Monday, 30 June 2008

Making Music in the Woods: Real Diversity at CAMMAC, But Not, Alas, at the CBC

Yesterday we delivered Elin to the CAMMAC (Canadian Amateur Musicians Musiciens Amateurs du Canada) summer music program where she’ll be teaching this next week. Part vacation colony, part summer school, CAMMAC is a unique place which welcomes families as well as adults who take their music enthusiastically but seriously. When we arrived people were pitching tents in the campground, a couple of 9 or 10 year old boys were practicing soccer moves on the lawn and a passel of younger kids were playing in a big sand box. All the while others were unloading a wide variety of musical instruments or, having arranged their rooms in the main building, were rocking on the wide porch which looks out over Lac Macdonald.

It’s an idyllic setting, with varied programs all summer. This week it’s Early Music with an emphasis on that surrounding the pilgrimage to Campostella, with activities ranging from advanced viola da gamba workshops through concerts to beginner recorder lessons. Later on there will be jazz, chamber music, and vocal weeks, during the last of which the music will range from Rossini to Broadway.

The contrast between this eclectic, joyful mix of music and what is happening at the CBC couldn’t have been stronger. The CBC brass tried to put a good spin on programming changes at Radio Two last week but, according to The Globe and Mail a Radio 2 promotional video highlights “a bevy of Canadian acts, including Jann Arden, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, Alex Cuba, Michael Bublé and rapper k-os” but only “a brief clip of a symphony orchestra in concert.”

Don’t the CBC brass realize that you don’t have to short change serious music to bring diversity to Radio Two? Canadian musicians are among the best in the world, they have a world-wide audience. But they need support at home from our public broadcaster, as the folks who are enjoying themselves at CAMMAC this summer would agree. As for the musicians who are teaching there—well, the CBC has been the incubator for many of them, and they are going to feel the Radio Two cuts acutely.

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