Brenda Muller is a woman with a vision – and someone who turns her visions into realities. The upcoming Blue Bridge Festival, June 3-5, is her brainchild. She’s also the founder and artistic director of the Ardeleana Trio, a York Region music-scene gem for over 20 years. Brenda herself is a classically trained cellist, but her own songs and music, like the festival itself, draw on a whole slew of other influences.
Taking place this year in Georgina, Newmarket, and Unionville, the Blue Bridge Festival combines various genres of music – from classical to jazz to roots & folk and more — for example, the Toronto Chinese Orchestra — with poetry and children’s workshops, for an unusual creative mix. Many (or most) of the performers either live in, or hail from, York Region, so this festival really is a celebration of where we live.
The gala concert Saturday night at Newmarket’s Trinity United Church is worth noting. It features an orchestra made up of both young music students and older professionals, plus an adult community choir, performing works by Brahms and Haydn. “The mix of generations is really a lot of fun,” says Brenda Muller. And of course a great learning experience for all.
Oh – and William Lyon Mackenzie will make an appearance at the festival too. Played by singer-songwriter and children’s performer Magoo, he’ll give you a tour of Newmarket’s Main Street from his own historical perspective, because Newmarket was a hotbed of foment during the Upper Canada Rebellion.
And yes, yours truly is one of the Blue Bridge artists. I’ll be performing Friday evening in Georgina Pioneer Village, and playing Saturday afternoon in Newmarket at Books Cafe & Things, 208 Main St. S., along with other musicians and poets. The poets and I are already trading poems and song lyrics to create some thematic links in the show – not for us a mere random jumble of pieces, oh no! – though we are leaving room for sudden flashes of improvisation and creative juxtaposition…
Click here for tickets, schedule, venues and more. Come on out and be moved, amused, inspired and entertained by the eclectic artistic riches in your own York Region backyard!
Marie-Lynn Hammond is a co-founder of Stringband, a seminal Canadian folk group, and a critically acclaimed songwriter living in York Region. In past lives she’s written plays and magazine articles and hosted national CBC radio shows. In between working on two new CDs, she freelances as an editor of both fiction and nonfiction. http://www.marielynnhammond.com