Love is In the Air

The sweet fresh breezes of spring resound  ‘Love is in the Air’! Wedding season is about to get real. It is making me a tad nostalgic. My thoughts drift back to my first marriage.

We were young. Very young. It was a brief engagement followed by a simple wedding. There were just a handful of guests, mostly my friends. As it was a hasty affair, the hundred year old tree in the field provided a shady spot to exchange our  solemn vows. There is much about that day I remember in great detail. I spent my childhood living my life as if in a great novel. Often repeating moments that had just occurred in the third person, as if the narrator of my own story. (Louise paused from her typing, smiling to herself at the memory of a younger Louise standing in the middle of the field under the shade of the tree.)  The sky was really blue. like, really blue. And the sun was blazing. Although it was hot, I remember the cooling breezes shifting the tall grasses near the fence.

My friend Susan really gets credit for making it all come together. When you are in Grade 4 and contemplating a ‘forever and ever’ commitment, it helps to have a good friend’s encouragement. Taking her role as both wedding planner and officiant quite seriously, Susan marched me across the schoolyard hopscotch pads, between the baseball diamond and soccer games, across the track field to the big oak tree where a few of our girl friends were waiting. Holding dandelion bouquets. (Actually I don’t really remember the bouquets, but we did often make dainty dandelion chain crowns during recess.)  I stood there a bit queasy shifting from one foot to the other wondering of all things, how I was going to break the news to my parents.

Now, here is where things get a bit fuzzy. I distinctly remember Susan getting perturbed that the groom had not yet arrived. All the girls, me the exception, began yelling at the groom to leave his game of pick-up soccer for just 2 minutes to make it official! ‘Because, if he couldn’t commit to even that, then how was Louise supposed to take this whole relationship thing seriously? I mean, come on!’ My betrothed kicked the ball into the field punctuating an exasperated ‘FINE!’, then ran to the tree and my giggling friends. With great gravitas, Susan clasped her hands and asked us to repeat the vows. I said my ‘I do’, looking directly at Susan. My groom gave an exasperated ‘Yeah, whatever’, kind of touched my hand and then ran back to the game. And that was it. In that 15 minute afternoon recess  I became the first of my friends to marry. They congratulated me and one of them offered to go tell my sisters who were playing on the other side of the schoolyard. I remember feeling different, somehow. Awed by the the whole situation and my prominent role. I can’t really explain it – older maybe? Definitely wiser. As the bell rang and we joined the rest of the school running towards the doors, I mused to myself ‘it’s true, marriage really does change you’.

There is, ahem, one important element that I can’t recollect – getting back to that ‘fuzzy bit’. It is the kind of detail one thinks one could never forget. I swear on a stack of dandelion crowns, I can’t remember the groom. Not his name or even what he looked like. He may have been wearing brown corduroy pants. Gosh, who did I marry that warm spring day? Alas, the first Mr. Louise Fagan will forever remain the blurry memory of an otherwise beautiful ceremony. (I’m just thinking it would have been nice when we reached our 20 year anniversary to have given him a bit of a ‘shout out’. Kinda feel bad about that one.)  

Back to the marriage. We never really spoke afterwards, my first husband and I. It was a short-lived union that suffered from a lack of communication. We drifted apart. It was bound to happen. He had his friends and I had mine. By morning recess the next day it all seemed so long ago. Sigh.

Spring, see what you do to me? It’s that promise of warmer days and weddings. Love and lovebirds. Joyously anticipating my own son’s wedding in just a few short months. (I think it’s his first). Love sweet love is in the air!

 

beautiful bloom blossom clouds

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SUPERHERO PROJECT!

kidsHome grown superheroes are those whose actions improve the life of one person, the community, the world. While not likely hit by lightening, bitten by a spider or hurled to earth from a far distant galaxy, the home grown superhero has some other motivation to act with consideration of others. They inspire, nurture and build a better place for the rest of us. Our Super Powers manifest in the most extraordinary ways! If you know someone whose small gesture made a huge difference or whose idea or invention made you happy then we want to know about it! What is YOUR Super Power? Please add your story, photo, link as a comment here or on our Facebook page. We want to celebrate the homegrown superheroes!

Heroines of the Sexual Gothic

Circle poster

“a hilarious, profound and subverting evening of prose and song from among the best!” – Dave Bidini, Bidiniband, the Rheostatics, Author of 11 Books, National Post columnist, and all around great guy!

A catchy title isn’t it? It can conjure various emotions, heavily influenced by our personal experiences. Some of us will focus on ‘heroines’, and others of us the ‘sexual’ – putting ‘sexual gothic’ together is certainly provocative. What we are really exploring is how the female and the idea of the feminine is framed by social context, physical attributes that we are born with or grow into, with an author’s eye to the personal exploration of herself in relation to her characters. Add the phenomenal original scoring of the Billie Hollies and we have a presentation that is rich in discovery, drama, humour and celebration.

