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Benefit concert for Big Hill Haven on April 20

Doors open at 7 pm on April 20th at Found Books, 208 1 St. E. The show starts at 7:30. 
Martin Russell will bring an ensemble of classical musicians to Found Books April 20.

Martin Russell, a musical director and performer familiar to many Cochranites for his Christmas concerts at St. Andrew’s United Church, is bringing together an eclectic group to perform a fundraising concert in aid of Big Hill Haven.

Russell is a classical and Spanish guitarist and teacher who has called Cochrane home for close to 30 years. He has been playing the guitar since 1974 and has taught hundreds of local guitar enthusiasts over his career.

He promises the audience will be moved by what the ensemble is preparing for the April 20 concert.

The evening will feature an enchanting fusion of flute and guitar, evoking the soulful melodies of South America.

The promotional material for the concert describes the performance: “The flute dances gracefully, weaving intricate melodies, while the guitar adds depth and rhythm, transporting the audience to distant lands with each note.

“As the performance progresses, the atmosphere shifts to embrace the spirited energy of flamenco music. The strumming of the guitar becomes more rhythmic and intense, while the flute responds with fiery improvisations, echoing the passionate soul of flamenco.”

Weaving in and out of all this, Russell said, is a classical piece that many people find familiar – if they watched Bugs Bunny as kids.

Amidst this fusion of styles, the timeless elegance of Rossini's "Barber of Seville" emerges.

(This is the one where Bugs poses as a barber, giving Elmer Fudd ‘the business.’)

“It's just delightful,” Russell told The Eagle, “because if people know the Bugs Bunny cartoon, whenever Hannah and I play it, they go, oh, that's the Bugs Bunny cartoon one!”

The release for the event adds: “The familiar melodies of the opera intertwine with the exotic sounds of South America, creating a captivating blend of classical grandeur and Latin flair. The flute and guitar breathe new life into Rossini's compositions, infusing them with a fresh vitality and energy.

“Throughout the concert, the synergy between the flute and guitar captivates the audience, drawing them into a mesmerizing musical journey that transcends cultural boundaries. With each performance, they seamlessly blend classical sophistication with the vibrant rhythms of South America, creating an unforgettable experience that celebrates the rich tapestry of musical traditions.”

Russell will be joined on stage by three of his star students.

Ryan Kehoe has been playing guitar for roughly 18 years. When he began his musical journey, Kehoe was drawn to rock songs by artists such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. For many years he was content with this and would seldom explore other genres. That was until he started taking lessons from Russell, who introduced him to other types of music, such as flamenco and classical, the latter of which is currently his favourite.

After being involved in Kindermusik from ages 4 to 6, Hannah Isinghood was given a choice between the saxophone, trumpet, piano, and guitar. She has been taking guitar lessons with Russell for 17 years, and after picking up flute, piccolo, and saxophone in grade school, chose to go on and complete a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education combined degree, majoring on guitar.

Griffin Stotschek has been playing guitar for the last 10 years. Throughout this journey, he has been taking lessons from Russell, which exposed him to a variety of music along the way. He enjoys exploring music across different genres and likes to explore the versatility of both the classical and electric guitar.

Russell said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to share a stage with the talented group.

“To have these students, it’s such a thrill to perform concert standard repertoire with them,” he said.

Whenever he has the chance to give something back to his adopted home town, Russell said he jumps at it.

“I live the dream. Music is my whole world. So to be able to give back with these little concerts, it's just such a joy.”

Doors open at 7 pm on April 20th at Found Books, 208 1 St. E. The show starts at 7:30. 

Tickets available at Proceeds will be donated to Cochrane's Big Hill Haven Women’s Emergency Shelter.

On show day ticket holders will receive 10 per cent off at the Fence and Post restaurant next door. (Reservations are recommended).


Howard May

About the Author: Howard May

Howard was a journalist with the Calgary Herald and with the Abbotsford Times in BC, where he won a BC/Yukon Community Newspaper Association award for best outdoor writing.
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