Listening Party Podcast Episode 19

Friday
Jun 04, 2021 1:00pm

Venue Online

Cost Free

Podcast #19

Friday, June 4, 2021 | 1 pm | On Demand

What does being an artist mean beyond the voice? There are so many elements of artistry that it can be difficult to navigate for anyone, let alone emerging artists who are just beginning to figure out who they are and what their personal artistry looks like.

This month, Rebecca Hass chats with the Civic Engagement Quartet and Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor to give emerging artists insights into working in community, the changes in the opera field for singers, and what it is like to have an artistic practice. For the non-singer, it’s a peek into the mind of the opera singer.

Be sure to listen to the accompanying Spotify Playlist built by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor!


Urged on by one word prompts from Rebecca, Simran Claire, Kaden Forsberg, Charlotte Siegel, and Micah Schroeder dive into a discussion about discovering who they are as artists, gaining the confidence to claim the term, and the process that got them there. Music Alive gave them the opportunity to explore who they are as artists in roles that they do not typically hold as singers allowed them to realize and own their own artistry, understanding that they are artists outside of opera. They are artists everywhere, all the time, not just when they are singing.


A close up shot of Gwenna looking into the camera with a subtle smile on her face. She has short, straight blonde hair and blue-green eyes.Soprano and teaching artist Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor recently partook in The Holland Community Opera Fellowship, spending two years working in Nebraska using art to connect to the people around her. Rebecca and Gwenna chatted about her identity as an artist and how community work is an integral part of that identity; it’s as vital as singing. Why is it so important to her? Because she believes that everybody deserves to have spaces that validate their voices, stories, and thoughts. She believes in the power of the arts to create community, uplifting and bringing people together. When done correctly, art is as bridge to community and she is committed to building it. Rebeccca asked Gwenna what final piece of advice she would give to emerging artists and Gwenna’s answer was short, simple, and exactly what we all needed to hear: “now is the time”.


Welcome to the liner notes for the podcast for June 4, 2021. This episode features a roundtable with the Civic Engagement Quartet artists and singer and mentor, Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor. Gwenna is today’s guest curator for the Spotify playlist. The quartet was featured in last months episode (#18 May 2021) and you can go back and check out their musical selections here.

The podcast focuses on today’s opera artist and the fullness of their artistic practice as it relates to community engagement. Gwenna’s playlist reflects her journey as a singer and as a committed contributor to the world around her. Enjoy.

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Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor

Green Garden featuring Laura Mvula with Metropole Orkest. My friend Nicholas Davis introduced this song to me when we were planning for a workshop together, and I’ve listened to it pretty much on repeat ever since. It carried me through a cold and isolated winter.

Umatiga performed by Aasiva. I met this amazing artist in Nunavut and had the pleasure of teaching with her a few years ago. Aasiva is an awesome human and makes beautiful music. I believe she has a new album coming out soon and I can’t wait to take a listen. I also highly recommend you listen to the first track of this album in particular – it gave me goosebumps. 

Beim Schlafengehen from Vier letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss. Featuring soprano Jessye Norman with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Hearing Ms. Norman sing this made me instantly fall in love with the Four Last Songs. I’m a crier and this will get me most of the time! 

Get Happy / Happy Days performed by Pink Martini (featuring Rufus Wainwright). We took a group of “Learn English Through Song (LETS)” participants to a Pink Martini concert at Massey Hall a few years back as a wrap up to the program. I have this visceral happy memory of a bunch of ladies in my class being invited to the stage to dance, after recognizing a favourite song. This song embodies that joy for me and I can’t listen to it without smiling! 

Storm from Peter Grimes, Four Sea Interludes, Op. 33a: No. 4, with the Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal. When I was small, my dad taught me to love thunderstorms. Peter Grimes is also my favourite opera, so it had to make the list! 

Absence of You performed by Danielle Knibbe. I have a few friends who love Danielle Knibbe, and because of them I had the pleasure of hearing this song for the first time in her living room. Of course, now I love her music too. I listened to this a lot this year as I’ve been away from the people I love because of the pandemic. 

Let Yourself Dream performed by the Regent Park School of Music Choir. I’ve got a soft spot for this one. In 2018-2019 I had the privilege of conducting the Jane/Finch choir for Regent Park School of Music, a fabulous organization with amazing kids. My time there included helping with recording this album. The kids worked so hard and were so proud to hear it and when I listen I’m reminded of their hard work and wonderful spirits. 

Good News performed by Classified (featuring Breagh Isabel). I came across this for the first-time doing research for some curriculum in late spring of 2020. It ended up being exactly what I was looking for, and more than that, it made it into my exercise playlist. It’s still there a year later!


Opera ETC
Physically Distant | Socially Connected


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