Musically, it doesn’t get much better in London: Award-winning musicians performing in celebration of award-winning musicians.
The 19th annual Forest City London Music Awards kicked off Sunday with the classical, jazz and world music awards gala, with seven awards going to various artists. The remaining genres and other awards will be handed out during a virtual gala on Saturday at 9 p.m. on the FCLMA Facebook page.
“It’s great to see London Symphonia on that list of winners,” said Mario Circelli, the awards co-founder and chair. “They’re rising like the phoenix.” The ensemble evolved out of the financial collapse of Orchestra London in 2014.
“I think what this year’s winners really showcase is that Western University’s Don Wright faculty of music just keeps pumping out real world-class musicians and entertainers,” Circelli said.
Sunday’s virtual show was hosted by the Mark Swan Quartet, consisting of Swan, Marque Smith, Tony DeLuca and Anthony Borek, with Swan and Smith sharing the hosting duties.
Performers during the celebration included Magisterra Soloists, Rant Maggie Rant, King’s University College Chamber Choir, jazz vocalist Rachelle Courtney, Nevin Campbell, Erich Knapp, Camila Montefusco, Matthew Bermudez and Michael Vanhevel.
There was also a special performance by the Middlesex-London Health Unit #Allstars, led by medical officer of health Chris Mackie, singing Blue Rodeo’s Hasn’t Hit Me Yet.
The winners include:
- Classical Instrumental (group): London Symphonia
- Classical Instrumental (solo): Marque Smith, piano
- Classical Vocal (choir/group): King’s University College Chamber Choir
- Classical Vocal (solo): Stephanie O’Leary
- Jazz Instrumental (solo/group): Steven Holowitz
- Jazz Vocal (solo/group): Jennifer Thorpe
- World Music: Rant Maggie Rant
Circelli said he’s also been impressed with how the city’s religious communities, such as First-St. Andrew’s United Church and Metropolitan United Church, are supporting the arts.
“Our religious congregations have helped put together some amazing choirs and given many of our musicians and singers amazing opportunities for classical musicians and choirs in our city,” he said.
Circelli noted several musicians, but especially pianist Smith, who won the solo category for classical instrumental, also volunteer their talents for fundraisers and events across the city.
“Marque Smith is a London treasure and I’m happy for him because he does so much work in the city as a volunteer and he’s also a phenomenal piano player.”
“Overall, I’d say the awards were a great display of local talents and Mark Swan and Marque Smith did a wonderful job co-hosting.”
What: Forest City London Music Week, featuring award ceremonies, performances and the SoundCheck for Success professional development workshops, discussions and speakers
When: Continuing until Saturday.
Where: All events can be viewed on the Forest City London Music Awards’ Facebook page. Register for SoundCheck for Success and find more information about events, guests and speakers at fclma.ca.