The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was founded out of necessity; in 1945, the Grand Philharmonic Choir was preparing a recital and needed tuneful accompaniment for the harmonic voices. Once its backup duty was over, however, the newly convened orchestra quickly established itself as an independent source for both classical and pops concerts performing more than 100 concerts annually in the Waterloo region. Now home to 52 on-staff musicians, the orchestra continues its decades-long tradition at venues around Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge. From his position as music director, Edwin Outwater oversees the joyful noise, which ranges from baroque to Beethoven to the Beatles and Broadway. Since assuming the role in 2007, Outwater has been one of the orchestra's most vigorous boosters, arranging the group's first commercial recording in a decade, engineering an exploration of prog rock in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Computing, and knitting sweaters for each musician's instrument.
Made up of amateurs, students from Wilfrid Laurier University, and seasoned professionals, the 34-member Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra is truly a community ensemble. And the group takes its cultural responsibility seriously—each season, they delve into the lesser known works of beloved 18th and 19th century composers to unearth and play forgotten gems. Before presenting pieces by such luminaries as Beethoven and Mozart, the orchestra invites audiences to pre-concert performances from a small ensemble.
The largest soft-seat theatre in Canada, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is perhaps most famous for its overhanging marquee outside. The diagonal canopy and its snake-like rows of lights were restored to their original form in 2010, along with the facility?s wood, brass, and marble accents. Inside the lobby, York Wilson?s mural, The Seven Lively Arts, fills eyes with fractured, panoramic representations of various artistic media, from slanted musical staffs to menacing Greek theatre masks.
Shiatsu and LaStone therapist of Transense Healing Arts Holistic Centre employs two distinct therapy treatments to help clients reduce pain and discomfort. She uses her knuckles, thumbs, palms, knees, and elbows as instruments of relaxation, drawing from shiatsu techniques and Japanese-style acupressure to pinpoint and expunge stress. Alternatively, she uses heated basalt rocks formed from volcanic lava during LaStone therapy, loosening up knotted muscles.
Her experience stems back to the Aveda Institute in Victoria, B.C., where she graduated from in 1998 in esthetics. Since 2000, she has added LaStone therapy to her repertoire, which allows her to stimulated the autonomic nervous system and increase oxygen in the body. Her subsequent interest in shiatsu led her to Shiatsu School of Canada, which enables her to continue her journey of educational growth through her daily practice.
With period instruments in hand, the musicians of the Aradia Ensemble have spent the last two decades breathing new life into the music of the Baroque. In addition to a regular concert series that mixes beloved classics with oft-overlooked gems, the ensemble frequently pairs with dancers, actors, and non-classical musicians to create unusual juxtapositions that shed light on the intricacies of the baroque style and make 18th-century ghosts wish they'd known about zithers. Under the baton of maestro Kevin Mallon, the group has recently earned a Juno nomination and garnered acclaim for its annual Dublin Messiah, a recreation of the original Dublin performance of Handel's seminal Christmas piece in 1742.
The resident instrumentalists at Artscape Wychwood Barns, the Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble makes good use of the surprisingly effective acoustics of the renovated warehouse it calls home. Dedicated to the works of modern and contemporary artists, the ensemble works closely with composers and builds their programs around 20th and 21st century artists. Not just classical artists either—the group has not only worked with Yo-Yo Ma, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Canadian Opera Company, but also with Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, and Richard Reed Perry of the Arcade Fire.