fare offered by Novalis Project
by Julie DeBruin - The
cosy little hall just west of Barrie will be home to world-class
music this summer. Teresa O'Driscoll is the project co-ordinator
for the summer music season at Novalis Hall, and she's excited
by the talent that has been drawn together for this, the second
season of what been called the Novalis Project.
seven-sided hall, which seats 200, is part of Camphill Communities,
a village in which volunteers and adults with special needs
live and work together.
just find it enchanting," said O'Driscoll, who was first introduced
to the hall and community a couple years ago. "I (thought)
how wonderful it would be to bring great artists I've worked
with over the years, and stimulate them as well. The acoustics
The hall was named after Novalis, an 18th-century German poet
and scientist who believed the human heart found creative
expression in the arts.
more the heart was engaged, the more fully people lived their
lives and the more sincere people's interest in one another
became, which provided a basis for social renewal.
describes the project as a modest effort.
summer's season offers something that can be enjoyed by all.
Music, after all, she pointed out, has been a part of people's
collective past for centuries.
Irish performer came to Barrie in 2000 after she gave a concert
at a local Anglican church. She is a singer, poet and storyteller.
my thing," she said, from her office on the second floor of
a restored home in downtown Barrie. She is also an author.
Her first book, In the Deep Heart's Core, was published in
2000, and she is just putting the finishing touches on her
second book, a journey of her life.
had originally planned to return to her native Ireland following
her performance, but decided to stay in Barrie, and shortly
after, discovered Novalis Hall. Two of her children also live
in this area and are involved in the project.
is enthralled with the Camphill community and it residents.
focus on ability, they don't focus on disability," she said.
The residents of the 280-acre community support themselves
by raising and selling meat and vegetables, weaving and crafts.
The villagers have also attended the performances. "The village
listens with their hearts, it's a deeper way to experience
music," she said.
Novalis Project was born last year: its crowning glory was
a performance by Symphony at the Barn Chamber Players. O'Driscoll
explained this group is made up of gifted young performers
from around the world who come to stay on a working biodynamic
farm belonging to Michael and Dorothea Schmidt in Durham,
performance was magical, said O'Driscoll, recalling the summer
afternoon, where the performers mingled with the villagers
and visitors who came from as far away as Toronto to listen.
group will be playing at Novalis again this year. Its performance,
From Classical to Jazz, an Exploration of Form, will be performed
on Saturday, July 24.
project has put be an emphasis on jazz this year. "It's the
music of North America," said O'Driscoll. "It's a contemporary
sound that highlights improvisation."
musicians can listen to each other ... how they come into
harmony (and that) they have to come into harmony moment to
moment. There is no better connection between the audience
and performer. "Each performance is different, if they're
doing their job."
remaining two musical performances of the year will be Hilario
Duran Trio out of Cuba. "Cuban music is the sound of community,"
she said, pointing out its culture has been shielded from
America for a generation. "They have been isolated from the
rest of the world for so many years. The music is such a natural
expression of their lives," O'Driscoll added. Her daughter,
Emer, will be singing with the group.
final performers will be Esmeralda Enrique, Spanish Dance
Company, set for Sept. 3.
Music isn't the only art to be featured at the hall this year.
son Robert, an actor, director and drama teacher, will be
one of the leaders of the teen camp program.
two-week drama summer camp will teach students voice and movement
techniques, observation and imagination exercises, and games.
It is geared for teens aged 15 to 19 and will run between
July 5 and 16.
Colour World of Flowers, is an art workshop running five mornings
a week starting Aug. 16
"You just have to love colour and love gardens," said O'Driscoll.
This program will be run out of The Carriage House at 105
Novalis Project is also bringing Dr. Michael Lipson, a clinical
psychologist in Massachusetts, for a two-day workshop and
lecture the weekend of July 30 entitled From Emotion to Feeling.
will explore how emotions can be transformed into heightened
more information on the Novalis Project, or any of its programs,
call 739-4114 or check out the Web site at www.novalisproject.com.