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The Golden Violin - Calvin Dyck and Betty Suderman - A Review

For a more extensive article about this amazing musician visit Calvin Dyck's interview on this website.


A review by Rosemary Phillips, January 2004
Originally published in the Grand Forks Gazette

Calvin Dyck
Calvin Dyck
and his Yellow Canary hat
Five minutes before show time folks were still streaming into the GFSS Auditorium in Grand Forks. Many wore hats - some were fun hats, some warm and practical, some graceful and elegant. And a delight for the Grand Forks Arts Council was a near-capacity audience, the best turnout for a performance series concert in quite a while.

The stage was decorated with hat stands and colourful hats from host Erna Gobbett’s collection. Erna herself looked stunning in her black and white dress and elegant white hat as she introduced the evening’s performance and welcomed violinist Calvin Dyck and pianist Betty Suderman to the stage. Seems Erna met Calvin many years ago when he played for a wedding, and she has been wanting to bring him to Grand Forks ever since.

The audience was spellbound

It was a show that had a bit of everything, serious music and moving stories, along with comedy, humour, audience interaction and fun, and lots of hats. The audience was spellbound as Calvin played his Golden Violin with perfection, mastery and grace which showed the love he has for not only the instrument but also the music he plays. After each piece there was a moment of silence as the audience sat breathing in the essence of the last note then broke out into rapturous applause.

A musical journey and hats

Betty Suderman

Calvin and Betty led us all on a musical journey from Amsterdam, to Dusseldorf, Paris, Venice, New York and finally to British Columbia, following the life story of the Golden Violin, made by Johannes Cuypers in 1807. All the while, Calvin complemented the story and music with costumes and hats, and Betty wore beautiful and colourful satin dresses.
The rich tones of the violin sang softly and warmly as Calvin played “Rondo” by Mozart, while wearing a period wig. Pictures of Amsterdam were projected behind Calvin, his silhouette on the screen adding a very dramatic illusion.

With a change of props and slides the audience was taken to Dusseldorf and a warm livingroom in front of a fire, where a private party and performance were to be presented. Here the audience was invited to participate in a quiz while listening to the “F.A.E. Sonata”

Then the fun part of Calvin shone with “Czardas” by Monti, a familiar Gypsy tune. He moved into the audience and on knees serenaded several ladies in the front row, passion pouring from his instrument, tender, and yet fun. Calvin himself sparkled with delight, as did those who were serenaded. The audience loved it.

Heart stopping O Mio Babbino Caro and Theme from Shindler’s List

On to Vienna and a violin competition. “Largo” by Veracini, and “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini were heart stoppers, as was the next segment of the program where the violin was rescued from Europe during the Second World War and arrived in New York to be played by violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler at Carnegie Hall. Here Calvin and Betty theatrically presented an electrifying version of “The Theme from Schindler’s List” by John Williams, followed by “Schon Rosmarin” by Kreisler.

More fun with Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown (from Rodeo)” led to a hilarious awarding of a prize to the lucky person who got the quiz right. Calvin and Betty were both grateful for all those who had given the challenging quiz a try.

The Hot Canary

The show closed with a delicate and heart touching “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and finally Calvin’s most daring and delightful rendition of “The Hot Canary”. This is where Calvin really shines with his mastery of his instrument – his violin actually sounded like a canary. Incredible. The audience was moved to a standing ovation and called for an encore. What a beautiful ending as Calvin and Betty returned to play “Danny Boy.”

For the trained and untrained classical musician and connoisseur

Betty and Calvin make a dynamic team, sensitive to the music and to each other’s performance. Both are responsive to the audience and give from their hearts with music that they love and cherish, sharing their masterful talents and showmanship. The evening provided a meaningful programme of classical music presented through story, drama and humour that was unpretentious, in a fun, dramatic, warm and loving atmosphere. It moved, delighted and enthralled both the trained and untrained classical musician and connoisseur. Word about town by concert goers has been; “That was the best concert I have ever seen,” to “Wasn’t that absolutely fantastic!” And “Weren’t they incredible!”

So hat’s off to Calvin and Betty. It was a great show!

More information can be found through Calvin Dyck's web site.

NOTE: There are many more articles on this site about great musicians and artists - see Index of Articles.

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