Category Archives: Music Beat

Interview for international clarinet day

Last week, friend and fellow educator Stephen Hurley reached out to me so do a spontaneous chat on VoicEd radio to celebrate International Clarinet Day (Nov. 16). I readily accepted. Music is a strong connection that Stephen and I share so this was a great opportunity to connect around this passion.

Here is our November 16th 7:00 a.m. interview.


iPhone live streaming

This past weekend my daughter was carolling as part of the festive activities. The final stop was to do a neighbourhood performance using someone’s porch as the stage. I couldn’t help but think this would be a great chance to trying streaming their performance with my iPhone to a wider audience.

Decision time: Qik or Ustream?  After a bit of testing, I decided on Qik – just seemed a little easier to use, and no annoying pop up ads in the video window.

I was sure I would not hold the phone still enough, so needed to come up with a stabilizer of some sort. I removed the snap cover from my iPod case and twist tied it to a camera tripod…. and presto, a streaming pouch for the iPhone.

iPhone streaming in action.

I choose to optimize the audio since I was recording music and minimize the bandwidth required. the audio quality turned out quite well. The video is a bit grainy, but this lighting was not the best and may have contributed to the lower video quality.

Check out Amber’s Angels recording. Enjoy!

Note: This streaming activity could just as easily been an event in a classroom. Just think of the possibilities.

~ Mark

On the Beat: Mill Race Festival

I spent a fair bit of time this weekend at the Mill Race Festival. The festival features traditional folk music performances, dance groups, children’s performers and arts & craft vendors. For me, this is one of those treasured events that is a stone’s throw from your home that you don’t get around to attending often enough. I am glad I made it this year. Hats off to the organizing committee for producing such an excellent and enjoyable 3 day festival. I was really impressed with the selection of performers and number of venues available people to take in. Well done – take a centre stage bow! 

I wanted to highlight two performances that really impressed me.

The Outside Track

This festival was my first opportunity to hear The Outside Track. They are 5 member multinational ensemble with members from Scotland, Ireland and Canada. The Outside Track plays leading edge modern traditional music. The ensemble was formed when they were all students at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. 


Norah Rendell (vocals, flute)
Ailie Robertson (harp)
Fiona Black (accordion, fiddle)
Mairi Rankin (fiddle)
Gillian O’Dalaigh (guitar, flute whistles)

The Outside Track has a unique fresh sound. I was really captivated by the energetic performance, the variety of selections and superb musical excellence! I was fortunate to hear their exciting performance a second time at the festival. The Outside Track is a fantastic ensemble with an exciting future ahead. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear them whenever they are in your area. The next concert is in Goderich ON at the Celtic Festival.

Additional information about group, tours, CDs etc. is available at their website.


David Sinclair & Fernando Barros

David Sinclair is a Flamenco guitarist born in Toronto. He now resides in Granada, Spain. David has dedicated more than 10 of his 30 years of guitar playing to Flamenco music. I have had the distinct pleasure of hearing David performance at private house concerts. It is truly an amazing experience to hear a performer in such a quaint setting. 

This year, David appeared with Fernando Barros, a self taught Flamenco singer. Fernando is comfortable with all Flamenco styles and interprets them with depth and authenticity. Right from the first note performed, it was clear we were in for a real musical treat. David and Fernando really bring the music from the Flamenco culture alive – you literally felt like you were in Spain.  It is obvious the two enjoy performing together when you hear and see their interaction of voice and guitar as they weave their way through the complex musical structures.  I was intrigued with the range of colour expressed in their performances: subtle nuances in the music to intense Spanish dance rhythms.  I look forward to the next opportunity to hear them perform.

Additional information is available at David’s website.

~ Mark