have been playing Principal Horn in Kitchener. I always enjoy playing with this orchestra. The members of the orchestra are first of all so very nice, and the environment for playing is very relaxed and fine music making is task no. 1.
The program and soloists where Simon Streatfeild, conductor
Rivka Golani, viola* Beverly Johnston, percussion* the program:Skalkottas: Five Greek Dances, Christos Hatzis: Pyrrichean Dances and Beethoven: Symphony no. 7
The Hatzis piece was especially exciting and different, with Beverly and Rivka as soloists. And as always the Beethoven was a BLAST !
Together with 150 other friends and colleagues we paid tribute to my long dearest friend Anne Marie Monaco.
A memorial service had been organized by some close friends of Anne at the Jackman Studio at the Canadian Opera Company’s Tannenbaum Centre.
When I entered the room I was overwhelmed by the effort that went into creating a really wonderful tribute to Anne. The room, a large rehearsal hall, was decorated in large floral arrangements donated by the COC orchestra and the Canadian Ballet Company orchestra. The 2 orchestras Anne was a long time member of. In the middle of the room about 150 chairs set up. On the right some tables set up with hundreds of pictures from photo albums, a table set up with all sorts of awards Anne had won over the years, her Queen’s University Bachelor of Music Degree and many other memorabilia.
Beside the table a large film screen where later at the end of the service Steve Mitchell, Annes first boyfriend will be screening his video tribute to Anne. Beside the screen, a lovely picture of Anne, and her Horn ! I was shocked to see her horn. I know that horn so well, and seeing it made me sad that she was not there to play on it. She loved playing so much.. Anne was all about the horn. The one thing she could count on to make her happy and satisfied was her horn and making music.
On the left side of the room was a speaking podium again some beautiful flowers, and then 2 large tables with food and drinks for a post reception.
Once everyone was more or less settled down and said there hellos the afternoon program begun with Howard Cable conducting the Hannaford Street Silver Band with “Nimrod”, From the Enigma variations, Opus 36 by Edward Elgar. While listening to this , the music just hit the right spot, and my waterworks started. I was overwhelmed and very sad for this tragedy ! Why Anne.. why were you so determined to end it all ! so Sad So very sad !
After the beautiful playing, Cynthia Woods, Executor of the Estate and will, gave her introduction and Greetings. Then some beautiful words and memories by Howard Cable, to which Anne was a great friend with for many, many years, she even worked for him, completely re-organizing his vast music Library. Following his kind words, the Hannaford played and new piece by Howard, “ I’ll Follow” with a nice alto horn solo in it, played by Linda Bronicheski.
We then heard Leslie Magowan from the Essex Winds tell us her wonderful stories and experiences with Anne. The Essex winds was very dear and close to Anne’s heart. The Quintet did travel a lot around the world and in its hay days, the 90’s ,it did very well. The Essex winds was formed from principal players that were members of the Windsor Symphony, to which Anne was principal horn in Windsor for many years. After Leslies memories, I sat in and played along with the Essex Winds. We played the “ Andante’ from a Beethoven Quartet arranged for winds. I was very honoured that the quintet had asked me to play in Anne’s place. The piece we performed ( for, by the way, a room full of horn players) had a very nice horn solo and was a pleasure to play and play with Anne totally in my mind ! my tribute to her, as well as I could !
After the quintet performed, Anne’s brother, Sergio got up and thanked everyone for organizing this memorial and told us all about what it was like to grow up with a horn-playing sister.
Finally at the end, Steven Mitchell talked to us about his experiences with Anne. Steve was Anne’s first and longest boyfriend. They were High School sweethearts, and for 10 years. Steve is now a professional video and film producer, and as his tribute to her was in the form of a still picture slide show with music. A history of Anne in still pictures. It was wonderful and he did an absolutely amazing job with this piece. The nicest thing any one could have done for Anne.
After the film, there was a lot of sniffing and crying in the hall, me included. We then all got up and made our way over to the refreshment table, by that time I needed a stiff drink, but alas only coffee was available. I got to speak to a lot of friends and music colleagues that I had not seen in a long, long time. Some as much as 20 years ago !
