Wednesday, October 15, 2014


On September 13, 2010 I wrote a blog post about the first time Ivaan heard the Cecilia String Quartet perform.  The Quartet was in its infancy when we first heard them in early 2005.   We'd just experienced an unimaginable tragedy and felt so broken in spirit that I'm amazed we even came up with the idea of attending a series of informal concerts  at different locations around the University of Toronto campus.

We attended the concert, Ivaan was enraptured by the performance, and when he came home he knew he wanted to present the members of the Cecilia String Quartet with pieces of his jewellery.  He chose dragonfly brooches and asked me to deliver them to the Faculty of Music along with a note from him.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the first performance of the Cecilia String Quartet.  Over the years they have become world renowned, have won impressive awards and released recordings.  For reasons I'd love to know, however, they haven't aged in the slightest.  To mark their 10th birthday, they sent an email saying they were having an informal concert in the lobby of the Edward Johnson Building (Faculty of Music) at U of T at noon today. There was absolutely zero chance I would have missed this occasion.  The timing was perfect.

The Cecilias are quite well known for their approachable manner of engaging the audience.  They often explain interesting things about the pieces they are going to play, and it's more like having friendly banter with a good friend than being educated on the finer points of the piece of music you're about to hear. They are also very funny.

After the first couple of pieces on their program, violinist Sarah Nematallah stepped up to the microphone and told a little story about the very concert at the Faculty of Law which we'd attended in early 2005.  I was seated on a bench against a wall, with people standing in front of me, when I suddenly realized that she was speaking about our concert.  She said she'd thought it wasn't a successful concert and was surprised, a few days later, to receive a package from Scott St. John, who was the Quartet's earliest mentor, containing four of Ivaan's dragonflies and his note saying how much the concert meant to us.  As she spoke, I suddenly realized all four members of the Quartet were wearing their Ivaan dragonflies.

I was so touched, my eyes filled with tears and I had to swivel round and face the wall while I composed myself.  The concert was beautiful. I know Ivaan would have been delighted by Sarah's shout-out to him.  Today, October 15th, is the 10th anniversary of the Cecilia String Quartet's first performance.  A month from today is the 10th anniversary of the death of our beloved boy, the reason we had gone to hear them play in the beginning, and I just felt we had come full circle.

I didn't stay to thank Sarah, Min, Caitlin and Rachel in person, but I'm doing that now.  And Caitlin, your joke about the want ad in the classifieds - you had me laughing!

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