Classical music used to be treated like today’s rock and roll.
When classical musicians performed, there was cheering, booing, drinking and tossing vegetables.
According to Flutist Haley Marie, a classical concert wasn’t intended to be viewed with silence, and she plans to bring back elements of the 1700s.
“I always wanted to do something different with (classical). After shows and before shows, I would slip in a few tidbits and it would completely change the way people saw the music, like they knew Mozart,” she said.
This will be Marie’s second time in Salmon Arm and her first time performing her multimedia concert, O Holy Night: Five Centuries of Christmas Music at Marionette Winery, Dec. 16 and 17.
The concert combines music and video, telling stories of the musicians behind the pieces.
Marie, 32, carried the idea of multimedia performances with her throughout high school and university.
She had a history-music teacher who told interesting bits of information about the lives of classical musicians to Marie.
“I thought ‘wow, this music comes from really interesting places, why the heck doesn’t anyone talk about this?’”
Marie discovered the rock star lifestyle didn’t start with rock musicians.
“The rock star lifestyle of say Elvis and The Beatles, this was nothing new,” she said, adding classical musicians had lives filled with drugs, parties and depression.
Marie used the information and began to develop a message for her concerts.
“I want to give people a message that this is not that serious. (People) in the 1700s did not listen to classical music in silence, it was anything you can imagine; like a rock concert.”
Her desire is for people to enjoy the music, and have fun.
She said the winery is a fitting space to create the “casual” atmosphere.
“Instead of people trying to read program notes in the dark, there will be segments before each piece. By the time you actually hear the carol you know a little bit about each writer and where the carol came from. It kind of brings the whole thing to life,” she said.
The carols are performed by Marie with prerecorded accompaniments.
Aside from her multimedia concerts, she teaches at the University of Winnipeg, and is artistic director for her company, Aurelia Productions.
Her beginnings started with rock and pop music, playing hits on the keyboard, before picking up flute.
She remembers playing her first flute solo in Grade 7 and didn’t tie her hair back. She had a mouth full of hair and has had her hair tied for performances ever since.
Among her accomplishments are degrees from the School of Music at Yale University, McGill University, a Governor General’s award and three performances at Carnegie Hall, one of which was a solo performance with her partner.
Her travelling experiences to Europe, New York and Los Angeles allowed her to expand her knowledge, she said, and listed Yale professor, Ranson Wilson as one of her motivators.
He gave her a new perspective and she wasn’t afraid to tackle big projects that he gave her.
“I was at a point in my life that I was eager to take on large tasks,” she said.
Marie would practice for five hours a day in a “stingy” room.
As a musician, Marie’s path has had ups and downs.
“You put hours into something and no one’s there to watch,” she said.
There’s also the artist’s tendency to be hard on themselves.
“As an artist, you’ve never finished improving,” she said.
In January, she’s prepping for another tour, which will take her from Toronto to B.C.
For tickets to the performance call 250.832.7702 or visit www.ticketweb.ca.