August 05, 2015

Belfountain Festival has classical music for all ages

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Belfountain Music Festival presented a special children’s concert on Sunday afternoon, as part of an ambitious classical music series being held over 11 days at the Melville White Church on Mississauga Road. 

The festival continues until this weekend, bringing together a collection of professional musicians in small ensembles, playing compositions mainly by the big names in classical music. It also provides performance opportunities for many student musicians. 

Violinist Urszula Zielinski Brock leads the children in a march.

The children’s concert started out with a little Eine kleine Nachtmusik, from the 1st Movement of Mozart’s 1787 Serenade in G Major, putting a nice, light touch on a famous melody. 

The “Hear the Music” quartet, which also plays in schools, consists of Zachary Ebin (Artistic Director for the festival) and Urszula Zielinski Brock on violins,
Alex McLeod on viola
and Tova Rosenberg on cello. 

Cellist Tova Rosenberg helps 4-year-old Anna Simonyi 
try her hand on the big instrument.
Some of the tunes were classic, if not quite classical, such as the ever-popular Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (with variations, of course). 

There were a couple of Bach minuets, and the kids were invited to show with a happy-face – sad-face sign when the music switched between cheery and melancholy. The quartet had them marching like toy soldiers, dancing with scarves and relaxing to Brahms’ Lullaby. 

It was an educational effort as well, with the kids answering questions and learning how the cello makes the low sounds, the viola handles the medium range and the violins hit the high pitches. It was a short concert at just over 30 minutes, which was probably just right for the three and four-year-olds, but the slightly older audience members would have enjoyed a bit more. 

The show had a good follow-up, with everyone invited to the stage to try out instruments and ask questions. So all in all, it was an excellent family affair, which helped the kids appreciate good quality classical music. 

It was just one of 17 concerts and other events in the festival. Last Saturday there was old-time country music and dancing, featuring Rod Salisbury on piano, Brian Stevenson on drums, Sam Leitch on fiddle, Wib Tupling on guitar and Lionel Gibney on bass. 

Prominent on the schedule is pianist Maria Dolnycky, who with Zachary Ebin has recently released a CD entitled “Dreams: A Revival of Ukrainian Music”. 

After the Thursday night (August 6) concert featuring the Glenellen String Quartet, there will be a campfire sing-along led by composer-educator Dean Burry. 

The Friday night concert has Alex McLeod on viola and Jeannine Maloney on piano, with mezzosoprano Arianna Maubach. Saturday night it is The Accolade Trio: Patricia Wait on clarinet, Mark Chambers on cello and Elizabeth Acker on piano. The final concert Sunday night is a solo performance by singer and pianist Emily Vondrejs. 

Admission to most of the concerts is $20 for adults and $5 for children, but admission to a series of student concerts and demonstrations is free. Full details are available at