You can always expect dancing excitement and beautiful costumes when the South End schools take to the stage. 
(Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

You can always expect dancing excitement and beautiful costumes when the South End schools take to the stage. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

LEXI BAINAS COLUMN: Who’d turn down a chance to perform in Duncan? It was a mystery

Cowichan Symphony Society’s Ted Rhodes shares a fun story about the Royal Wedding

I’ve had some delicious gossip come my way this week.

About the Royal wedding, too.

Ted Rhodes, super tenor and symphony society stalwart just had to pass this along.

“Cowichan Symphony Society’s concert last Saturday night was attended by a full audience which, for five minutes, stood on its feet cheering and applauding the playing of the Victoria Baroque Orchestra and their invited British guest, trumpet virtuoso Simon Munday.

“Simon played in virtually every piece on the extensive and varied two hour program. Sometimes, he played contrapuntally versus the orchestras’ two versatile hunting horn players. The final item on the programme was a well-known excerpt from Handel’s famous Water Music, which, almost exactly 300 years ago to the day, was played for Britain’s Royalty from barges floating on the River Thames.”

That was appropriate, because it was Royal Wedding Day in the U.K.

But for Cowichan’s symphony crowd, there was a British mystery in all this, which Rhodes shared.

“Simon’s trumpet playing was absolutely magnificent, but there was yet a mystery about his actually being the soloist in Duncan on that night. That mystery only became resolved on the morning of the Cowichan Symphony concert.

“What was the mystery? It was that on all the subscribers tickets sold almost a year ago, the trumpeter’s name was not Simon Munday! Earlier in the year, and with absolutely no explanation, the then-hired trumpeter sent a message that he could not possibly play in the concert in Duncan. In his stead, a substitute, an equally brilliant trumpeter, Simon Munday, would come and play exactly the same planned program.”

But what was the mystery? you ask.

Rhodes and his wife Rae (ex-pat Brits) were among the millions dutifully watching the Great Wedding on TV at 4:30 Saturday morning.

“The commentator, in his usual quiet and reverent BBC manner, announced that Meghan the bride was just about to enter the church and walk down the aisle accompanied by a singing Welsh soprano, who was accompanied by Mr. David Blackadder on trumpet.

“Mystery solved! Our Duncan pre-prescribed trumpeter by the name of Blackadder, had been secretly summoned to play solo for the Royal wedding! It was plain to see that he was made an offer of a gig far away from Duncan which he simply couldn’t refuse — indeed he might have had his head chopped off if he had! After all, the wedding took place in the chapel where Henry VIII is lying in his eternal bed,” said Rhodes.

He couldn’t resist adding in a practical comment, too, and I think he deserves it for such a fun story.

“If this tells us anything, it is that after 62 years of classical music presentations, the Cowichan Symphony Society continues to invite some of the world’s greatest musicians to come play in our valley. Continuing this rich tradition, the next season, starting in September is already announced and is on sale at the Cowichan Theatre Box office. To subscribe or purchase single tickets, the box office can be reached at 250-748-7529.”

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We’ve been in the middle of musical season lately and now dance fans in the Valley are getting ready for the beginning of dance recital season.

South End studios are first off the mark this year, with Steps Ahead offering Performing @ Home XV on Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Brentwood College’s T. Gil Bunch Centre. Tickets are $18 apiece. Book online at theatre.brentwood.bc.ca

The second group that is also scheduled to strut their stuff this weekend is Barre None Dance Studio.

Their show, Just the Way You Are, also takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, May 25, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 26 but the venue is Shawnigan Lake School. Tickets are $15 each. Check at the door to see if any are left.

There are still plenty more dance studios whose students are burning the midnight oil getting those numbers ready for upcoming performances. Watch this space for more details.