Guy Few performance trumpeted in Barrie
Guy Few performed Saturday evening at Hi-Way Pentecostal Church. SUBMITTED
A memorable concert to celebrate the Christmas season took place on Saturday evening at a packed Hi-Way Pentecostal Church.
It featured the spell-binding voice of soprano Leslie Fagan, the smooth tones of trumpeter (and pianist) Guy Few and the skillful abilities of pianist Stephanie Mara. Together, they are billed as Project Aria.
The theme of the concert was to emulate the intimate atmosphere of a party at home, with the warm company of friends and family, sitting around the fire telling stories and singing songs while enjoying the scents of baking and the fresh outdoors.
Items on the program ranged from arrangements of Bach cantatas, through traditional hymns to popular songs that are so familiar to us. Interspersed were readings from A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
It was evident how much these narrations were appreciated from quiet chuckling from the audience.
From the very first dulcet tones of Guy Few's trumpet in the opening number, one felt pulled into a congenial, intimate mood, and the beauty of his sound emphasized the exquisite writing of Bach in an arrangement of the cantata Jauchzet Gott. Later, he also reminded us of his virtuosic flair with a performance of Leroy Anderson's Bugler's Holiday. Those were not the only arrows in his quivver, however, as he also took turns at the keyboard in 4-hands arrangements together with Stephanie Mara.
Leslie Fagan's glowing soprano voice was a highlight of the concert. Whether admiring her
superb artistry during solo numbers or when singing along with her and the rest of the audience during traditional carols, one sensed that this was a rare experience. Her rich, controlled sound enveloped the listener and instilled a sense of wonder at her musicianship and craftsmanship.
The widely eclectic nature of the program was illustrated by the inclusion not only of composers Bach and Handel, but
Percy Grainger, John Rutter, Mel Torme, Irving Berlin and surprisingly cheerful modernised versions of traditional carols. One striking moment was an interpretation titled "Snow" based on the Huron and Breton influenced carol by Father Jean Brebeuf. Stephanie Mara and Guy Few chanted an unaccompanied, sotto voce, repeated phrase announcing Christ's birth while Leslie Fagan sang softly, mesmerizingly the words of the Huron Carol.
The evening sped by, and after hearing the quietly beautiful O Holy Night and the triumphant O Come All Ye Faithful, it was over.
The three performers received both a warm ovation and bouquets of flowers. They returned to the stage to present an encore of a quietly tasteful arrangement of In The Bleak Mid-Winter, a perfect way to send the audience home feeling comfortable and satisfied.