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  • Writer's picturePocket Concerts

An art studio, gourmet food, Schubert, and a mattress shop: together at last!

One of the best things about running Pocket Concerts is that we get to meet some incredible people, all of whom share our love of music and a passion for bringing people together. Our hosts are some of the most generous and interesting people that we know, and we want you to get to know them as well.

Meet the hosts of our first Public Pocket Concert of 2016-17, Paula Arciniega, Matt Brooks, and their three children. An accomplished professional singer herself, Paula will also be performing the first part of Ravel's Scheherazade at this concert!

Family portrait on the family couch

INTERVIEW: We caught up with Matt and Paula in their ultra-hip loft to ask them a few questions about their lives, artistic and otherwise.

E&R: What motivated you guys to host a Pocket Concert?

M&P: We love the idea of intimate concert settings that combine a diverse team of artists. We finally find ourselves in a position (with our loft studio) to be able to bring this dream to a reality and are excited about collaborating with great Toronto talent.


It's not your typical concert hall entrance, we know...

But once you get inside, you find this beautiful open-concept kitchen/living area:

 Wait until you see the rest of it!

E&R: Both of you studied music in school and ventured out to do other things as well. What was the transition like?

M&P: Well we've both had a time in our lives when we couldn't rely on our musical output or career.  In a way we were forced into it, and yes at times it was scary, but looking back we wouldn't want to change anything. When you take a leap of faith, or are forced to, it can be incredibly humbling, but also very eye opening. For me (Matt) it was a a physical thing, I couldn't play the trumpet due to an injury, this led me into another arena, ultimately looking back I think I always had an inclination to have a diverse group of things I could do. This allowed me to get outside the "musician" mindset and become an entrepreneur. Diversity is a good thing.

For Paula, she was in a vocal transition and during this period she had to turn to painting to release her creative energy. As a mother of 3 Paula has had to have faith that after 10 years of parenting she can now fully throw herself back into her talents. This is a transition that is still forming and shaping us.

E&R: What's your favorite piece of music to listen to when you are relaxing at home?

Paula: Bach.

Matt: Miles Davis (but really who has one favourite? it's all about the mood)  

E&R: Do you have a favorite hangout spot for the family (aside from your beautiful home)?

M&P: Yes! "The Greater Good" a new local bar, Geary Ave. is turning into a very cool strip in Toronto. The Greater Goodhas North of Brooklyn Pizza, and a free vintage arcade for the kids to try out. Games from our childhood and 18 beers on Tap!!!!! what else do you need? 

 The obligatory "funny face" photo: 

E&R: What’s a typical day like for you guys?


7am - Wake up make coffee. 

730am - Salome wakes up and requests her pancake, Noah stumbles out of his room, Ollie still sleeping

8am - all kids are fed and getting ready for school then out the door and heading to school/daycare drop offs

9am - Matt walks over to work (office next door) Paula hits the gym

10am - Paula starts morning warmup, either piano or singing. Matt at work

11am - Paula singing or painting. Matt at work

12 - sometimes we have lunch together

1pm - Paula singing, playing the piano or painting, Matt at work

2pm - Paula still doing something arts related, studying, creating, Matt at work

3pm - kids school pickup, chaos ensues, 

4pm - kids' snacks and play time

5pm - dinner prep, homework drama

6pm - wine/dinner

7pm - finish homework and baths/showers for kids

8pm - bedtime routine, kids in bed

9pm - kids still awake, "go to bed"

10pm - kids still not sleeping, "GO TO BED!!", more wine.....

11pm -  netflix 

12pm - ...[silence]

E&R: Paula, you are as much a painter as a singer. How do you balance the two disciplines?

Paula's music/painting studio

Paula: I stick to a very strict schedule. The two art forms balance each other and inform one another. Singing requires incredible discipline, devotion, and a strict regime, so it takes priority with my time. Painting explodes out of me at any moment, I have to be available to let this expression out. Matt has been essential in allowing me that freedom. Ultimately I feel I am just now coming to a place where I can manage these two forms as one expressive artistic entity. 

E&R: You have three kids, and we'd love to hear how you help them to discover their own passions and talents. How do you share your own love for art and music with your children?

M&P: Our house is full of music almost 24/7. If it isn't Paula's live practicing, it's a recording of the Berlin Phil., an opera, or a jazz ballad, or a Bob Marley track, or if it's Friday you might hear some Tribe. Music is a part of their lives. Paula and I elevate it in our own lives as being essential and it is an important part of our children's development. We try to encourage our kids to be passionate and follow through with their ideas, so they have a finished product they can share. It's amazing to watch their creative spirits express themselves wether it be singing, dancing, acting, or inventing. We try to facilitate a supporting and encouraging environment. 

We can't wait for this afternoon of music-making, great food, and there is even talk of a signature cocktail! Thank you Paula and Matt for taking this Public Pocket Concert to the next level.



262 Geary Ave., near Dupont and Dufferin

Hosted by OHSO Studios Inc. and Paula Arciniega



Ravel, "Scheherazade"

Schubert Quintet for Piano and Strings, "The Trout"


Emily Rho, piano

Paula Arciniega, mezz0-soprano

Sheila Jaffé violin

Rory McLeod, viola

Drew Comstock, cello

Nick Davis, double bass


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