The Mississauga Festival Choir

I was recently asked to arrange some songs for the Mississauga Festival Choir's Christmas concert. Their guest artists are The Barra MacNeils and the choir is to sing some songs with the band, and my job is to write the choir parts.

It's looking to be a pretty fun concert! The choir gets better every year and the Barra MacNeils are a rousing east coast band. You can find more info and tickets here.

Marla

Sewing Class

I haven't been working on some of my other creative projects for awhile because I've been pouring my creative energy into my Sewing Basics class at the Sewing Junction.

Here are our three projects! The first was an infinity scarf, which I made out of a shimmery silver fabric. For the second project we made cloth napkins with mitred corners. And the last was a toiletry bag made of canvas with an exposed zipper. I'm very proud of all of them!

I would highly recommend the Sewing Junction if you're at all interested in sewing! They have a wide variety of classes - basic learn-to-sew classes, learning to do alterations, more advanced class, workshops for specific projects. And Clara is a fantastic and patient teacher. Get sewing! :)

Marla

Reunion of Giants

Over the last couple of weeks at work we've been working on a documentary called Reunion of Giants. It tells the story of the last two airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers, one Canadian and one British, reuniting and flying together. 

The film will be playing in select Cineplex theatres and will be available at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, which is where the Canadian Lancaster lives. 

It was a fun change of pace from our usual TV shows! Check out the the trailer:

Enjoy!

Marla

New photoshoot!

For the first time in years, I have new modelling photos to share!

A few weeks ago I did a photoshoot with Scott Murdoch of Five by Five Photography, and he sent me the pictures the other day. I'm thrilled with them! I've uploaded a few to my Modelling page, but I'll post some of my favourites here.

My dear friend Elana Steingart was gracious enough to do my makeup for the shoot, and she did a fantastic job.

Hope you enjoy!

Marla



Workflow

All summer I've been working hard on The Amazing Race Canada, which is very rewarding but takes a lot of time. We've also been working on Custom Built and shortly we'll be starting a new show called Sugar Showdown. But we'll be done Race by mid-month, and while it's always fun to work on I can't say won't be happy to have some more spare time!

It's also really cool to work on something and watch the public react to it. On Wednesday nights, Twitter is buzzing with activity about the latest episode of Race, and it's a good feeling knowing that I helped to contribute to that.

Since I've been so busy with work I haven't had much time to work on anything new, but here are a few pictures that I took recently that I like.

Cheers!

Marla


Amadeus Compositions

I used to sing with the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, a large choir conducted by Lydia Adams. Every year they hold their Seasonal Song-Writing Competition in which composers are invited to submit newly-composed Christmas works; the competition is aimed towards youth but every other year adults are invited to participate. 

I entered the competition twice, in 2009 and 2011, the first year writing a piece called Sweet Flowerets of the Martyr Band based on a poem by Aurelius Prudentius, and the second called This New Snow, with lyrics written by my good friend Hayley Preziosi. This New Snow won an Honourable Mention in the 2011 competition.

I know this isn't really the time of year for Christmas music, but I recently dug up recordings of both pieces so I thought I'd add them to my site. Neither were ever professionally recorded, but I'm glad to have at least these copies of them!

Hope you enjoy!

Marla

Projects on the go

Haven't posted in awhile - I've been incredibly busy with numerous different projects!

The main reason for being busy is that we're in the midst of  The Amazing Race Canada at work! The schedule sets a frantic pace but it's a very rewarding show to work on. It's fun to see the public response it gets when each episodes airs. That goes until mid-September, so it's going to be a busy summer!

I've had a few other projects on the go, as well. This past Saturday, I did a photoshoot with Scott Murdoch of Five by Five Photography, which means I'll have some new modelling photos to share sometime in the near future! I also recently finished a new arrangement for Countermeasure of Hawksley Workman's We Will Still Need a Song, which we'll be performing at the wedding of one of the group members next weekend. I've also been working on my solo singing and guitar playing for a few other little side things, as well! Whew.

Countermeasure has a new video out and I also managed to find a recording of an older composition of mine, so I'll be posting a bit more material in the next few days. Eventually I'd like to start writing posts in more of a blogging style rather than just updates on projects, too. But in the meantime, have a couple of photos that I've taken recently that I like!

Marla

 

Dancing

Here's the last of the songs that I took upon myself to (re)record in the last month or so. It's called Dancing, and I originally wrote it in 2012. I had a version up on Youtube, but it was just me playing and singing into a camera so the balance was off and the vocals hard to hear. This should be better. :)

Enjoy!

