Friday, March 8, 2013

We're So Lucky!

I'm passionate about music and I'm passionate about children, so when the two combine it is like a little slice of Heaven for me.

On Monday, February 25, I had the privilege of attending one of the first performances of a brand new musical work composed by Ben Bolt-Martin, a Stratford composer and cellist with the Festival orchestra, as the students at Romeo Public School were entertained by members of the Factory Arts Ensemble.

LUCKY!  is a delightful musical tale about a young girl and her dog who somehow enter the magical world of Melodia, complete with an evil queen played with finesse by actor and singer Glynis Ranney. In Melodia every movement is portrayed by music. 
          photo credit  Irene Miller   

Four instrumental artists are featured at some point during the play, introducing the children within the context of the story to the intricate
qualities of that instrument. 

Andrew Chung, a well-known violinist who grew up here in Stratford and is the Artistic Director and visionary behind the formation of INNERchamber, doffed his usual concert garb to take on the role of a talking tree! 
   photo credit Irene Miller

Throughout the performance, puppets added  movement and visual appeal to enhance the solo work. A monarch butterfly fluttered with exquisite movement,  occasionally landing on flautist Ian Harper's head, and enthralled the children by soaring over their heads.

Puppet frogs chased flies as cellist,
George Meanwell, added the occasional
“gribbit!” to his number.
    photo credit Irene Miller

                                        photo credit Irene Miller
Lobsters danced the tango to the musical acrobatics of the snorkel-costumed percussionist, Graham Hargrove, who used his large flippers to add to the rhythm of the Bones.

The work of puppeteer, Kristi Friday, was quite exceptional. Although she was clearly visible, she seemed to disappear as the puppets took on a life of their own.
           photo credit Irene Miller

Ralph the dog displayed an expansive character as Lucky's frolicking,  face-licking playmate.          photo credit Irene Miller               
Lucky was played with a vibrant energy by 16 year old Leah Edmonds from the Kitchener-Waterloo area, a delightful young actress who already has several theatre productions under her belt.

What an experience for the students at Romeo School to see professional musicians having so much fun as they displayed their craft. The script allowed the children to identify with this girl, who had experienced some tough breaks in life and became a bit of a misfit until she got her beloved dog, Ralphie, her best friend “who loved her no matter what!” When the Queen captures him and turns him into a statue, the scene is set for an adventure as the instruments join forces with Lucky to try and bring him back to life.

In the process, the audience discovers the intrinsic power of music to connect us all. As the script says, “Music is more powerful when you make it together.” To be really potent though, it has to contain a part of yourself. “We all have magic inside of us if we can find a piece of ourselves to share.”

I loved the show so much, I went to see it again when it was performed for the public on the first Sunday in March. The Factory 163 theatre was packed! A carpet right in front of the stage enabled all the children who wanted to sit there to have a great view. Toddlers wandering about with their soothers just added to the family feel of the event.

At the end of both shows, Bolt-Martin opened it up to see if any of the children had questions. I was impressed with the insightful questions from the students at Romeo School and can only echo the observation of little Brody from Grade 1 who exclaimed, “That was awesome!” At the Factory performance the children were more eager to dance than talk, so the crew played their Pirate Jig, and everyone joined in the fun.
                                                                                         photo credit Irene Miller
Kudos to the Ontario Arts Council and the Perth Huron Foundation for Education for catching the vision and helping to fund this production. They along with many individuals and businesses from around the city, helped to make this experience available for children (and fun-loving adults) in our area. If you feel that the work of INNERchamber fits into your vision of a culturally rich community, please consider supporting this group financially.
Ticket sales only cover a portion of their cost. All donors receive charitable receipts. Their next concert From Storm to Shadow will be on April 7 featuring string quartets by Haydn and Brahms. 
More information is available at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Helen! The performers certainly had a great time putting this on to the schools and to the public. Bravo to Ben Bolt-Martin for creating such a special performance. Andrew Chung