Anne knew and was friends with a lot of people over the years, and many of us had not met each other and now because of this, finally we got to all meet each other. A really nice gesture resulting from such sad circumstances !
Yesterday I played Principal with the Oshawa Symphony once again. It was a wonderful program with the highlight of the evening of Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony. The hall was nice and full, and very appreciative of the fine playing. I am really enjoying my new post with Oshawa. Next February I am playing 1st in Mahler 1st symphony, that will be a blast !
Brahms once said : " The horn is the soul of the Orchestra"
This week mom had an operation to put in a new pace maker ! wow... she was operated on and 24 hours later she was discharged. These type of operations have become so
'matter-of-fact' its like a constant converyor belt of patients wheeled in and out of the OR for there new parts , like a car garage almost. Techology today ! amazing !
So any way she has a new, as I call it , Metronome ! and she is feeling great. Her heart rate is not to low any more at night, and has less aches and pains in her legs.
Melinda makes this pumpkin pie every fall.. it's to die for !
PUMPKIN CHIFFON PIE WITH GINGERSNAP PECAN CRUST
fourteen 2-inch gingersnaps (about 4 ounces)
1 cup pecans (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter melted and cooled
1 envelope (about 1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons brandy rum or water
1 cup milk
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a food processor grind gingersnaps, pecans, and sugar fine and add butter, blending until combined well. Press mixture onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (1-quart) glass pie plate. Bake crust in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden around edge, and cool on rack.
In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over brandy, rum, or water and let stand.
In a heavy saucepan whisk together milk, brown sugar, yolks, pumpkin, spices, and salt and cook over moderately low heat, whisking, until mixture registers 160°F. on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat and immediately add gelatin mixture, whisking until gelatin is completely dissolved.
Transfer filling to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring constantly, just until the consistency of raw egg white. Remove bowl from ice water.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream until it holds stiff peaks and whisk about one fourth into filling to lighten. Fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly and pour filling into crust. Chill pie until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24, covered with plastic wrap after 1 hour.
Top each serving with whipped cream and garnish with nuts.
One 9 inch pie.
So.... pheew.. these past 2 weeks have been so busy, but now finally a bit of a break in the storm. Last Saturday I played my third concert of the week with the Scarborough Philharmonic. It was a nice but heavy program. We performed the Grieg Piano Concerto and Sibelius's 5th Symphony. It went well, and was tons of fun.Mom and Tante Lies couldn't come as they went with Melinda to Kitchener and St. Jacobs Farmers Market for the day.
Sunday I relaxed a bit, went over to mom's, and got Mom and Tante Lies to help me stuff Amici Envelopes of Subcriptions tickets; that was also a deadline that was hanging over my head. Monday Night Tante Lies unfortunatlly flew back to Amsterdam. We had a great time with her here, and my mom is waiting for her next visit. So today back to the grind of the office, cleaning up lots of lose ends and bits of Administration that was backlogged. Now fully up to date, faxes gone, emails replied, I now sit in my practise chair and start working on my next concert next week. I have to play once again with the Oshawa Symphony, Glasinov's Violin concerto and Rachmaninov's Second Symphony.....
I guess this is my life now, I don't mind.. I like it.. a fine balance of Admin during the day, and lots of horn and symphonic work at night !
Roy Thompson Hall, home of the Toronto Symphony( I have always refered to it as Toronto's Upside down Pineapple cake )
Wow... what a blast we had last night. The 2nd night performance of Mahler’s 1st Symphony. Mom, Lies and Ineke were in the hall in the first balcony thoroughly enjoying them selves ! Proud as can be watching their Daughter, Neice and Sister Performing with the Toronto Symphony.
I don’t think I have ever played under such a combination of stressful circumstances. Not only did I get the call at the last minute to come and play, therefore getting virtually no time to study my part, but only 2 rehearsals, then last night it was announced that the performance was going to be broadcasted live through CBC radio, across the hole country of Canada ! what is that? a possible 23 million people can potentially listen to my every note, not to mention also live on the Web as well on the CBC site , then on top of the ROMBUS media is filming a documentary about the Toronto Symphony, and on stage last night 4 camera men, perched on little boxes in-between all the musicians, and yuup, one planted right in front of me. So as I’m playing I am not only trying to block out all the radio, not enough rehearsal stuff, but block out a giant camera that in basically filming my every move from 1 foot away !
