Wednesday Noon Hours: Roger Cole and Terence Dawson connect music and memories

Roger Cole, the principal oboist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 1976, and Terence Dawson, who has earned a reputation as one of Vancouver’s most respected musicians, are both faculty members at UBC’s faculty of music.

As expected of two professors, their performance began with the sort of elegance musicians only achieve when they’re comfortable on the stage.

And what a stage it was.

For me, the Chan Centre has always brought images to mind of satin ties and sparkling high heels.

Throughout the Wednesday Noon Hour performances from this past fall term, although I’d known there would be no audience, the illusion that the performers on the stage were performing for guests in black tie had been kept.

This performance shattered that illusion.

After the initial close up on the musicians, the camera panned out and revealed what looked like stars hanging on the curved walls behind them.

This performance was not meant for people to watch, but rather for people to experience.

The music itself lent a hand in creating the celestial atmosphere. With airy melodies from the piano and ethereal notes from the oboe, the music seemed to invite the listener to shake off gravity’s hold and float up to glimpse the stars.

In a brief pause between songs, Cole put forward an informal title for this performance, calling it simply, “The pieces I know.”

With all of the stress of the classes starting up again and the constant reminders that this pandemic is still far from over, the title struck me as poignant.

Going back to what we know, and what we love, can be a helpful tool when the “new normal” feels anything but normal.

It also brought to mind days in the summer spent listening to “Fifteen” and “Our Song,” old Taylor Swift songs, while I tried to crawl back into the person I was when I first listened to those songs.

If this performance taught me anything, it’s that there is a power in memories, in nostalgia, and sometimes all it takes to relive those moments is a song.