Monday, January 4, 2016

Making Classical Music More Accessible: Hamilton's Crown Point Chamber Players


A new classical music ensemble – the Crown Point Chamber Players – has been co-founded by local musicians Christine Cheesebrough and Rob Wolanski.

Photo collage by Rob Wolanski

“Late one night, on the way home from a performance with the Canadian Opera Company, my friend, Rob, and I started talking about how nice it would be to bring to east Hamilton some of the music we travel to Toronto to play,” Christine, a violinist, explains. At the time, she and her husband, Bryan Hoover, had been living in Hamilton for about a decade. “Of course, there’s quality music of many genres in downtown Hamilton, but we were unaware of a professional-level classical music series in the Crown Point Hub. Not only did we want to offer a high level of performance, but we also wanted to present it in an informal environment with reasonable ticket prices. Classical music can touch anybody’s soul, but the cost or the environment might hold people back from experiencing live classical music.

“The east end is flourishing, and yet, while there are many new restaurants, art galleries, and fitness studios now, no place I know of has been providing live classical music on a regular basis. The more music available to be enjoyed in our community, the better.”

Rob, a bassist, resides just blocks away from Delta United Church (DUC) so it made sense to consider it as a venue for chamber concerts. Their August debut at DUC was thoroughly enjoyed by the congregation, who helped sell about 100 tickets, and provided rehearsal space in addition to a relaxed, friendly environment for the concert.

Fellow members of the CPCP, Suhashani Arulanandam (violin), Caroline Olsen (viola), Rebecca Morton (cello), and Nadia Klein (cello), have more in common than their love of music and professional experience with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Christine believes that all of them have been apprentices or mentors in Maestro Boris Brott’s National Academy Orchestra in addition to performing with the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Windsor Symphony, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and other established classical music companies.

“Boris was the reason I initially moved to Hamilton from Kingston,” Christine says. “I fell in love with the city and decided to stick around.”

Delta United Church recently welcomed a beautiful parlour grand Heintzman piano donated by Eleanor Mackenzie and delivered from Nova Scotia; it will be showcased when CPCP performs at the church in 2016.

For upcoming events, keep an eye on the DUC website

Or the DUC Facebook page

Image credit: Rob Wolanski

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