Category Archives: GHFC: The Dinner 2004

What's in an audience? Alison Krauss bluegrass VS Vancouver Symphony at Deer Lake Park

I went to two different concerts this week:  Alison Krauses and Union
Station at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver on Tuesday Aug 9th, and
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Deer Lake Park on Friday August 12th.

Alison Krauss specializes in bluegrass music – pure accoustic
mountain-inspired old-fashioned country music.  She has the voice of an
angel, and is one of my favorite singers.  Dan Tyminski, plays guitar
and sings vocals for the band as well, and is more well known for being
the singing voice of George Clooney in the movie “O Brother Where Art
Thou” for the song “I'm A Man of Constant Sorrow.”

The audience was very caucasian… and middle-aged.  Sort of reminded
me of the CBC radio concert for “Madly Off in All Directions.”  It was
a great concert with wonderful music and performances.  On the way to
the concert, I joked to my girlfriend (who is caucasian) that I would
probably be the only Chinese person at the concert.

“Omigod!” she exclaimed.  “You're Chinese!  You didn't tell me that!” 
she joked.  We've only been going out just over two years…

But I did see an Asian person… a technician for the show… then 2
others in the audience as we were walking out.  So, I felt a
secret kindred spirit with these strangers of Asiatic features,
enjoying an exotic cultural musical delicacy.

Compare this to the audience for the Vancouver Symphony at Deer Lake
Park in Burnaby- a Vancouver area tradition.  I would venture that
half to one-quarter of the audience was Asian.  And one-tenth of
symphony was Asian, including the guest soloist, a 16 year-old Korean
born clarinetist.  In our social picnic group of 13, over half
were Asian…  well one dragon boater was Eurasian… so she
counts in both camps.

What is it about symphony and country music that creates cultural
divides?  while attending the Alison Krauss concert, I felt that I
being very culturally proactive, like a fly on the wall, witnessing
the  cultural traditions of a different very white culture. And
yet the Symphony program was all based on dead white composers such as
Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius – many of whom in my accordion concert
repetoire!  Very interesting…

Hmmm… Bruce Springsteen concert tonight…
one of the first racially integrated bands in the early 1970's.
I can play “Dancing in the Dark” on my guitar, and “Fire” on the piano!

Wow! Oh Whatta Night! Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2004 Dinner Review

Every year… after Gung Haggis Fat Choy… we amaze ourselves at what just happened.  There is always such an atmosphere of wonderment, spontaniety and cross-cultural appreciation.

This year the bar was raised higher.  The production was more ambitious.  Professional musicians such as Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault of Silk Road Music, violinist Mark Ferris – concertmaster of Vancouver Opera and Sinfonia, Joe McDonald & Brave Waves – really pushed us to a whole new level.  And the Scottish dancing… Champion highland dancers this year – teen-aged brothers, Vincent and Cameron Collins – Double Wow!

Co-hosts Margaret Gallagher and Adrienne Wong bring such a sparkle to the stage, as well as their Chinese-Irish and Chinese-French-Canadian good looks and talents!  Poetry readers Neil Gray and Ian MacLeod share their Burns favorites.

The real hero of the evening was Noah Drew – working with a mixing board that was not working properly, so the sound system was not as even as we had planned it.  It is so challenging working our program that is trying to dove-tail with the delivery of the dinner courses, and has to jump around…  Deb Martin also did a great job as front of house manager – ensuring that ticket buyers had their tickets and their proper seats…

First Reaction to Saturday's Dinner

I will write more later about the food on VanEats and more later about the dinner in general on this blog, but here are some first, brief impressions:

The food was even better this year. Haggis Wun-Tun, and haggis spring rolls were new and excellent additions (even better than on our haggis test drive)! And I loved the crab and chicken.

As always I was blown away by Brave Waves! Their new tabla player blew Barb and I away. We liked their music so much we bought another one of their CDs. At $10, it's a bargain! One of the few CDs we will buy in 2004 since I no longer buy music from record stores because I don't want to support the music business. I only buy direct from artists at concerts or events like this where you know the artist not getting ripped off by a middle man.

Here are some of my GungHaggisFatyChoy2004 Sat24Jan2004 photos.

This year's program:

Deb, Todd's girlfriend, and grace under pressure:

Highland dancing from Cameron and Vincent Collins: