Edward Willett

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The end of an era: my science column leaves the newspaper

Roughly two decades of writing a science column that appeared in print in Regina came to an end today when I received a letter from the Regina LeaderPost that said:It is with regret that I inform you today that effective March 11, 2009, we will no longer be in a position to publish your Science column.Because of new financial and space restrictions imposed by our parent company, Canwest Publishing, we have been forced to readjust our freelance copy for the daily Leader-Post. Unfortunately, your column is one of the items our editor-in-chief has chosen to give up.I first began writing the column late in 1990, I believe, when I ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 19:25, March 3rd, 2009 under Science Columns |

My preview of the touring production of Annie…

...is in today's Regina LeaderPost. The story begins:Until late last year, Madison Kerth was just another fifth-grader at Tchefuncte Middle School in Mandeville, La., just north of New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain.But, about the time she turned 11 last October, she left her school to begin living what she describes as "a dream come true" -- performing in a touring production of the hit musical Annie.

Posted by Edward Willett at 11:08, February 26th, 2009 under Blog |

My review of "Opera for Skeptics"…

..., the Regina Symphony Orchestra's concert on Saturday night, is online at the LeaderPost. It begins:If the Regina Symphony Orchestra's "Opera for Skeptics" Valentine's Day concert was intended to convince people to fall in love with the art form, it probably failed, since very little actual opera was presented.After all, there were no sets, no scenes, and no costumes -- aside from an aluminum-foil horned helmet that adorned maestro Victor Sawa's podium all evening.However, if the goal was the more modest one of illustrating how much wonderful music opera has to offer, the concert succeeded admirably.And thanks to the often-comic introductions by Sawa and guest baritone ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:41, February 17th, 2009 under Blog |

My preview of the Regina Symphony’s "Opera for Skeptics" concert…

...is now online at the LeaderPost.  It begins:The word "opera" frightens some people, conjuring up images of giant women in breastplates and horned helmets screeching at the top of their lungs.Saturday at 8 p.m., the Regina Symphony Orchestra hopes to change that perception with its next Mosaic Masterworks Concert, Opera for Skeptics -- and they've recruited a lot of help to do it.As the RSO's press release says, there won't be any long over-dramatic scenes, but there will be "Big Tunes, a Big Chorus ... a Big Orchestra ... and a Big Talent." Big tunes are a given: it's opera. The orchestra is big because the RSO will be joined by ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:49, February 12th, 2009 under Blog |

My preview of the New Music in New Spaces concert…

..., coming up Sunday afternoon at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, is in today's LeaderPost. An excerpt:Sunday's concert will feature (Jeremy) Buzash and Eduard Minevich on violin; Jonathan Ward on viola; Amelia Borton on cello; Pauline Minevich on clarinet; Cecile Denis on harp and David McIntyre on piano. Titled "A Sound Vision," the concert will premiere five new works."Transplants" is a new electroacoustic work by Elizabeth Raum, for soundscape, video projections and solo clarinet. It's described as "a reflection on the immigrant experience, interpreted through analogies with transplanting flowers."The second piece, a new work by Jason Cullimore, also features projections, which is particularly appropriate since on Feb. 14 the MacKenzie will ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:04, February 5th, 2009 under Blog |

My review of the Regina Symphony Orchestra concert with Trio Frontenac…

...is online this morning at the LeaderPost. Here's how it begins:Crisp execution, snappy passing, solid teamwork and an exciting finish -- the Regina Symphony Orchestra's Mosaic Masterworks concert Saturday night had it all.Sorry, what did you think I was talking about?Blame Maestro Victor Sawa for the football metaphor: he referenced the Super Bowl in his introductory remarks (he was cheering for Arizona, by the way). Fortunately, it fits.Quarterbacks can only dream of play execution as crisp as that of Trio Frontenac, comprising Darren Lowe on violin, his wife Suzanne Beaubien on piano, and Blair Lofgren on cello.The Quebec City trio with deep Regina roots (both Lowe and Lofgren hail ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:48, February 2nd, 2009 under Blog |

My preview of Trio Frontenac is online

My preview of this Saturday's concert of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, featuring Trio Frontenac, is in today's LeaderPost.It begins:Trio Frontenac, featured in Saturday's Regina Symphony Orchestra Mosaic Masterworks concert at the Conexus Arts Centre, may be based in Quebec City, but it's definitely got Regina roots.To begin with, violinist Darren Lowe and cellist Blair Lofgren, now concertmaster and principal cello of the Orchestre symphonique de Quebec, respectively, are former members of the RSO (Lowe was RSO concertmaster during 1975-1976, while Lofgren played with the RSO during the 1990s.)And the third member of the trio, Lowe's wife, pianist Suzanne Beaubien, has been a guest performer with the RSO and other local musical ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:34, January 29th, 2009 under Blog |

My review of the True Jive Pluckers…

...is in today's LeaderPost. It begins:In the dictionary, "eclectic" has two definitions: "Selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles," and "composed of elements drawn from various sources."They could have added a third: "the music of the True Jive Pluckers."Ranging from jazz to blues to Klezmer to classical, violinist Eduard Minevich, bassist Stephen McLellan and guitarist Jack Semple displayed amazing versatility and virtuosity in their Saturday night concert with the Regina Symphony Orchestra as part of the Shumiatcher Pops series.And it ends:With the launch of TJP's first CD, We Are Here (selling like hotcakes in the lobby), and its plans to play with the Edmonton and Hamilton ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:20, January 19th, 2009 under Blog |

A True Jive Pluckers preview

My preview of the Regina Symphony Orchestra's upcoming Pops concert with the True Jive Pluckers is in today's LeaderPost. An excerpt:Everything the True Jive Pluckers play is based on swing music of the late 1930s -- but everything they play isn't 1930s swing music. For the Regina Symphony Orchestra pops concert Saturday, violinist Eduard Minevich, guitarist Jack Semple and bassist Stephen McLellan will be offering an eclectic collection of jazz, classical, gypsy, Klezmer and blues. "There really isn't anything that we miss," says McLellan.The eclecticism rises naturally from the three players' very different backgrounds. Minevich and McLellan are both classically trained, but Minevich loves jazz, gypsy, Klezmer and tango, and McLellan started ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:23, January 15th, 2009 under Blog |

I preview The Stampeders…

Classic Canadian rock band The Stampeders ("Sweet City Woman") plays Casino Regina on Saturday: my preview is in today's LeaderPost.Here's an excerpt:Remember Art Linklater's Kids Say the Darndest Things? Members of the veteran Canadian band The Stampeders, which plays Casino Regina on Saturday night, have heard a few doozies of their own from the younger members of their audience."You were louder than the Tragically Hip" was one, but the weirdest was: "We thought it would be great to see you before you die.""It's great what they say," guitarist Rich Dodson says, and that's a good attitude for him to have, because The Stampeders wouldn't still be playing together after almost ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:37, January 2nd, 2009 under Blog |