Pheew… ! but I did it.. ! did a great job… no bloopers.. not a one… it was fantastic… so I can proudly say.. I can play , and play extremely well under ANY kind of pressure or stressful circumstances… I was quite proud of my self…
Mahler did have a big hand in my success… the music is just so extremely beautiful, and moving… I was so focused on the music, and so focused on how beautifully some of the players of the TSO were playing there solo parts… well it just made my task that much easier !
well at 9:45 this morning I was called by David Kent the General personal manager of the Toronto Symphony if I could come and play this morning.. rehearsal starting at 10:00am... and would you please play Mahler 1st symphony with us...
AAAHHH... YAAAA........ DUH !!!!
of course... I'll be there as fast as I can...
so any way to make a long story short... for those of you interested.. come out and hear the Toronto Symphony perform Mahler 1st symphony this Wednesday and Thursday night, ( sept . 29, 30th )
You can't miss me on stage.. I'm the one with the big giant smile on her face !
I just love this town !
ps.. if you can't come.. it will be broadcasted LIVE on CBC radio 2 thursday night as well...
BUSY , BUSY BUSY ! It started with this morning when I went to pick up Lies from mom's place, and then we went the local park; actually it’s a botanical garden. The weather was perfect once again… its amazing that indeed Lies will not experience one single rainy, cloudy day as she is here. Every day sunny and between 20 and 25 degrees, perfect ! any way we went to the gardens. After that I took her down to the St. Lawrence Market. This is a big indoor market that is very busy on Saturday s and lots of fun. We needed to buy the ingredients for that evening dinner at Ineke. So I dropped of Milo at Ineke’s and picked up Nicholas, and off to shopping we went. We bought fresh Corn, 40 dollars worth of Spare Ribs, some new potatoes and then we were set. After dropping the groceries at Ineke, off in the car we went again, this time with Caroline, to the Beaches. I drove to the Queen street East area, parked the car, and went for a nice walk along the board walk. We had something to drink, played with Milo in the water, and then back to Ineke’s… pheew… ya .. lots on our plate… and its not over yet. So rushing back to Ineke’s because Lies and I have to start the Ribs. We needed to make a marinade for the Ribs, a special reciepe from Melinda.. and that took a while, then we had to boil and then back in the over for an hour and half. I in the mean time also had to prepare the potatoes, that were also in aluminium foil and layed with onion and fresh farm bacon. Then the other guest arrived, Dutch artist Eliane Duvkot and her husband and 2 kids , as the reason we were having this party , was for Nicholas, as it was his 15 birthday !
Boy a house full ! but we all fit, we sat outside, had a wonderful time, plenty of food, thank god, I was afraid, having to feed 13 people. For dessert we had Daniel et Daniel cake, and finally Nicholas was aloud to open his presents in the candle light. He got a new portable CD player to listen and play along with on his new set of Drums. ( that he got from me , rented plus lessons)
Lies at my place in Amsterdam Noord, June 2001 for mom's 75th Birthday party
I'm sorry to report... its again a beautiful sunny day outside !!
I really don't know why more tourists don't take advantage of traveling to Toronto in September, its always nice weather and there is so much to do, plus the flights are half the price !
Yesterday, Mom and Lies went to City Hall to see the kick off party of Toronto Arts Week
Sunday is a large Book Market" Word on the Street"at Queens park, kind of like the"UitMarkt" in Amsterdam, Lies is looking forward to that, being the book worm that she is...
Tomorrow I see Lies again at Ineke's as we are having a big Birthday party for Nicholas, he is turning 15.( also the same day as Oma Bouma ) I have a big surprize for him.. I will take some more pictures, and of course with him playing his new.......... ????
I have to call Melinda and ask her about her amazing BBQ Rib recipe to serve up at tomrrows party....
