What a Weekend!: The Colores, Saving Monarchs and Fantastic and Fantastical

The Colores

–Written by Donna Wootton

The Colores at Canadian Tapestry and Texture Centre

The COLORES presentation at The Canadian Tapestry and Texture Centre in Oak Heights was a rich tapestry of song cycles, music history and personal resistance, starring the energetic and talented Fabian Arciniegas.

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from this local opera singer, who wowed the audience with an introduction to Columbian music that was influenced by Spanish, African and Indigenous cultures. A native of Cali he grew up with ambitions to be a singer. But, what kind of a singer? He sang a Cumbria song called “El Pescador,” a music style steeped in his heritage. His father approved and encouraged him, but being influenced by the outside world, Fabian longed to be a rock singer, such is the international influence of American English culture.

Fabian Arciniegas

In an animated fashion, Fabian recalled his voice teacher, Ivonne Giraldo. While some musicians change hats to bring their personal character to life on stage, Fabian chose to change shoes. His quick changes were impressive and revealed what a good yoga practitioner he is.

“You should sing opera,” he was told. “What? Why opera?” “If you train your voice to sing opera, you can sing anything.” Not exactly true, Fabian confessed, but handed that bill of goods, he followed a classical path that led him to the rich depth of song by Western composers that included Mozart, so Fabian learned to sing in German; Puccini, so Fabian learned to sing in Italian; and Bizet, so Fabian learned to sing in French. Carmen came to life, not just through his singing, but also his rhythmic movements.

Claire Harris accompanies Fabian Arciniegas

That’s another aspect of music Fabian enjoyed: the movement. Not for him the stoic stage presence of singing heads. When Fabian sang two songs from Schumann’s song cycle, tunes given to him for voice training by his teacher, Patrick Raftery, he exaggerated his earlier experience just enough to make his audience empathize with his hours devoted to the discipline.

Classical pianist, Claire Harris, accompanied Fabian along his biographical journey. He encouraged her to play tango, a style she became so accomplished at, she’s been invited to join a tango band.

Ixchel Suarez and Gwynn Scheltema welcome the audience at Oak Heights Art Gallery in the Canadian Tapestry and Texture Centre

Fabian ended on a deeply personal note when he shared how he met his Canadian wife, the mother of his two sons. Then he blew the audience away with an endearing rendition of “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Humorous, insightful, enthusiastic, talented, skillful. Fabian shared with his audience his rich and spectacular life’s journey!

Fabian and Claire

Saving Monarchs

Morgan Mansfield and Gavy Swan

Sunday afternoon, September 18, at Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Film Access Northumberland (FAN) screened Nick de Pencier’s award winning NFB film Four Wings and a Prayer.

8-year-old Morgan Mansfield of Morgan’s Monarchs and her mother Gavy Swan, both Butterflyway Rangers with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project, guided kids on how to rescue caterpillars and release the emerged monarch butterflies.

Artist and teacher Katie Hoogendam gave a hands-on workshop for children to make their own beautiful butterflies or paint a picture related to their migration. In spite of occasional rain, a fun afternoon was had by all!

Northumberland Festival of the Arts continues until October 2nd.

Fantastic and Fantastical

Actors Jamie and Beth Hunt

Saturday evening was the first performance of Fantastic and Fantastical, readings of three one-act plays, at Trinity-St. Andrew’s United church in Brighton. The plays are Screwed by Donald J. Anderson, Nail Polish by Christopher Cameron, and Wind over Weller’s Bay by Karen Palmer.

The audience was enthusiastic and the productions were entertaining and polished.

The next performance of all three short plays will take place at:

St Paul’s United Church, 60 Main Street, Warkworth on September 23rd at 7 PM

tickets here

And the final performance at Victoria Hall in Cobourg on October 2nd at 2 PM as part of the Festival Finale.

tickets here

Come to the Festival!

Get more details or view the entire festival event schedule and purchase tickets here :

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Northumberland Festival of the Arts is a volunteer-run not-for-profit arts organization. To volunteer for NFOTA, please contact info@festivalofthearts.ca

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