Live concerts return to Southminster

By Roland Graham

After the forced closure for the past 19 months, the doors of Southminster United Church are open for music once again. The church’s celebrated Wednesday noon-hour concert series restarted in September and has concerts planned for live audiences until the end of 2021 and beyond.

The symbolism of open doors – a plain reference to accessibility and welcome – has been central to the identity of the series since its debut on the Ottawa music scene in 2012.  DOMS, which stands for “Doors Open for Music at Southminster,” has always been open to all and offered freely, with admission being by donation only.

Music lovers in Ottawa have been unrelentingly supportive; the series has survived for nine seasons on the strength of donations alone, including through the pandemic when concerts were streamed to the Internet and accessible for online viewing only. DOMS will continue following a hybrid model of being both live and live streamed simultaneously, the one positive change for live music production in response to the pandemic.

The fall 2021 DOMS lineup includes a fine roster of new and returning artists, performing everything from solo keyboard and chamber music to jazz ensembles and more, each week until Christmas. “Pianophiles” and folks who supported the acquisition of Southminster’s new nine-foot Steinway will have several opportunities to hear D606 (serial number and colloquial moniker for the piano) in action this fall.

Last month, days before DOMS kicked off, legendary conductor Ricardo Muti addressed a first-time live audience in Chicago, reminding them of the importance of live music in our lives. Paraphrasing, he said: in promoting culture, we uplift souls, minds and relationships, which are just as important as salvaging the economy.

“We are here to give – and you to receive – the sounds of beauty and harmony … without which the world becomes more savage.”

The pandemic has laid bare the suffering that comes from isolation, not only to under-employed artists and waiters, but to each one of us as humans and as a society. Our fervent hope at Southminster is to restore a bit of the lost equilibrium in the world through our musical presentations, and we hope you will be able to participate.

DOMS concerts are presented weekly on Wednesdays at noon hour at Southminster United Church (15 Aylmer Avenue). Doors open at 11:40 a.m., and proof of vaccination is required on entry. View the complete DOMS line-up online and find links to past and present live streams at southminstermusic.com.

November 17 “The Classical Piano”

In his debut solo recital, pianist Jeremy Hare-Chang (student of Roland Graham) explores contrast in idiosyncratic works by J. S. Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.

November 24 “French Connection”

Duo Cecilia – Gertrude Létourneau (flute) and Catherine Donkin (piano) – plays a colourful program of music by Mel Bonis, Jules Mouquet and Claude Debussy.

December 1“An Afternoon in Paris”

Andrew Sords (violin) and Cheryl Duvall (piano) unite to play works by Poulenc, Chopin, Ravel and Saint-Saëns in this characterful and impassioned program.

December 8 “Firebird”

Alexis Reed (soprano) and Lucas Porter (piano) offer a blended 19th/20th century program of vocal and solo piano works by Granados, Stravinsky, Strauss and Grieg.

December 15“Shakespeare’s Viola”

A pairing of music and poetry: works by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Ichmouratov arranged for viola interspersed with Shakespeare, Walter and Misbakhova.

Elvira Misbakhova, viola
Irina Krasnyanskaya, piano
Alina Ichmouratov, narrator

December 22 “Christmas with Caelis”

Caelis Academy Ensemble, directed by Matthew Larkin, presents a traditional Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols in the English high Cathedral style.

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