Our Christmas Tree Adventure – Part 1

We love the holidays.

They are a time for beautiful festive music, twinkling lights, memorable moments, and wonderful times with our families. We sent two new members of the SSO family out for an unforgettable afternoon filled with power tools and holiday cheer.

*No musicians were harmed in the making of this video

Thomas Schudel’s Winter Suite

Composer Thomas Schudel was born on September 8, 1937, in Defiance, Ohio. A composer, bassoonist and teacher, he completed his BSc in Music Education and Master’s in Theory and Composition at Ohio State University and received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan in 1971.

He joined the faculty at the University of Saskatchewan Regina Campus in 1964 and became Head of the Music Department in 1975, a post he held until 1978. Counterpoint, analysis, and woodwinds were among the classes he taught during his tenure.

Schudel held the position of principal bassoon with the Regina Symphony Orchestra from 1964 -1967 and then again from 1968 to 1970.

In 1972, Schudel’s Symphony No. 1 garnered first prize in the City of Trieste International Competition for Orchestral Compositions. His works have been performed across Canada and internationally; many are published in Canada and the USA. Thanks to commissions from provincial groups such as the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association (SMFA), his music has been showcased throughout the province. The SMFA included his works in their 2004-05 syllabus, thus reaching children in many communities. Other works have been commissioned by the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association and the Saskatchewan Choral Federation, as well as by the Canada Council and the CBC.

During our concert A Winter’s Journey our wind quintet performs Schudel’s A Winter Suite.

Poet Ted Kooser

Our concert opens with spoken-word artist Carol Greyeyes reading a work written by poet Ted Kooser.

Ted Kooser was the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. He is also Presidential Professor Emeritus at The University of Nebraska, where he taught the writing of poetry. For most of his career, he was a life insurance salesman and would spend about an hour and a half writing poetry before work. By the time he retired from his insurance career, he had published 7 books of poetry. Kooser received the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book Delights & Shadows.

The work being read at our concert is called December 21, Clear and five degrees. It is from a collection of postcards written by Kooser to Jim Harrison. The entire collection is entitled Winter Morning Walks and there are 100 postcards in total. In the late 1990s, Kooser developed cancer and gave up both his insurance job and writing. When he began to write again, it was to send daily poems on postcards he sent in correspondence with his friend and fellow writer Jim Harrison. In poems both playful and serious, Kooser avoids talking directly about his illness. Rather, he refers to disease and the possibility of dying in metaphors focusing on the countryside around his Nebraska home, where he took long walks for inspiration.

Kooser’s walks have also inspired others. Grammy award-winning composer, Maria Schneider, used Kooser’s poetry to create a song cycle called Winter Morning Walks. It was written for and performed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Dawn Upshaw, Jay Anderson (bass), Frank Kimbrough (piano) & Scott Robinson (alto clarinet & bass clarinet).

You can hear a sample on this clip from PBS where the interview Dawn Upshaw and Maria Scneider about the creation of the beautiful song cycle.

A Message from Nutrien

In the spirit of the season, your friends and neighbours at Nutrien are delighted to share the gift of performance with you this evening.

As a supporter of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, we appreciate the efforts of the diverse group of artists and organizers who helped make this special evening possible. It is a testament to what can be created by people who share a vision and commitment to a common goal.

While our growing company has an expanding reach, our purpose is to grow our world from the ground up – and that starts here at home.

Nutrien looks for opportunities to build our community and to celebrate the many gifts that come from being a part of it. Through music, art and recreation, we strive to bring people together in a shared desire to make Saskatoon a better place to work and live for all of us. We, too, believe in creating special moments with diverse groups across our community.

It is our sincere wish that you enjoy tonight’s performance and that we have helped get your holiday season started on the right note.