Saturday, October 23, 2004

Goodbye My Dear Friend, Anne

Anne Marie Monaco
1957 – 2004


Today, a day full of many tears !

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 !

Sunday, October 17, 2004

What a Romantic !

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"

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A new Pace maker !

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.

Mom your such a tropper !

Thursday, October 07, 2004

It's Pumpkin Time !

Melinda makes this pumpkin pie every fall.. it's to die for !


For 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

For filling
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

Accompaniment: whipped cream
Garnish: chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make Crust:
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.

Make filling:
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.
November 1995

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Life is a bit back to normal

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 !

Friday, October 01, 2004

Roy Thompson Hall got a blast of Brass !

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 !

Thanks Mahler !