In Heroines of the Sexual Gothic, critically acclaimed author Susan Swan explores her relationship to some of her most intriguing characters – the giantess Anna Swan, the fiercely independent Asked For Adams and the romantically idealistic Mary “Mouse” Bradford. In traditional Gothic, the setting is a ruined castle. In Sexual Gothic, the body is the ruined castle, as each of these characters contends with physical challenges or oddities that prevent them from accepting themselves as women. Woven throughout Swan’s explorations is original music composed and performed by The Billie Hollies, Toronto’s popular woman opera noir quartet. The soulful sound of The Billie Hollies singing passages from Swan’s novels bring these characters to life, allowing the audience to powerfully connect to their own hopes and struggles. We had a debut of the idea with a 20 minute sketch at a fundraiser for the Toronto Women’s Bookstore  last June. After a winter of development kindly supported by the Canada Council, we are ready for our first presentation in London, Ontario. Thank you to The Circle, Women’s Centre, Brescia University College, UWO. Join us for this unique evening of performance – Susan Swan and The Billie Hollies have created an evening of talk and music you’ll never forget.

Directed and Produced by Louise Fagan
Assistant producer and director: Mariel Marshall

The Jeanne Adamson Memorial Event of The Sophia Series presented by The Circle Women’s Centre, Brescia University College, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario Canada

Heroines of the Sexual Gothic
Featuring Canadian Author Susan Swan and
the all-woman opera noir quartet, The Billie Hollies

Thursday 2 May 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Meet & Greet Reception with the Artists to follow the performance
Brescia Auditorium, Brescia University College, London
Tickets: $20.00; $15.00 for Circle members
Free Parking

Info & Tickets: www.thecircle.ca or circle@uwo.ca
or 519-432-8353 ext. 28288

Visit our website at http://www.heroinesofthesexualgothic.com for more info about the entire team!

Official Welcome Reception

The Bach Music Festival of Canada team continued to do what it came to the 2012 JUNOs Awards to do – celebrate the efforts of Canadian contemporary Classical musicians and to introduce the Festival to the nation’s best. 

To say we accomplished this, may be a bit of an understatement. For sheer enthusiasm, warmth and generousity of spirit the Bach Festival  left an indelible impression with everyone we met.

Tara Rintoul and Robert Wouda, former Gerald Fagan Singers members now living in Ottawa, joined us for the day’s events introducing us to some JUNO Nominated Ottawa musicians, including Stretch Orchestra, who won in their category!

The following photos tell the story much better than I could – and as the days progress we will continue to upload with anecdotes, escapades. Below we are seen with members of the industry.

I can say without a doubt that the Bach Festival did Exeter Ontario proud, London Ontario proud, the sponsors and supporters of the Festival proud, and truly laid the groundwork for the 2013 Festival!

The next morning we met for breakfast before the Board left me to my JUNO devices (!). Some moments we agreed “What happens at the JUNOs stays at the JUNOs!” but for the rest of those moments, we look forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks!

2012 JUNO Awards – Let the Games Begin!

What an exciting time to be in Ottawa Canada for the 2012 JUNO Awards!

Artistic Director Gerald Fagan and I arrived by VIA train, the Official Train of the JUNOs, Friday evening, in time to check into the Lord Elgin Hotel, one of the Official Hotels of the JUNOs ( are you noticing a trend here?) and the JUNO excitement is everywhere. The train ride from London to Ottawa was very exciting – Gerry studied his music for the April 6th Good Friday Concert in London. The entire trip. I’m not kidding. Except for when he took a break to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Don’t believe me? Check these photos out for proof!

Here he is waiting for the Toronto connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And once on the train again, out comes the music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing like a peanut butter sandwich!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon arriving in Ottawa the JUNOs were there to welcome us!

Here is a picture of Gerry! 

After taking this picture of me, saying that I should be sure to have my picture in our JUNO diary, Gerry took this one and declared ‘perfect!’. Hmmmm…. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our fantastic Board of Directors is joining the festivities as well. Board Member Paul Ciufo arrived Friday night and met us for a late dinner at the Lord Elgin, one of the official Hotels of the JUNOs. Our waiter very kindly captured this shot.

He seemed somewhat nonplussed about our Official Status at the Junos importance. Luckily, the banana bread pudding with nutmeg ice cream by Chef Michael Smith was a balm to our hurt egos. Sigh.

Not to be upstaged, a van of the Bach Music Festival of Canada Board Members left Exeter Ontario at 4:30am to arrive in Ottawa for our Classical Music Showcase, an Official event of the JUNOs! which is at 3:30pm at the National Arts Centre.

Friedhelm Hoffmann, Heather Moffatt, Cathy Seip, Ellen Shapiro and Jean Jacobe along with Paul and Wayne Deluca and Janet Heerema are the most extraordinary Board of Directors that any organization would be so proud to be associated with. What an effort for each to make, to support the Festival as well as the efforts of Canadian contemporary classical musicians! We will miss Board members Janet Heerema and  Wayne DeLuca’s presence here – but he is cheering us from away!

This is just the beginning! More posts to come today and through the weekend. Thank you for joining us on this amazing journey! Louise Fagan, Executive Producer Bach Festival