Thursday's Child: Amherst Island, Ontario

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some of our travels take us closer to home than others. Last weekend we visited Amherst Island, a couple of hours east of Toronto, to visit a close friend and to enjoy one of the concerts in the annual Waterside Summer Series.
Andrew’s former piano teacher, Bev Harris, has been director of the summer series for ten years, but this was the first time we were able to go. We stayed in a bed and breakfast on the mainland, then took the ferry across to meet Bev (along with her cousin and husband, and two stepsons) for an early dinner at Stella’s CafĂ©, just around the corner from the ferry landing. We enjoyed meeting her family over a casual meal that ended with a slice of delicious homemade peach and cherry pie.


After eating, we drove to St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, a lovely church that’s home to the music festival. The building was erected in 1883 by the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from Northern Ireland who had immigrated to the island. That winter, they carried the limestone from the mainland over the ice of Lake Ontario, in horse-drawn sleighs. The church has been enlarged and renovated since then, and stained glass windows added, but the exterior dates back 131 years.

The church was completely full for the 7:15 show, which featured cellist Denise Djokic, her brother Marc on violin, and pianist David Jalbert. The performance was stellar, one of the best evenings of classical music I’ve ever attended. I loved the Sibelius pieces for violin and piano, and the Debussy sonata, but my favourite was the delightful “Spring” by Astor Piazzola. (How could I not have heard this wonderful piece of music before?)

After the show, we were invited as Bev’s guests to an after-party, where we met her neighbours on the island, as well as the performers. I was charmed by the friendly, down-to-earth musicians, especially Denise, who I spoke with at length. And I can see why Bev has so many performers that want to return year after year. The festival provides a rare chance to perform for a small, appreciative crowd, and then mingle with the audience after the show.

Bev and her group have done a terrific job putting together the music festival. I’m already looking forward to going back next year!



12 comments:

Barbara said...

What a lovely treat, Beth! The church is charming and I wish I could have been there for the concert!

Angie Schneider said...

Friends, music and a delicious meal..life couldn't be better. The church looks wonderful.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a fun trip. Sometimes the trips close to home can be just as fun.

Guru Uru said...

A beautiful trip, I would be smiling the whole day :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

This looks like a wonderful weekend getaway from the city. St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church looks absolutely beautiful. What a great setting for a music festival.

Juliana Levine said...

Lovely Church Beth...and the concert sounds wonderful!
Enjoy your weekend :D

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

That part of the country looks so pretty, sounds like the people are lovely as well

kirstenlopresti said...

Lovely pictures. It sounds like a wonderful concert and trip.

Valerie Gamine said...

Ah, what better way to spend a summer holiday evening than listing to the rich melodies of a cello + violin! Also, I'm now craving a slice of peach and/or cherry pie. :D

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

This sounds like such a lovely excursion! From the dinner to the music to the socializing, it sounds like it was an absolutely perfect time. =)

I Wilkerson said...

What a great event! I think the lower key excursions can be just as much fun as the big trips!

Julie said...

Beautiful photos and sounds like a wonderful event!!!

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