Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manitoba/Ontario Tour - Winnipeg MB

Winnipeg was a late addition to the tour, but proved to be a memorable occasion, thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm and organizational abilities of local teacher Terri Myers. Terri and her 2 sons recently became local celebrities, having shed something in the order of 180 lbs between them in three months, as part of a local radio promotion called (ain’t it sweet!) Winnipeg’s Biggest Loser ( Here is a picture of the extremely svelte Winnipeg organizer (that’s her on the right!):
The students in Winnipeg were well prepared and very enthusiastic and we all had a great time, particularly with the improvisation sessions. Here’s a picture of one of the Improv groups playing:The first day saw both Improv sessions and master classes and ended with a lovely wine-and-cheese party at the beautiful home of our hosts Art and Leona Defehr ( Given that there were a large number of musicians present, of course there was music making (and improvisation!) on the spur of the moment – as can be seen in this picture of the organizer, Terri Myers, together with our host Art Defehr and composer Zane Zalis (, with me playing a little night music.
Here I am playing a breakfast duet with our gracious hostess Leona Defehr (my eyes closed in a combination of bliss and jet-lag):
The second day again offered Improv sessions and master classes. On the whole, there were lots of really outstanding performances in Winnipeg, and the lunchtime Gala Concert had a palpable air of excitement about it, partly because I had to get to the airport for a 3.30 pm flight! Here are the improvisers on stage during the Gala Concert:
And a student performer in action – many students came to the piano smiling and got up from their performance still smiling. Wonderful!
Comments from Winnipeg:

From Ryan (Level 3 student): “I found it very fun by being up on stage for the Improv class because I like the way that Christopher Norton taught me. In the Master class I learned not to tilt my hand but keep it straight. I really enjoyed the whole workshop. It was a lot of fun!”

From Nancy (parent of a participating student): “The Christopher Norton workshops were a wonderful experience for both myself and Gordon...he was a little nervous at first but as soon as he got started with Mr. Norton he fit right in and had a great learning experience. It is so nice that this opportunity was made available to my will be two great days that he will always remember. He still is playing songs from the repertoire book and listening to the CD.”

From Suzanne (Teacher): “I was a little apprehensive signing up a student for the workshop as I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t disappointed. Christopher Norton has certainly inspired the imagination of many students. I went away from the workshop filled with new ideas and a much better understanding of improvisation. He has found the key in keeping piano students motivated while keeping the fun in playing. The gala concert was wonderful and showcased so much talent. The students are inspired and feel so accomplished!”

From Terri, the local organizer: “In summary, the tour to Winnipeg was phenomenal! THANK YOU SO MUCH!”

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