Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Westben Arts Festival Theatre - Donna Bennett - soprano, pianist/composer

Donna Bennett & Brian Finley
Westben Arts Festival Theatre

For this edition of THE INSIDE SCOOP, I bring to you Scoop from the Westben Arts Festival Theatre. Here I have the privilege of interviewing Donna Bennett Marketing Director, soprano, pianist/composer. “Bringing culture and nature together in perfect harmony, the magnificent 400–seat timber-frame barn opens onto a lush meadow, surrounded by the gently rolling hills of Northumberland County. The stage hosts an incredible array of renowned Canadian and international artists, from full symphony orchestras & choruses to chamber music and soloists. The best in class in a relaxed country setting!”

I begin with asking Ms. Bennett …. “It was noted that you were enjoying your international career as a soprano, when in 1990 you returned to your hometown, Campbellford. We were interested to learn about your background what led you to this career?” Donna replied … “I grew up in Campbellford and came from a musical family. Have a Bachelor of Music in voice from U of T (where I met Brian) and a Masters of Music in voice performance from Munich. Studied at opera schools in London, England, Banff and Victoria. Sang professionally in England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, US and Canada – see bio.”
As mentioned above, in 1990, soprano Donna Bennett and pianist /composer Brian Finley were enjoying the early stages of international careers. Having lived and worked for several years in Europe, they returned to Donna’s hometown of Campbellford, Ontario to start a family. Inspired by the talented and energetic community, the couple shared their love of music making by performing and hosting events at local venues. They also began teaching advanced level music students and leading the music program at St. John’s United Church in Campbellford. I asked Donna if she still taught advanced level music students and was she still leading the music program at St. John’s United Church in Campbellford? Donna tells us … “I teach privately and at Trinity College School in Port Hope - no longer at St John’s. I lead the Westben Youth and Teen Chorus (40 children)”.

I was wondering if Donna got to enjoy watching the performances. She said … “My first opera was when I was 15 and my mom took me to Toronto to see Die Walkure by Wagner by the Canadian Opera Company. I later sang professionally in the chorus and then leading roles. I see all the performances at Westben and it gives me great joy.” In fairness to all, Donna tells us that she enjoys “the variety of performers that come to Westben”. If you ever get to attend Westben, you can enjoy its’ magical blend of world class music, wonderful people and a magnificent setting.
(To Be Continued)

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