Midday music makes a cure for lunchbag letdown blues

Students in York U's jazz program
Students in York U’s jazz program

For students of music, it’s a chance to get outside of the classroom to gain valuable practice and combat potential stage fright in front of a live audience. For music faculty, it’s an opportunity to step away from the lectern and into the student lounge, providing an engaging experiential and performative educational experience as part of their classes.

York University Jazz Choir Students Francesco Mazza and Liam Lachmansingh
York University Jazz Choir Students Francesco Mazza and Liam Lachmansingh

For members of the public and the York University community, however, the Music@Midday performance series is a fun way to tune out the lunchtime blues and turn up the excitement once a week while exposing themselves to the diverse range of music and musicians at Keele Campus.

The School of the Arts, Media, Performance &  Design (AMPD) has been hosting weekly live musical performances to showcase their faculty and students for more than a decade. Originally a Thursday staple at Winters College when that building housed the music department, the weekly event has taken on a new life in new spaces like the Martin Family Lounge and the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, while still keeping in tune with its roots as a free, open and accessible event.

Judy Karacs, the events coordinator for AMPD who helped put together this year’s series, touts the accessibility of Music@Midday performances compared to other arts and cultural events on campus. The events are all free and take place during the lunch hour, music to the ears of commuters and students on a budget. The majority of the performances are held in open student spaces, making them welcoming to new people and exposing the events to new audiences. “You could access them just by walking through the building,” says Karacs.

Patricia Wait, Mark Chambers, Elizabeth Acker: 'The Accolade Trio'
Patricia Wait, Mark Chambers, Elizabeth Acker: ‘The Accolade Trio’

The hope for these events is to give a spotlight to the range of musical genres taught at York University. “Someone could be opened up to a whole new world they didn’t know existed,” Karacs explained. Upcoming concerts in this season’s series will include performances of world music, jazz, classical instrumental music, choirs and vocalists, R&B, chamber music, classical guitar and new music.

Not to be missed are student showcases on Feb. 6 and Mar. 5, and a special faculty jazz performance featuring Jazz-Artist-in-Residence Dave Douglas on Feb. 27. Most concerts begin at 12:30 p.m.

A complete calendar of Music@Midday concerts, as well as other AMPD events and performances, can be found on the school’s website.