Marla

There Will Come Soft Rains

Back in university, probably around 2007, I wrote an art song with the text of Sara Teasdale's poem There Will Come Soft Rains for a student composer's concert. Due to various complications it never ended up being performed.

Flash forward to this year, when my dear friend Katy Harmer performed it in a recital. It was up in Yellowknife so I was unable to catch it, but she sent along this recording - so I finally have a copy of the piece, eight years later! Thanks, Katy!

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone
.

Marla

London Bells

At our concert on May 16th, Countermeasure brought in some videographers to record our performance for the purpose of getting some good-quality promotional video material. Well, the first song is up! This is London Bells, and it's probably one of my favourite songs that we sing. I'm really happy with the video. :)

I hope you like it as much as I do. :)

Marla

Ride for Heart

This is unrelated to creative projects, but I think I'd like to use this space for public updates about my life in general - those just usually happen to be related to creative projects. :)

On Sunday (May 31) I'm riding in Ride for Heart, which is a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. They close off the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway to cars and let cyclists ride along it, which is great fun. I'm doing the 50km distance.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a charity close to my heart, so I'd appreciate it if you'd consider donating to my ride. You can find my fundraising page here.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated! :)

Marla

Upcoming Shows

Perhaps I'm a little belated in posting this, but better late than never, right?

Countermeasure has a handful of shows coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Tonight (May 16) is a big one: we've rented Glenn Gould Studio so that we can film some promo material. The more people the better, so tickets are an extra low $10! It's rare that we do a full-length show for so cheap, so it's a great opportunity to check us out. More info here.

At the end of the month is Sing! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, and we're involved in a number of events for that:

  • May 23: an appearance on CP24 Breakfast to promote the festival, between 9-10am.
  • May 27: performing with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale in "And Still We Sing" - a tribute to Billy Strayhorn, at Koerner Hall. More info here.
  • May 28: "O Canada: Our Nation's Greatest Hits" at Glenn Gould Studio. More info here.
  • May 30: Short performance on the Distillery Stage at 1:50pm - FREE!
  • May 30: "Come Together: Beatles tribute", at Tapestry Opera at 4pm. More info here.

I'll come back to this post and add more information about those concerts as I get it. But in the meantime, I have to go prepare for tonight's big show!

Marla

 

New Piano Solo!

Back in the fall, I wrote a piece called Subtlety Is Not Your Specialty, for Soup Can Theatre's production of Circle Jerk. The line was given to me as inspiration, so I wrote a lovely piece for piano, flute and cello - and then the clarinet comes in an stomps all over it.

I was kind of sad that the piece ends up ruined by the clarinet, so I adapted it for piano solo, in which the original pleasant piece doesn't get interrupted - and decided to just name it Subtlety, since the spirit of the original title was no longer there.

It was an interesting experience, trying to condense a piece for four instruments into a solo. I find a lot of my piano writing tends to be simple, because I write what I can play immediately while sitting in front of the piano. This was different - since I was trying to conserve as many of the original instrumental lines as possible, it ended up being much more difficult than the piano music I usually write. A fair bit of practice went into being able to play it properly!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

Marla

New Music Imminent

I've lately been inspired to record more of my music. I have some songs that I have low-quality recordings of on Youtube which I'd like to improve upon, and I have some newer ones that I haven't gotten around to posting ANY version of yet.

I spent my day recording takes for Subtlety, the piano solo that's adapted from my chamber music piece Subtlety is Not Your Specialty, written for Soup Can Theatre's production of Circle Jerk, in fall 2014.

I also spent some time mathing out tempo maps for Dancing, the first pop song I ever wrote, and The Longest Night, my most recent song which has a bit of musical theatre feel. Due to limited recording facilities at home I'll have to wait until I get to work to make more progress on them (and on editing Subtlety) but hopefully I'll be able to post all three of them in the next few weeks. :)

This website has been good for my productivity!

Marla

Art Song Premiere

A good friend of mine, Katy Harmer, will be premiering a piece of mine tonight at the Yellowknife Music Festival! It's very exciting for me - the piece was one I originally wrote in university for a specific purpose but due to various circumstances it was never performed. It's called There Will Come Soft Rains, the text from a poem by Sara Teasdale.

Katy will also be performing it at her recital in June, so perhaps I will be able to post a recording of it in the compositions section of my site in the near future. 

Exciting to tie up loose ends!

Marla