Music: La Cafamore concert in June

By Contributor
May 9th, 2018

La Cafamore is back – this time as a quintet, and they’ll work their magic on works by Dvorak and Mozart, on Wednesday, June 6, at the Trail United Church. The five will be: Carolyn Cameron, Angela Snyder, Alexis More, Maria Wang, and Nina Horvath.

La Cafamore has been playing in the Kootenays for ten years, charming audiences with classical music. On June 6, they’ll perform Dvorak’s piano quintet Op. 81, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.  Tickets are $15, but free for young people under 12 years of age. Get them at  thebailey.ca  or at the door. The event begins at 7:30 pm.

What began as a string quartet formed by members of the Symphony of the Kootenays has become a fluid ensemble of varying instrumentations.  To discuss the first 10 years and give readers a glimpse into the minds of these musicians, La Cafamore (LC) asks its two founding members Carolyn Cameron (CC) and Alexis More (AM) about performing in the Kootenays.

LC: What would you say is the best part of performing?

CC: I would say when the musician and audience form a connection.  It’s kind of like being in the “zone” in a sports event.  You feel personally that you are playing well and it transmits to the group. When the audience picks up on it, you feed off of each other. Sounds kind of parasitic, doesn’t it?

AM: Getting the opportunity to work with my friends on some seriously challenging music and present it to our audiences. Since most of my professional life is spent working with kids in Elementary school, it is such a blessing to get some grown-up music time.

LC: What about the worst part?

CC: As prepared as we always try to be, sometimes things don’t click.  When I don’t play as well as I can, that’s always frustrating. That’s when you come out of a performance thinking “why am I doing this?”

AM: Is there a worst part? Well, I guess those moments when you doubt that you are doing as well as you are capable of are the hardest. Luckily they feel few and far between.

LC: Do you have a favourite spot to play in the Kootenays?

CC: Each place has its own personality, each venue has its unique acoustics, so it’s hard to pick a favourite.  I love Invermere’s piano, Crawford Bay and Fernie’s audiences are lovely. Trail United Church and Cranbrook’s Knox Presbyterian churches have fantastic acoustics.  I could go on and on.

AM: I am so in love with all the places that we go and miss them so much since I’ve moved to Victoria.  Each of our venues has is unique qualities and I love adapting to them together. Having said that, I want to give a specific shout out to our Crawford Bay family as they always make us feel like the most exciting wonderful group when we play there. I remember one year we played on Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon and still had a great audience.  They just put the turkey in the oven, came to hear the concert, and then went back home for their family dinner.

LC: Funniest thing to happen during a performance?

CC:  We usually talk about our pieces before we play them and once I launched a cough drop into the audience while I was talking.

AM: I am famous in my musical circles for being quite unflappable, which can lead to times when I very confidently play a very wrong note. This was most obvious and hilarious to us in the Ravel quartet that we played years ago as I had the single transition note while the others had rests, and I played the wrong one. It’s always hard to keep a straight face and move on in a moment like that, but we managed.

LC: Do you have a favourite instrument combination?

CC: That’s a tough one.  I certainly feel more at ease when I’m on violin but some of those piano parts are amazing.  I also don’t have to worry about bowings when I’m on piano. Not to totally plug this concert, but I’ve never met a piano quintet that I didn’t love.

AM: That’s a really tough question. I have come to love the piano trio repertoire over the last number of years. It is such a great experience to be the lowest string voice in a trio and there is no other opportunity for that as a viola player. I am quite in love with the string quartet format as well.

LC:  What are some of the challenges of managing a group that you play in (CC)?

CC: Managing the group appeals to the control freak in me. My biggest challenge is that the publicity push usually comes at a time when my practicing has hit a lull.  On the one hand I have to come out saying “this is going to be great” while my practice sessions feel like: “This really sucks.”

LC: Neither of you just walk into a concert and play.  Can you take us through some of the preparation involved?

CC: In addition to the managing part, sometimes I do arrangements for the group which is time consuming, but there have been a few that I thought turned out quite nicely.

AM: Well, for many years now, before I can get to know the part, it needs to be transposed to the alto clef so that I can play it on the viola as most of our piano trio repertoire is written for cello and not viola. This is a significant part of my preparation as there is still no perfect scanning program to use when re writing music. The most important work for me beyond that is our rehearsal time together as a group as it forms my feeling for the pieces and is the most inspiring part.

LC: How you would like to be remembered for posterity?

CC: The group that never lost a member to spontaneous combustion.

AM: The group that sidestepped some pretty embarrassing name options to settle on a pretty great one.

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