CPO Quartet Brings “Pure Joy” to United’s Garrison Green

Residents at United’s Garrison Green were treated to a woodwind and string quartet performance, thanks to the community’s partnership with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. The four professional musicians brought humour and a versatile repertoire to the community.

“Playing at United gives us the opportunity to perform in a small, intimate venue,” said violinist Stephanie Soltice-Johnson, who has played with the CPO for 33 years. “We play some 100 concerts during our 40-week season so getting out into the community to perform in smaller venues allows us to keep our skills sharp when we’re not performing with the full orchestra.”

“Plus, playing in a small group really connects us with the audience,” added David Sussman, who plays the oboe. David is in his 38th year with the CPO. “Playing in an orchestral environment is much different than playing chamber music. Chamber performances give us the opportunity to play solo, and to play a wide variety of music for the residents.”

The CPO has been a cornerstone of the city’s arts community since 1955. From the classics to rock and roll and broadway favourites, the CPO entertains Calgarians with a range of music to satisfy every musical taste.

“That wide range of styles is a big reason why the CPO is a good fit as a United Active Living partner,” said Jill LaForty, United’s music director. “The beauty of the CPO is that they have programming that appeals to every musical taste, and our residents, who also have varying tastes have been able to benefit from that range.”

One of the biggest benefits of the partnership is the opportunity for residents to experience the music both at the Jack Singer Concert Hall and in the more intimate surroundings of the United communities. For this performance, Stephanie and David were joined by pianist Cheryl Emery and cellist Tom Megee.

“Our residents attend the dress rehearsals the CPO holds prior to their performances,” said Jill. “We’ve arranged for some of the conductors and performers to come to our communities to perform and to discuss the music and its history with the residents who are very interested and engaged in the discussions.”

CPO musician David Sussman with resident Mary Fenwick
CPO musician David Sussman with resident Mary Fenwick

“It was pure joy listening to them play. I just loved it!” said resident Mary Fenwick, who is taking piano lessons at 93, and who performed with the Calgary Youth Orchestra a few years ago.

“It was perfection, brilliant!” said resident Joan Clark. “We are so fortunate to have them come here to play for us.”

“Unbelievable! It was my kind of music. I loved every minute of it,” said resident Kay Shimbashi.

Later this month, the CPO’s brass quintet will perform at United’s Fish Creek, and CPO conductor Karl Hirzer will perform and speak with residents of United’s Garrison Green community.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.