Month: December 2014

Season’s Greetings from Alex


Dear Friends of Esprit,

I would like to extend my heartfelt Season’s Greetings, along with the wish that you will experience a joyful time with family and friends over the holidays. Hopefully you’ll be able to take time to step back from the hurried pace of life and reflect on your blessings and graces, hopes and desires, and relationships, so that you can begin the New Year refreshed and in good spirits.

It has meant so much to have your support for the concerts we’ve presented so far this season. In retrospect, our concerts have been greatly successful in offering the best new Canadian music, alongside fabulous pieces from abroad, and your patronage has been essential to our achievements. We are exceedingly grateful to you for this and we’ll continue doing everything possible to musically excite and feed your imaginations.

I look forward to seeing you again in the New Year, when we’ll again present enlightening concerts to engage and satisfy you intellectually and emotionally.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Alex Pauk, C.M.
Founding Music Director and Conductor

O Christmas Tree!

IMG_1865We wrestled our 9’ Christmas tree into a standing position in the infamous tree stand.

Next, the frustrating exercise of trying to straighten the tree. We inched it this way and that, stopping to check if it was perpendicular, repeating the same moves many times until it was finally straight. We spent the next 3 hours stringing the lights. Then we got down to the ornaments.IMG_1878

We’ve collected our whimsical and beautiful ornaments over many years. When we set up our very first tree, Alex and I decided that our “theme” would revolve around one of our many passions — food! Our sensuous dark purple aubergine takes pride of place on our tree.

IMG_1882Each Christmas when we lovingly unearth it from our large collection, we think about our friends John and Gillian who gave it to us several Christmases ago. Our glass food ornaments include green peppers, orange slices, strawberries, a kiwi, grape clusters that are hung near their companion wine bottle and corkscrew, a pineapple, golden walnuts, various pickles, several fragile garlic bulbs etc.

Among the fruit and vegetables, you can catch sight of other glass ornaments that include a Hawaiian shirt, a surfboard, two beautifully detailed Mounties, accordions, an igloo…There are also articulated enamelled goldfish, a couple of shiny metal zeppelins, folkloric wooden armadillos with bobbing heads, two felt ulus (special knives used by the Inuit to slice seals, large fish and whales).

IMG_1885When I spied these red ulus with their very neat green hand stitching on my first trip to Canada’s vast and incredibly beautiful North West Territories, even though it was August I knew I had to purchase them for our tree. Each year we take great delight in our eclectic collection and juggle them around the tree so that we find the perfect spot for each one.

We usually finish around midnight, then we all sit admiring our glowing tree with all its trimmings while listening to the recording of Charlie Brown’s Christmas by Vince Guaraldi. Each year at this time, we all marvel at how he created such a perfect score for the charming, ubiquitous Christmas television special.

IMG_1879At this special time of year, Alex and I are sending you our best wishes for a festive holiday season filled with the happiness of your own personal traditions — a time for family, good food, good friends, and the excitement of new beginnings in the coming year.

Pass the shortbread!

– Alexina Louie