As an ode to the upcoming Family Day long weekend, I thought it would be nice to send out a special thanks to all the dedicated parents out there who invest countless amounts of time with their kids for, well, pretty much everything.
Being a musician, music teacher, and now a parent myself, inspiration and dedication go a long way but when you’re still a kid, mom and dad play an integral role when it comes to staying motivated. Even though we’ve all been there, practicing music hasn’t always been at the top of the fun list. It paid off of course.
Musical memories and where our interests first began are always nice to reminisce and look back on. Whether it was the first time you went to a classical concert with your family, or saw someone play an instrument you’ve never heard before, these moments paved the way for many who now have a vast musical career.
On February 20th, the talented musicians from Pocket Concerts will be presenting an extra special concert catered to the next generation of music enthusiasts. Families with little ones and older are warmly invited to experience a Family Day filled performance (and conveniently in the early afternoon just in case a nap time needs to follow after an exciting musical experience).
We chat with PC’s Artistic Directors Rory McLeod and Emily Rho about some of their cherished memories.
MC: Can you share a musical pass-time when you were younger?
RML: My mom is a cellist, so the house was always full of music when I was a kid. I remember waking up to the sound of her teaching on Saturday mornings throughout my childhood, but what really stands out is the memory of listening to LPs (yes, I am old enough for that) in our living room. When we were really young (probably 2 and 4 years old), my brother Alex (also a violist) and I used to listen to Swan Lake, dress up in tights, and dance around the living room pretending to be princes.
My first memory of attending a concert is from when I was about 8 years old. My grandma gave me and my mom a pair of tickets to a concert in Roy Thompson Hall. I’m guessing it must have bee the TSO, and there was a female soloist. I have no memory of what piece she played, but I remember that she was wearing a green dress with puffy sleeves, and I was impressed that she could memorize such a long “song.”
ER: When I was about ten, my mom took me to an orchestra concert. It was my first time hearing Beethoven Symphony No. 5, and Zubin Mehta was conducting. The performance made such an impression on me that I developed an intense crush (for a ten year old) on Maestro Mehta, which led me to a quest to find all the recordings by him. This ‘obsession’ was not easy, not having grown up with the Internet, iTunes, smart phones, etc., but possible more satisfying because that.
MC: When did you realize that you wanted to learn your instrument of
and venture into the performance realm during your musical
RML: I started on the violin when I was five, and I don’t remember making that decision. My brother Alex played, so I probably wanted to emulate him. I chose the viola much later in life, once again following in Alex’s footsteps. He picked up the viola when he was 12, but it took me much longer.
When I was 19 and living in Montreal, doing a B.A. in English Literature, my violin teacher left town for the summer. I had more time on my hands than usual and wanted to take some lessons, and I happened to be working at Wilder and Davis (a violin shop), so I borrowed a viola from them, contacted Jean MacRae, and started taking some viola lessons. I started playing a lot of chamber music on viola (the best way to learn the instrument), and played both instruments for a while.
Then my violin was stolen. It was tragic at the time, but eventually the insurance money came through, and I had to decide whether to buy another violin, or take the leap and buy a viola. I discovered that I preferred the sound of every viola I tried over every violin, and decided it was a sign. Over the course of the following year, I decided I wanted to make a go at becoming a professional musician, with the viola as my instrument.
ER: I didn’t really choose the piano. We had my mom’s piano at home, so it was one of the toys from the beginning. I started lessons when I was about three, and I can’t quite say that I’m one of those people who made the decision to pursue music deliberately. Things just went from one thing to another, and I ended up playing the piano for a living! Having said that, I do distinctly remember the fun and thrill of performing from a young age, and I’ve always craved the opportunities to be on stage and share.
Click here to purchase your tickets (children and youth under 19 are free)