Destino and Beyond...

I had the pleasure of a spontaneous evening out last week with my wife to listen to Destino, a crossover "popera" group that has just finished touring the province (24 shows from Havre-St-Pierre to Richmond!). Here in Quebec City they played to a full house at the Théâtre Petit Champlain, a lovely, intimate venue for live music. The group is composed of three classically trained, award-winning professional tenors - Paul Ouellette, Joey Niceforo and Hans Munoz. Accompanied by talented instrumentalists (Roy Tan on piano and Rosemary Stevens on violin), the three singers provided a range of songs varying from contemporary pop to well-known operatic arias (hence the name of this genre of music) that was much appreciated by the enthusiastic crowd.

Beyond the fabulous music performance, we were both struck by the how wonderfully "Canadian" the group seemed to be - at least to a couple of ex-pat Americans living in Québec. Ouellette with obvious Québécois roots (lower St. Lawrence) and passable French, Niceforo from French Canadian-Italian descent and impressive French, Munoz as an immigrant with Hispanic heritage (Mexican/Peruvian) and no discernable French, Stevens as the blonde violin virtuoso from the prairies, and finally Tan, a young musician who immigrated from Singapore almost two decades ago. The image of such disparate members of our diverse population and cultures coming together in such harmony for a tour of la belle province is an obvious and reassuring symbol of what we envision Canada to be.

Another striking element of their performance was their promotion of World Vision, a charitable cause aimed at providing sustainable relief for African families and communities. Not only did the group mention and describe their support for the organization several times during the performance, but there was also a kiosk and volunteer available in the foyer to explain how the program works - a poignant reminder of how fortunate we are here in North American and how much we can help others in need elsewhere.

Thus, all in all, a wonderful experience. Thanks so much to the CBC and their promotion of such performances (including giving away free tickets). We encourage everyone to get out and enjoy such performances, both for the simple pleasure and the support of the musicians and culture.

Thanks for this very nice article, Ladd.