Now back to work... lots of deadlines hanging over my head.... argh ! ;-0
Lies and Mom infront of my apartment building, notice Milo in between mom's legs !
Yesterday, Wednesday, Lies came over to my place for a lovely dinner. I wanted to really impress her and mom that I could indeed cook; and that I did not only know how to order in take out !
The menu was as follows: oven baked stuffed Chicken breast with French Goat Cheese, and pine nuts , baby carrots, Penne and fresh Sour dough bagette. For dessert fresh Raseberries with Rasberry Sorbet gelato. All accompined by a nice Canadian Red Wine.
Of course it was a great success. Lies and mom also enjoyed sitting out on the balcony and taking in the spectacular view of Downtown Toronto from up on the 16th floor, and seeing a sea of twinkeling city lights.
After dinner, of course at least 2 hours of ' na tafelen' I just love it when these two sisters get going with all there old stories about when they grew up, all the stories about ' pa ', opa Bouma, and the stores about the background of the paintings of his that I have up around my apartment.
At around 10pm Mom went back on her own to her house in her scooter( 2 blocks north of my place ) and I took Lies in the car for a City late night tour, showing her all the hot spots of Toronto Night life. ( the outside temp. at 10pm was a whopping 26 degrees ! )
All in all is was a really nice evening.... Today As I write... Lies in on a Double Decker bus Tour, seeing the sights and sounds of Toronto.
Last night I went to airport to pick up my favorite Aunt arriving in from Amsterdam. Tante Lies ! She has'nt seen her sister, my mom in over 3 years, and hasn't been back in Toronto for 16 years. Of course seeing your extended family once again reminds me how important it is to stay in touch and also how lucky we all that we have such a large family and more importantly a LOVING family !
Although unfortunatly alot of them have died over the last 20 years. In the picture above, 4 of our loved ones have died. But happily all the kids are all grown up and are all in there teens.
Remember to tell your loved one, your daughter, your neice your partner every day that you love them, it will really make you feel good !
WOW great weather today, sunny summer is still here ... Tonight I will go down to beach with Milo and Lies !
Wow... last Saturday I had simply a wonderful time playing with the Oshawa Symphony. http://www.odso.ca/
We performed a fabulous program of: Strauss's - Also Zarathustra, Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe and Carmen's Flute Fantasy, by Bizet, with the Principal 1st Flutist from the Munich Philharmonic.
I had a simply great time playing the Strauss, this is REALLY what I am meant to do ! Play 1st horn in a symphony orchestra.. and all the time! I really love playing large challenging works. I love playing solos, I love the music, I just love to be on the stage and in the spot light, and feel the audience listening and enjoying every phrase I play to them.
I wish I could do this all the time !
Oh well it’s a great start… and who knows… as a good friend and mentor said to me when I arrived back in Toronto, “ Wendy it takes 5 years to re-establish your self here, what comes around goes around, good horn players will always be found and get to work ! “
I have had a great week so far ! playing with Scarborough and Oshawa Sym has been a blast ! so much great music to perform. I am so glad I'm a horn player, its just so wonderful to perform great works of music, and enjoy it at the same time. I had to say that, because this is still my great love.. I love to be creative, and I just love being a creative artist in Canada.
many frustrations with others that live here.. like there simple english, old fashion way of thinking here. They are so afraid of change here... I had a meeting today with a good friend and fabulous Dutch Artist Eliane Duvekot ( http://www.duvekot.ca ) at my office. We were talking about the architecture , or lack of it in Toronto. I had mentioned how Toronto lacked in new exciting bold and or different building design. Its all brown or black or glass, boring square buildings ! The new addition to the Ontario College of Art is the only great thing that has been added to Toronto " skyline" for a while.
Ontario College of Art
Of course the CN Tower, New City Hall and the Sky Dome have now become the images of Toronto, but more is needed like this new OCA building. Two new additions are being built at the ROM and the Ontario Art Gallery, and hopefully, Torontoians will see how exciting change is !!!
To open your heart and mind to change is good for you, and makes you feel alive and keeps you young !
Picture - Me standing inside the clock tower of the Royal Palace over looking the center of Amsterdam for the last time!
