Poor Ralph Rackstraw. "The smartest lad in all the fleet" loves Josephine, the Captain's daughter, but social rank stands between them and she is to marry Sir Joseph Porter, though she finds the prospect revolting. But wait! Little Buttercup, who has come on board the Pinafore to sell her wares, knows something that could change everything. But what?? You can discover the answer if you're in the audience for . . .
H.M.S. Pinafore in Concert
Saturday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Avoid the lineup at the door! Order tickets online


SSO orchestra banner
Con spirito: Inside the SSO
THIS MONTH: H.M.S. Pinafore
November  2011
In This Issue
H.M.S. Pinafore Concert
Bert Carriere . . .
. . . and friends
Bach in December
Celebrity Dinner

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Warm greetings from the Stratford Symphony Orchestra. Con Spirito enables us to carry on a conversation with music lovers in the Stratford community and beyond. Please feel free to send us an email  

with your thoughts or comments.



Send this edition of Con Spirito to your friends. Tell them not to miss Pinafore!! 

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You can buy all five remaining concerts (including Pinafore) for $140. You save the price of one concert ($35). Phone 519-271-0990 and leave your name, phone number and the quantity of season tickets you wish to buy. Your tickets will be waiting for you Saturday at the Pinafore concert.  



Many thanks to the Festival City Rotary Club for sponsoring the SSO's Beacon Herald ads and to Troy Roach of OnSite Technology for his invaluable computer assistance.  

Volunteer opportunities abound in the SSO 

All sorts of talents are needed in support roles for the SSO. Interested? Send us an  email today.













July 9  

Bert Carrière and 

friends present:
H.M.S. Pinafore

in Concert   

Longtime Stratford Festival music director Bert Carrière and friends headline the SSO's concert version of H.M.S. Pinafore this Saturday, November 12, at Central United Church beginning at 7:30 p.m.


Starring in the popular Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera are Douglas Chamberlain (Sir Joseph Porter), Eileen Smith (Buttercup), Barbara Dunn-Prosser (Josephine), Marion Adler (Hebe), Brad Rudy (Dick Deadeye), Van Abrahams (Ralph Rackstraw), David Dunbar (Captain), Kelly Walker (Boatswain) and Scott Wentworth (narrator).


Members of the chorus have been drawn from across the Stratford community and beyond.


Assisting Mr. Carrière, who was with the Festival for more than 30 years, are two other Festival veterans, Barbara Young (associate director) and Nora Polley (facilitator). Ms. Young, now in her sixteenth season, worked closely with Mr. Carrière for 13 years. Ms. Polley is in her thirty-seventh year as stage manager. Most of the lead singers have also been Festival performers.


All the headliners are donating their services to help put the Stratford Symphony on a firmer financial footing.


Tickets are available online and at Fanfare Books and Anything Grows in Stratford, Stewart Books in St. Marys, Music in Sebringville and Perth County Welcome Centre in Shakespeare.



Berthold Carrière . . . 


The drawing together of this talented, accomplished cast of artists, all of whom have donated their services to support the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, is testimony to the affection and esteem they hold for Berthold Carrière.


Bert Carrière's investiture to the Order of Canada in 2002 included these words: "Known for his generosity of spirit and his professionalism, he has shared his expertise as a teacher at numerous arts education institutions and with theatre companies throughout Canada and abroad." His willingness to offer his time and considerable talents in support of the Stratford Symphony, and to ask his friends and colleagues to join him in this cause, is more than generous and the orchestra is deeply grateful. Bert has agreed to serve, beyond this concert, as an advisor to the orchestra as it strengthens and expands its contribution to the community. We relish this opportunity to work with him.


His work with the Festival is well known. His 1981 production of Pinafore for the Festival toured the United States. During his 38 years with the Festival he composed and arranged music for more than 80 productions, including several other Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas: The Mikado, Iolanthe, The Gondoliers and The Pirates of Penzance. The Mikado played on Broadway as well as at London's Old Vic. He has won a number of honours for his work.


Not as well known is what he has been doing since leaving the Festival in 2007. He is seeing a lot more of his wife, Nancy, whom he met when he was 18 and producing his first musical in Ottawa. She was "doing props," he recalls. Over the years, with Nancy - not a musician - teaching in high school from fall through spring and Bert immersed in Festival productions from spring through fall, they didn't see a lot of each other. Now they do.


