A 69-year-old music lover had the chance to step onto the conductor’s podium and lead an orchestra for the first time in 37 years last week.
Yet when Ged Dodsworth faced the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra, raised his baton, and flicked his wrist, it was as if it were yesterday that he last directed a group of musicians.
Dodsworth was the winner of the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra’s ‘guest conductor’ contest. He will be leading the CMO as they play O Canada, kicking off their season finale concert on May 28 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
Dodsworth says he’s “glad and humbled” that the CMO chose him.
The orchestra wanted to do something to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and they thought choosing a guest conductor for O Canada would be perfect.
“We liked Ged because he has a personal history of Vancouver music from a youth, was a founder of the North Shore Community Band, and mostly because he closes the circle with his performing at Expo ’67 for the Canadian Centennial,” says CMO member Anne Fleming.
When Dodsworth found out they picked him, he dusted of his old, worn baton that had seen thousands of hours of music.
It was “nostalgic” and “emotional” he says. “It’s like riding a bike, it comes right back. I felt totally comfortable. I felt connected to these folks right away.”
Dodsworth has a vast and impressive background in music including teaching grade school music, being with the North Shore Community Band from 1970-79, and bringing a group of 50 high school music students to Expo ‘67 to perform. He’s won awards, been involved in numerous bands, and performed countless times as a musician. He has also played for dignitaries including Pierre Trudeau during his visit to North Vancouver Community Arts Council, Queen Elizabeth during a visit to Canada, and the Lieutenant Governor.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do just about everything at all levels,” he says.
Dodsworth is very passionate about music and he wants people to share that love.
“My mom always said not to impress people, but to make music, to work with people, and to make a connection. If you do that, that comes through in the music when you’re conducting or playing. That’s what I was always taught,” he says. “Sports are for the body, books are for the mind, and music’s for the soul.”
What he loves about conducting is “the ability to be able to interpret music so it’s not notes, but music… to the point where it can move people.”
“It’s a real blessing to be allowed to have the gift to bring joy, or bring a tear, or bring an emotion to people — that’s what music is all about,” he says.
And on May 28, Dodsworth will help bring that joy of music to the people of Chilliwack with the CMO as they present their season finale spring concert, Night in Vienna.
This year’s spring concert will focus on uplifting dances and marches from a bygone era with a Viennese flavour.
There will be many beloved Strauss waltzes, and the traditional closing march from the Vienna New’s Years Day Gala, but there will also be a number of other composers including Tchaikovsky’s wonderful waltz from the Opera Eugene Onegin, Brahm’s Hungarian Dances No. 5 and 6 and the challenging Hungarian March by Berlioz.
The concert will also include visual treats as a background to the music. Elmar Goldsmith, president of the Cascadia Wind Ensemble, has arranged beautiful images to go with the music.
The Chilliwack Metropolian Orchestra’s season finale concert, Night in Vienna, is Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m. at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Tickets $15/students, $25/adults and available at the Centre Box Office, online at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW (7469).