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An Extra-Special SweetWater Music Festival

It’s never easy saying goodbye. The 16th SweetWater Music Festival (September 20 – 22) will be one of high emotions for everyone as our founding Artistic Director Mark Fewer’s oversees his final Festival. Mark has taken SweetWater from a one-off concert to something much greater. Along with showcasing some of the world’s top talents in classical, jazz and contemporary music, SweetWater has premiered nine original works by some of Canada’s top composers. Mark has staged unforgettable performances including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor, Haydn String Quartets, and Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello.

None of us are surprised that Mark would have a few things left on his “bucket list” for SweetWater 2019. Our already sold out Opening Night Gala is a SweetWater first, a concert featuring the music of one composer, Handel. For our Saturday Early Evening concert at the Roxy (this one still has some tickets available), Mark was able to get familiar Festival talent, Juno- winner David Braid, to rework a composition to feature a jazz quartet and string quartet. It’s going to be an amazing performance showcasing two sides of SweetWater, classical and jazz. And everyone is looking forward to Sunday’s Matinee Finale at the Roxy. The big showstopper will be a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria featuring world-famous countertenor Daniel Taylor along with the University of Toronto Schola Cantorum. And good news, there are still tickets available for that concert as well.

Festival Passes and our Late Night Jazz concert at Heartwood sold out also by the end of August. Hardly surprising considering the line up and the fact this would be Mark’s last Festival as Artistic Director. It truly will be an extra-special Festival in many ways.

As always, we’ll have lots of fun, free interactive music activities at the Harmony Centre on Saturday during Festival Weekend. Along with the concerts, Mark was instrumental in creating a Festival that included other ways the public could enjoy SweetWater even without a ticket. The String Instrument Showcase returns and will feature 10 of Canada’s stop luthiers. A family fave also returns, Mozart for Munchkins at 10:30 a.m. and kids will also have a chance to play some instruments as well. Plus, there’s the community play along, Classical Jam. This year our incoming Artistic Director Edwin Huizinga leads the players in a performance of Greig’s Holberg Suite (1st and 4th movements).

The highlight of our Saturday events at the Harmony Centre will be the Luthier Performance & Talk featuring Mark Fewer and CBC radio host and Globe & Mail music critic Robert Harris. It all begins with Mark performing on violins made by the exhibiting luthiers. He’ll partially re-create his concert from the early 2000s when the idea of SweetWater was born. Harris will also moderate a talk with outgoing and incoming Artistic Directors, Mark and Edwin Huizinga.

Yes, it’s going to be an emotional weekend but also another unforgettable one featuring incredible performances. A perfect way to celebrate what Mark has accomplished over 16 years. Bravo Mark… and thank you for the music.

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