They live in an 1860s stone house in St. Marys that they bought in 1975. They have restored it and filled it with antique furniture. Nancy is "very much into" yoga and pilates, Bert says. He is still writing music and begins his workday in his home studio at about 10. Right now he's working on a piano and orchestra piece. While his Festival writing mostly consisted of short pieces, he now has a chance to write longer ones, and he is studying orchestration in a way he never had time for previously. "It's like painting," he says. His to-do list includes writing a suite about the breathtaking beauty of Quebec's Gaspé region, the home of his ancestors.


Travel is high on their agenda. They bought a motorhome two years ago and have taken it through Florida, Texas, Gaspé, New York State and Northern Ontario. At the end of January, they'll trade the open road for a rail trip through Africa on the luxurious Blue Train ("only 70 people; it's like the Orient Express") combined with several safaris.


"We're now making up for lost time."

. . . and friends

Barbara Young
Associate Music Director





Van Abrahams

Ralph Rackstraw 


Marion Adler







Douglas Chamberlain

Sir Joseph Porter 







David Dunbar 

The Captain 



Barbara Dunn-Prosser








Nora Polley




Brad Rudy
Dick Deadeye


Eileen Smith

Kelly Walker 2

Kelly Walker


Scott Wentworth

Baroque Again: Bach, Handel and More 

Saturday, December 10, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

St. James' Anglican Church, Stratford


Conductor              Daniel Warren

Organ                     Ian Sadler

Harpsichord            Marlin Nagtegaal

Flute                        Laurel Swinden


G.F. Handel              Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon HWV 67

F. Manfredini            Concerto Grosso op. 3 No. 12
                                            'Per il santissimo natale' (For the holy birth)

G.F. Handel               Organ concerto op. 7 No. 4 in d minor HWV  292        

G.F. Handel               Organ concerto op. 4 No. 4 in F major HWV 309

J.S. Bach                   Orchestral Suite No. 2 in b minor BWV   



Andrea Barstad: Violinist, teacher, Suzuki missionary

Playing for passers-by at the SSO table at the Stratford Farmers' Market a few weeks ago, Andrea Barstad spotted a little girl in her mother's arms, eyes wide in rapt attention at the music coming from Andrea's violin. Andrea rushed over, greeted the little girl and played music just for her, engaging her and her mother in conversation between passages.


"That is what I love most," said Andrea, referring to the process of introducing someone to the beauty of music. She has been a violin teacher for 30 years, 25 of those years in Stratford. She calls herself "one of the first Suzuki kids in North America." (At age 10, living in Athens, Ohio, she and another student played the Bach Double Violin Concerto for violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, to demonstrate the potential of the Suzuki Method.) The Suzuki Method is built on the belief that every child, if properly taught, is capable of a high level of musical achievement. Her current students range in age from three to 80-plus.


Laura Bates began lessons with Andrea when she was three, and her younger sister, Lisa, became Andrea's student as well. Laura went on to become the first violinist in Canada to earn a Bachelor's Degree of Applied Music in Jazz and Contemporary Studies. Both are now professional musicians. "[Andrea] was an amazing teacher," Lisa says. Laura calls Andrea "a great influence on me as a person." Andrew Chung, artistic director of INNERchamber, and Chris Stahlke, well-known Stratford violinist, were also Andrea's students.


In addition to playing first violin for the SSO (she has been a member of the orchestra since it began), Andrea is concert mistress for the Blyth Festival Orchestra. She plays often for events throughout Stratford. "I come and go in all the different churches," she says. Her repertoire is eclectic, including classical, pop, rock, improvisation and more. She also does studio work, laying down tracks for recordings.


One of her favourite memories is playing with the Salzburg Civic Orchestra, in a live broadcast, when she was a 19-year-old exchange student. She was practicing when a member of the orchestra walked past her window, heard her practicing and invited her to play with the orchestra.


She has four children: Tristam, 20; Erik, 17; Cecilia, 15; and Stefan, 12.

Andrea Barstad

Andrea Barstad, introducing a young Farmers' Market visitor to the violin

Roger Honeywell

Sold-out Celebrity Dinner guests treated
to arias from Tosca and Tourandot

The first Celebrity Dinner fundraiser for the SSO was a great success, reports SSO board member Jean Hewitt. Host Annemarie Murray prepared a seven-course gourmet meal for 16 guests using ingredients from her garden and a neighbourhood farm. Tenor Roger Honeywell donated his services, coming as our celebrity guest with his wife, Ann Baggley.

Roger has an impressive resume, including his debut at the Met in
2008.    Opera Now said that he is a performer "with the right kind of
heroic mettle to his voice." Guests at the dinner will no doubt concur
with this comment; they were treated to arias from Tosca and
Tourandot sung with enormous skill and passion.

The next Celebrity Dinner on January 28.

Contact Us

George Pearson / Editor, Con Spirito