Wow time flies !... its been 3 years today, since I have moved back to Toronto from Amsterdam. It really seems as though I have been here longer though. Strange! So much has happen in these 3 years, and I would think its time to look back and see what I have accomplished so far.
Well, after 3 years I have certainly established myself as a good horn player, and finally now am getting some great gigs. This year alone I have a great line up of really difficult works that I need to perform with various orchestras on first horn.
My 2 day jobs are going well, although working as a administrator in the arts sector is always dicey and one never knows when the house of cards all tumble down.
My family, my Dad unfortunately died, so did my Uncle. Also my 40-year-old cousin in Holland died of Brain Tumor. Boy that’s a lot of losses! And just recently my best longest and oldest girlfriend, she was only 46, a wonderful person, and musician.
But… on the other hand my mom underwent open heart surgery and is now doing great, my brother in law ripped his heal muscle, and had to hop around for 6 months in a cast, but is doing great with his newly open private home renovations business. My own health, has not gotten better in the last 3 years, sort of let myself go, but with the recent diagnosis, the motivation has kicked in, and my life style change is still in action, and now I am 10 kilos lighter…
The rest of the family doing well, the kids all getting bigger and older, when I arrived in Toronto I was surrounded in 5 pre teens, now all full fledged teenagers…all thinking they have all the solutions to all the worlds problems.
Was I right to move back ??
Too much has happened and changed in Holland, the most importantly the currency change from the Guilder to the Euro, and because of this change I have heard nothing else but complaints from all my old friends and family in Holland that it has become so expensive and is very hard to make ends meet !
Not only am I glad I came back because of economic reasons, but because I missed my family, got to spend 3 years at least with my dad before he passed, and I have been here to take care of my ageing and more frail mother.
I am CANADIAN ! and always have been ! and I love being back in my own culture, speaking my own language again. I hated speaking Dutch ! and really didn’t fully understand their culture and ways !
Today I decided to go swimming ! I haven't gone for so long, at least a year, and it was so HOT. So off we went, Caroline, Ineke, Nicholas and my self, to the big olympic pool at the beaches. AH... it was so wonderfull to be weightless once again. I swam 14 laps, 700 metres in total length. I felt great.. we'll do it again tomorrow, for sure. Poor Milo has been alone almost all day... well, it's raining now any way, so time to sit down and have a nice dinner together.
If I go swimming every day, will my skin dry up and fall off?
Today it is exactly 50 years ago that my Mom, Dad and my older sister Ineke, had emigrated from Holland to Toronto.
Wow... time flies!
Sadly only my Mom can celebrate as my Dad passed away last February.
It’s really neat to think what Toronto might have looked like 50 years ago.
I remember my mom saying her first impression of Toronto was not the greatest, as she thought it looked very ugly with all the telephone poles lining all the streets, it looked cluttered and not pleasing to the eye.
I’m going over tonight to see Mom and bring her a celebratory meal to mark this special day !
So today I recieved information about my health ! And I do indeed need to change my life style and quick.
I guess this is one way, spend 20 minutes or so , at the end of the evening writing, instead of sitting on the couch, wanting to munch on something while watching TV. Its really that part of the day, the late evening that is the killer for me. Late night snacking with TV. And now espeically with all this late night Olympic news. That is so hypocritical too ! watching all these lean fast human bodies racing through lengths of a pool in no time, as I once again hork down another bag of popcorn, or chips ! why?
Is is comforting ? is it a drug, or is it lonleyness ?
Wendy has suffered from morbid Obesity all of her life. This blog contains stories from the past and present. How her weight has affected her life. With daily updates and inserts, this all attributes to her recent decision (January 1, 2008) to begin her massive weight loss project. Her goal is to lose 200 pounds by her 50th birthday, being July 23, 2009. On July 1st Wendy reached a goal of weighing 250 pounds, but there after she unfortunately went off the diet. On Jan 1, 2011 Wendy started her weight-loss journey once again. An accomplished classical horn player, Wendy has performed with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony , the Niagara Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has performed with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, Amici Chamber Ensemble and Network Winds. Wendy is also Executive Director of the Community Folk Arts Council of Toronto.