Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Carol for Christmas - with Songs Strings & Steps

Songs Strings & Steps presents
A Carol for Christmas
Director: Calvin Dyck    Designer: Sylvia Friesen
Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m.
Friday, December 21, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 22, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Road, Abbotsford
Tickets: Adults $25; Seniors $22; Students $12 - plus applicable fees and HST
At  Kings Music or House of James

And the next famous Christmas Carol is...
They come from across Canada, the US and Fraser Valley – new Christmas carols to be performed by the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra and special guest artists during “A Carol for Christmas”, this year’s spectacular Songs Strings & Steps community Christmas concert (December 20 – 22) at Central Heights Church.

A carol competition!
There will be great entertainment, sets, props and costumes, comedy, drama, poetry, the traditional carols, a sing-along, and of course – surprises – but with a new and exciting concept! Says Calvin Dyck, Abbotsford’s forever creative and enthusiastic musical director, “It all started when I came bounding down the stairs with an idea – to host a carol competition!” The Songs Strings & Steps team pulled together a prize purse of $5,500, and in the spring of this year sent out word to composers, universities and various publications. “We got about 30 entries from around North America and had a jury choose the best eight.”

Local composers too!
While names were not included in the jury process (and will not be during voting) finalists include Larry Nickel, Stan Gubiotti and Karen Savage, all from the Fraser Valley!

Audience to vote
“We have four concerts this year (last year we had three and they were virtually sold out) and, like the popular TV shows, at each concert the audience gets to vote on their favourite carol and winners will be announced during the final show,” explains Calvin.

The next famous Christmas carol?
“The composers have all put in a lot of work; they were free to use their own text or an existing text with new music. There is one piece for choir and organ, one for choir and strings, one solo carol with guitar and strings and other combinations. They all have different orchestrations. You just never know where the next famous Christmas carol will come from – maybe Abbotsford!”

Another magnificent variety show with great talent
The wonderful soprano Alison Nystrom returns as featured soloist with the carol competition and for Rejoice from Handel’s Messiah. New to Songs Strings & Steps are the Pilkey Sisters, recent arrivals to Abbotsford – three sisters with perfectly matching voices. There will be excerpts from the Nutcracker performed by outstanding dancers from the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance, the Langley Cello Ensemble, soaring solos from Calvin on his violin, a featured brass ensemble, and Abbotsford’s newest choral sensation iSing along with additional community singers to form a mass choir.

Surprises, delights and treats
And of course, there are ALWAYS surprises! “Last year we had 1000 snowballs made of yarn which the audience was invited to throw. This year we have 1000 of something else – but that has to remain a surprise! And during intermission we have special delights. Following the concert, in the true spirit of Christmas, the audience gets to take home a treat.”

So mark your calendars
That’s four dates to choose from - Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m., Friday, December 21, 7 p.m., Saturday, December 22, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. at Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Road, Abbotsford. To be sure of a seat, book your tickets now (adults $25; seniors $22; students $12 - plus applicable fees and HST) at Kings Music or House of James. (Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more by contacting

Intimate Christmas with the Vancouver Island Symphony

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents
Intimate Christmas
Guest Choir: musica intima
Conductor: Pierre Simard
Saturday, December 15, 7:30 p.m.
Port Theatre, Nanaimo
Tickets: 250-754-8550

Welcome! Come on in where it’s warm, cozy and comfortable! It’s a Christmas party – an Intimate Christmas party with the Vancouver Island Symphony! The halls of the Port Theatre will be decked out for the season on Saturday, December 15 as the VI Symphony presents their traditional family Christmas concert featuring joyous seasonal music, a cheerful sing-along - and surprises! Adding to the celebration are the young and exciting voices of Western Canada’s award-winning choral gem – musica intima.

Pure and beautiful - musica intima
Founded in 1992, musica intima has graced the stages of Canada’s best known festivals and concert halls. Their concerts and recordings are frequently heard on national and international radio broadcasts. “I originally heard musica intima in concert on CBC Radio while I was studying in Montreal,” says alto Melanie Adams, the East Coast member of this professional twelve-voice ensemble. “Their sound really struck me as being so pure and beautiful, blended. I thought as I listened; I could be happy singing with that group like that.” It was several years later and a series of coincidences that led Melanie to the West Coast in 2000 and a successful audition for the ensemble. “It was how they work, in consensus, that fascinated me, without a conductor. Every piece has a musical leader. We stand in a semi-circle and the audience becomes the 13th member.”

Music to get comfortable with
Like being curled up in front of a blazing Yule fire, this is music to warm the heart, from the traditional audience sing-along that includes Deck the Halls and Silent Night, to excerpts from Bach’s Cantata no. 132, Berlioz’ L’enfance du Christ and Gustav Holst’s Christmas Day performed in perfect harmony by musica intima. But let’s not forget the well-loved and soul-stirring music from Tchaikovky’s Nutcracker played to perfection by the musicians of the VI Symphony, under the baton of the illustrious and popular Pierre Simard. Then, with assistance from musica intima, comes the grand finale with excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, and the all-powerful Hallelujah Chorus! “I really love the Messiah,” adds Melanie. “I’ve performed it many times. It is amazing music!”

