Douglas professor and local musician co-star in Arts at One
By Jamal Al-Bayaa, Staff Writer
Louise Southwood’s fingers flew on her guitar as she recited “Lagrima,” or “Teardrop.” The song was a perfect harmony of two separate melodies, with impressive use of low tones in support of a high energy performance. Close your eyes and you would still be impressed by the sheer sound quality, but you would miss the skill and dexterity happening on stage. The most amazing part was how, by her method of plucking the guitar with her thumb and all her fingers, she was able to play both melodies simultaneously.
That was just the opening to an hour-long concert featuring Southwood and Barrie Barrington, a talented piano player and Douglas College music teacher. In her opening remarks, Southwood expressed how honoured she felt to open for Barrie, and said that doing so was a great pleasure for her.
In the past, Southwood has played in Canada, the USA, India, Australia, the U.K., and Bermuda. In 2009, she opened the Koda Kanal International Guitar Festival in India. Barrie Barrington, apart from being a respected teacher in Douglas, is also deeply involved in the piano world. Most notably, he was awarded two doctoral fellowships from the UBC concerto, and he works as a performance judge throughout Western Canada.
The concert was a Spanish-themed collection of music centered on a duo piece called “Espana,” the show’s title piece and the most dramatic, haunting musical performance. The great thing about Spanish music is how entertaining it is. It’s lively, energetic, and nostalgic; the genre alone is enough to bring you back to the many places you’ve probably heard Spanish ensembles before.
Once Barrington gets on stage, he displays his lively and energetic style. It is plain to see just how good he really is at his craft. Based off information from the Apple watch he wore during the performance, one of the songs he played is the “step equivalent” of going for a 3km run, the equivalent of 50 km/h. That’s because the song, “Quejas o la Maya y el Ruisenor,” has a bouncing left hand throughout the two-and-a-half minute piece.
At one point, Barrie completely stunned the audience into silence, stopping his piece so abruptly after such an impressive display of multi-tasking and musical ability that people weren’t sure if they were even supposed to clap yet, or if there was more to come. Within a few seconds, he shrugged it off and moved on to his next piece. From there on out, clapping was a secondary response to the music, not nearly as important as the audience shaking their collective heads and dropping their jaws in awe.