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SPO Profiles: Brent Straughan
An interesting comparison is that being a composer is like being a news editor. And Brent Straughan is both. Without the composer’s skill to connect harmony, feeling and theme, there would be no music score.
Similarly without an editor’s ability to connect facts, timing and audience, there would be no newscast. Both require intrinsic awareness of details and substance. Brent worked as the news editor for CTV’s Canada AM in Toronto for 25 years, determining what and how the daily news feed progressed. As he states, ”It was a dance every day to know what Canadians wanted to hear.”
It fulfilled his career choice, but his passion was always music, specifically the violin. Brent now plays in the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra as the assistant principal second violinist. But most exciting is what he brings to composing music. His latest success has been the internationally produced and acclaimed opera Precari which in Latin means “prayer.” Brent is anticipating presenting the opera on the international stage, when he will be performing it as the only Canadian entry in the competition held in Fort Worth, Texas this May. The orchestra will be performing his tribute to the fallen soldiers of Flanders Fields, Song to Flanders, in the concerts held March 22 (Sooke) and 23 (Metchosin), featuring Sooke’s own outstanding soprano soloist, Nancy Washeim who will be joined by the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus.
The route to being with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra began years ago. Straughan was in the Sooke area and upon an introduction to a cellist by his cousin, a further introduction was made to Maestro Norman Nelson. It was a repeat performance, so to speak, as Straughan had known Nelson from his residence at Simon Fraser University. Straughan appreciated that Norman Nelson was an internationally adept musician who was used to working with incredibly skilled players. So he was thrilled when, over a chicken curry dinner together, Nelson asked if he would be interested in playing the violin for the orchestra.
That decision to join the orchestra in Sooke has become an excellent union of Straughan’s talent and passion for music.