Double bill of student performers this Friday at Gaia Java

This Friday at Gaia Java features a double bill of gifted student performers: The Lisgar String Quartet, and jazz pianist Khalil Anderson-Stewart.

The Lisgar String Quartet. Left to right: Uyen Tran, Rhiannon Ng, Kenya Moore, Alexi Michael
The Lisgar String Quartet. Left to right: Uyen Tran, Rhiannon Ng, Kenya Moore, Alexi Michael

By way of a promo for the upcoming concerts by the Strings of St Johns together with the Lisgar Collegiate Institute String Ensemble, we have an opportunity to hear the magical sound of a string quartet. Students (l to r in the photo: ) Uyen Tran, Rhiannon Ng, Kenya Moore, Alexi Michael perform as the Lisgar String Quartet, with the helpful guidance of their teacher Laura Mennill.

The ‘LSQ’ comes from a long tradition of the school extending its musical skills for the enjoyment of others in the community. Almost 100 years ago during World War I, the Lisgar Orchestra was formed when a group of students requested permission to perform in the daily assembly.  The musicians hoped to raise the spirits of those who were deeply saddened by the casualty lists that arrived daily from Europe.  At the end of the war, the ensemble became an official school orchestra, the first ever Canadian Secondary School Orchestra.  This initiative led to the addition of music to the school curriculum.

The Lisgar Band, as an official unit was started in the 1950’s.  Jazz Bands came into being in the 1970’s, and the choir was resurrected in the 1990’s.  Today there are 10 large performing ensembles at Lisgar, involving close to 250 students in total.

Lisgar music groups perform many concerts in the community, at National and Regional festivals.  Smaller ensembles and quartets have been invited to perform locally, in churches, at chamber concerts, in museums and art galleries, at official functions in the Houses of Parliament, the Senate and Rideau Hall, and the City of Ottawa.  Music performing tours have taken the senior groups across Canada, the United States, Finland, Russia, England, The Netherlands, Austria, China, Italy and Germany. This Friday at Gaia Java, Uyen, Rhiannon, Kenya and Alexi will be playing some delightful ensemble pieces of classical repertoire, including some likely familiar melodies. Come and pretend you are in a Viennese coffee house listening to Mozart and his sister performing with their friends (except that Mozart didn’t yet have an espresso machine)!

While you are in the shop you could pick up tickets for the March 1st or March 8th nStrings of St John’s Concerts (together with the Lisgar Collegiate Institute String Ensemble) where they will be playing works by Antonio Vivaldi, Hubert Parry, Gustav Holst, and the beautiful haunting ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis’ by Ralph Vaughan-Williams.


Khalil Anderson-Stewart
Khalil Anderson-Stewart

Gaia Java regulars may remember pianist Khalil Anderson-Stewart playing in the shop on Valentine’s Day last year, together with a group of other music students from Queen’s University in Kingston. Khalil grew up in Whitby Ontario, where he would sometimes play in his family’s barbershop! His interest in music became a mainstream passion and he is now studying music at Queen’s as a keyboard major. His studies include classical and jazz piano under Dr Adrienne Shannon. Khalil’s tastes in music are very broad and he enjoys improvising medleys of favourite piano songs, ranging from classical to jazz, to pop and musical theatre. One of his favourite influences is George Gershwin, who as a successful jazz and popular musician went to France intending to study with classical greats such as Nadia Boulanger and Maurice Ravel, but both declined to work with him for fear that they might disrupt his jazz style. Ravel’s response was: “Why become a second-rate Ravel when you’re already a first-rate Gershwin?”

Come and hear Khalil interpret Gershwin and others on the eve of Valentine’s Day at Gaia Java. You can even take away a bag of our freshly-roasted ‘Valentine’s Blend’ coffee beans to enjoy at home.

The Lisgar String Quartet, and jazz pianist Khalil Anderson-Stewart – Friday, February 13 at 7:30pm at Gaia Java.



Leave a Reply