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ProArts 20th Anniversary Special Concert

05 Oct Posted by in Schedule | Comments
ProArts 20th Anniversary Special Concert

ProArts 20th Anniversary Special Concert

The ProArts Society began in 2002 when frequent requests to use the Cathedral Church as a place for concerts and special events confirmed its attractiveness as a venue for artistic expression. Registered as an Alberta Historic Site in September 1974, the Cathedral is itself a work of art, with priceless stained glass windows, ornate woodwork, and resonant acoustics.

A committee was established to investigate the use of the Cathedral as a venue for the performing arts. The ProArts Society was officially incorporated in Alberta in July 2002, and the ProArts@Noon Concert Series was born!
The Series was fortunate in the early days to receive the support of local music instructors who used the ProArts@Noon Concert Series format to showcase the talents of their students. Organists were delighted to play the Cathedral’s restored 1905 Casavant Frères pipe organ. Classical guitar concerts were particularly well received, as were many classical music performances.

Indeed…we will be featuring both an organist (James Picken) and a guitarist (Brad Mahon) as part of our special 20th Anniversary Concert. The third artist appearing in this special concert is one who has been an artistic force as well as a tremendous supporter over the past two decades; mezzo- soprano Barbara King, co-founder of the Calgary Concert Opera Company.

Join us for what is sure to be a memorable noon hour concert – in celebration of our 20th Anniversary!

Jim Picken was born in Calgary, went away for study, and came back again. For the past nearly thirty years has been active in the classical music community as a teacher, accompanist, and church musician. In the ‘90s he was organist at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer and was part of the team that started the Music at Noon which eventually became Pro Arts. He is now on the Music Ministry Team at Knox Presbyterian Church.

Formative experiences as an organist include lessons with Dr. Robert H. Bell and a master’s degree with Dr. Neil Cockburn, an organ seminar visiting and playing some of the important organs of Paris, and several tours accompanying Evensong in English cathedrals with Christ Church Choir under the direction of Margaret Newman. He also learned a lot from the Knox Presbyterian organ enlargement project in the early 2000s, with Steve Miller and Hart Godden. 

He is very pleased to be invited to participate in this anniversary concert. I wish the Pro Arts Society many more years of delighting audiences with music of all genres. Thank you to Damon Johnston, Ruth Parent and their dedicated team for inspirational leadership. These concerts are a treasure.  

“My program includes the cheerful Bach ‘In thee is Joy’, followed by my own 2004 composition, ‘Moving On’. I will end with French composer Henri Mulet’s jubilant toccata, the Carillon-Sortie. It has always been one of my favourites!” J.P.

Brad Mahon is President and CEO of Great Plains College, Saskatchewan. When not in committee meetings or studying spreadsheets, he regularly sneaks off campus to moonlight as a guitarist, adjudicator, clinician, and lecturer.

Brad has released three commercial CDs, has appeared as a guest on several other recordings, and continues to perform live. He has been described as “an outstanding classical guitarist” (20th Century Guitar, New York) and “a very accomplished performer” (CBC Radio, Canada), while his concert performances have been reviewed as “a delightful musical night and great spectacle for the audience” (Baiao Noticia, Portugal). Brad also maintains his long-standing affiliation with the Royal Conservatory of Music as a senior member of its College of Examiners.

His formal education is highlighted by a PhD (musicology) from the University of Calgary and an MBA (executive management) from Royal Roads University.

Barbara King is no stranger to the stage and is also the co-founder Calgary Concert Opera Company (CCOC) with her husband and Divas Opera with soprano Kathleen Morrison. 

Barbara began 2022 making her debut as a guest soloist in two concerts with Straight Up Opera and recently performed in a series of concerts including The King Eddy Classical, Summer on 17th Ave, and Bella Italia with Divas Opera. In 2021, Ms. King was invited to sing in two Music in the Air concerts with the Alberta Symphony Orchestra, and organized and performed in the Opening Act for Derek Demiere’s production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Divas Opera and CCOC returned to the stage where Ms. King helped produce and perform in Encore! Divas Opera Live!, Favourite Opera Arias & Duets, CCOC’s 10 Year Anniversary Concert and ended the year performing in ‘A Divas Opera Christmas’ presented by Rise Up Weekends!. 

Upcoming performance and collaboration includes singing the role of Sara, Duchess of Nottingham in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with CCOC in Calgary and Opera by Request in Toronto and as a guest soloist in ‘A Divas Christmas’ with Calgary Civic Symphony.