Today we attended the 2 p.m. concert of Mark Mitchell’s Double Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra held in The Church of St. John the Evangelist. The Lisgar Collegiate String Ensemble played some Corelli, a Vivaldi piece and Ancient Airs and Dances, Part III of Ottorino Respighi. The second half of the programme was the work commissioned by the Strings of St. John’s in memory of Regina de Hoog, one of their orchestra members. Mark Mitchell, the composer of the Double Concerto to be played in the second half of the programme, is a member of Mary and Leo’s congregation, so we went from our church to St. John’s to hear his work performed. When Mark walked in, Mary whispered, “Look, there is the composer” loudly enough that people around us turned to look at him. I whispered softly enough that only she would hear, “I would never have done that." She laughed and said that he deserves the attention.
Later she said to her kids, “This was a momentous occasion for us. Not very many people can say they have attended the inaugural work of a composer, that he has been in attendance at the performance, that they gave him a standing ovation, and that they shook his hand.”
The concert was long. Mary and Leo’s kids were the only children there. Naomi sat on the central isle edge of the pew. She could hang her head over and look directly down the aisle to see the two violins as they tossed their melodies back and forth to each other. There were 40 members in the orchestra some of whom she could also see. Rhiannon coloured quietly. Xavier sat down the pew beside his dad.
At the intermission the kids and I went out to check out the church sandwich board in front of the church. We tried to understand the two saying on it. One was “When you think everything is going wrong, remember, Moses was the first basket case.” The second saying was “Many people want to help God – in an advisory position.” I explained both jokes to them.
When the concert was over, Naomi and I stood in the foyer, waiting for the rest of the family to gather to go home. She asked me if I could remember out at the lake, how there are little pieces of red stone that we can gather, smash, mix with water and make thus make paint. I told her I remembered that and cautioned her that it is dangerous work. Many children have smashed their fingers as they have worked that product into body paint. Her eyes were shinning and she said, “Well look at this,” and from her down-filled coat pocket she pulled one half of a red brick. “I found this outside and now I am going to take it home and practice for when I go to the lake this summer.” There was so much happiness in her little face at her find. Into my mind leaped the image of Jean Val Jean stealing the silver dishes from the church in Les Mis. “Even though bricks look as though they don’t belong to anyone,” I told her, “that one probably does.” She showed me where she found it – outside on the church steps. We replaced it, leaving St. John’s not even one brick short of a load.
I shall try to find Naomi some suitable replacements when she comes to the lake this summer.