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Concert a dream come true for Winnipeg flutist

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A Winnipeg woman’s dream of producing and performing in a jazz-infused classical concert is coming true.


Julie Husband, a professional flutist and woodwind instruments specialist, asked her friend and renowned Manitoba composer Victor Davies to compose a piece of music that mixed woodwind instruments with jazz music.


"We commissioned him to do this 10 years ago. We’ve been practicing for three or four years, but different aspects of our lives kept getting in the way. Last December I dreamed about this concert for a month straight, and I said ‘We just have to do it.’," said Husband, a St. Vital resident.


In addition to her performing career, Husband teaches woodwind techniques to students at the University of Manitoba and in the Winnipeg School Division. The instructor said she wanted her students to have a piece that incorporated more flute with jazz.


What Davies finally came up with for Husband is Excursions, an 18-minute work made up of six individual pieces representing legendary small-town Manitoba icons;  The Happy Rock of Gladstone, The Snake of Inwood, Sarah The Glenboro Camel, The Mosquito of Komarno, The Creature in The Lagoon At Grand Beach, and The Lundar Goose flies over the Blarney Stone of Killarney.


"The instruments (used in the piece) exemplify the characteristics of the statues," Davies said.
"The Mosquito of Komarno (is) a piccolo piece. It’s the Manitoban Flight of the Bumblebee if you can imagine."


Husband said she has fun with the different pieces, but hopes she can make it through the performance of one particular piece.


"I’m using a saxophone mouthpiece to imitate the sound of the Lundar Goose, and every time we do the piece and I’m wailing away like a goose, (everyone breaks) into laughter," she said.


Davies said the combination of jazz and classical music hasn’t always been successfully merged, but he thinks the program Husband has put together gets it right.


"Anytime there are new expressive things that are joined together, new energies come from that," he said.


Davies will in attendance on Sun., Nov. 25 for the world premiere of his piece, and said he’s proud of Husband.


"This concert brings together all these kinds of talents she has into one spot. It’s like going to an art gallery and looking around saying  ‘Wow, I can’t believe one person can do all of this’," he said.


Husband said she’s excited to showcase herself as a performer, and that she’s excited to premiere 10 years of work to her audience.


"It’s sort of an excursion of my life," she said.


The concert will take place Sun., Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Canadian Mennonite University North Campus (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.) in the Laudamus Auditorium. Tickets are $15 in advance at McNally Robinson Booksellers and $17 at the door.

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