So come join the party, toast the season and the reason for the season, meet the musicians of the VI Symphony and singers from musica intima, and celebrate the joy of an Intimate Christmas with music and song - in total comfort.

Tickets for Intimate Christmas are available at 250-754-8550.
For information visit Keeping music LIVE!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Galileo Project - Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents
The Galileo Project
Guest Orchestra:  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Monday, November 26, 7:30 p.m. Port Theatre, Nanaimo
Tickets: 250-754-8550
Music of the Spheres
Like a window to the universe the Port Theatre stage will resemble an astronomical telescope as the Vancouver Island Symphony presents Toronto's Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra performing ‘The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres’.

Science and Music
Science, music and storytelling meld together in this unforgettable concert as under a visual spectacle of stars and planets Tafelmusik, one of the world’s leading baroque and classical orchestras, plays music from some of the greatest composers of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Celebrating astronomy
Tafelmusik developed this fascinating fusion to celebrate the Year of Astronomy (2009) and the 400th Anniversary of Galileo’s first public demonstration of the telescope. Says Alison Mackay, the creative force behind this and other Tafelmusik projects, “One of our audience members, John Percy (Professor of Astronomy at the University of Toronto), suggested that the world of Galileo and baroque music would make a good concert.”

Journey through time and space
It took two years for Mackay to research and write the programme, choose the music and the visuals. “Each of the images, when put together with the music, becomes more than the sum of their parts. It is emotional for the orchestra to play music in such heightened context.” A team of top Canadian talent provided staging, projection, set design, construction and lighting. Says Mackay, “It was tremendously exciting, watching it come together.”

A choreographed orchestra
To complement the overall presentation, the orchestra took on the challenge of learning all the music by memory. “This has really freed us to move around the stage and communicate with the audience in a different way. Now we are choreographed!”

Calling all astronomers and music lovers
Since its premiere at The Banff Centre in 2009, ‘The Galileo Project’ has been to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, is now touring Western Canada. “Many astronomers are interested in music,” adds Mackay. “Galileo himself played a lute. Everywhere we have performed we have made links with the astronomical community. Sometimes they have even brought their telescopes for the audience to see.”

Not missing out on this exciting opportunity is the Nanaimo Astronomy Society. They will be in the theatre lobby on November 26 to show their telescopes – and after the concert, if the sky is clear, take a look at the stars!

Short videos of ‘The Galileo Project’ can be seen on YouTube - then come and experience the whole amazing show LIVE! To book your seat call 250-754-8550.

For more information on Tafelmusik visit

For more information about the Vancouver Island Symphony visit Keeping Music LIVE!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cirque de la Symphonie and the Vancouver Island Symphony

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents
Cirque de la Symphonie
Guest Artists: Cirque de la Symphonie
Conductor: Pierre Simard
Saturday, November 17, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Port Theatre, Nanaimo BC
Tickets: 250-754-8550
Thrilling, bedazzling –
a show like no other!
Cirque de la Symphonie, featuring world-class aerialists and acrobats, is the ONLY known company that performs thrilling and bedazzling feats over and in front of a LIVE symphony orchestra. And to be sure that as many people as possible experience this amazing phenomenon, the Vancouver Island Symphony presents Cirque de la Symphony in two shows at the Port Theatre on Saturday, November 17 - at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Jaw-dropping entertainment
Take famed Russian aerialist Alexander Streltsov, hair-raising acrobatic aerialist Christine Van Loo, spell-binding mime and juggling artist Vladimir Tsarkov, and graceful contortionist, gymnast and dancer Elena Tsarkova then put them with the VI Symphony (under the direction of the illustrious Pierre Simard) and this event becomes a breath-taking, jaw-dropping three-dimensional entertainment extravaganza.

Music you can feel
There’s music to stir the soul with emotion and melody: music that glides like the aerialists as they fly from the rafters; spins like juggling balls, batons and rings; and flows like silks and ribbons. It’s light classical and popular film music – familiar yet electrifying: from Stravinsky (Circus Polka) to Bizet (Carmen), Khachaturian (Masquerade), Saint-Saens (Dance Macabre – you’ll recognize it right away – spine-chilling!), Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake), Rimsky-Korsakov (Scheherazade), Respighi/Rossini (Cancan) and Smetana (Dance of the Comedians).

World class artistic movement
The artists are truly amazing. Streltsov, gold-medal winner at the prestigious Festival Mondial Du Cirque De L’Avenir in Paris, has performed for three Russian presidents, the Bolshoi Ballet, and elaborate theatre, stage and television productions world-wide. Van Loom is a seven-time consecutive US National Champion, Female Olympic Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Decade in gymnastics. Tsarkov, a graduate from Russia’s prestigious State College of Circus and Theatre Arts, and veteran of Circus Circus and Cirque Ingenieux, is a favourite of the younger audience members. Tsarkova, the ‘Lady in White’, graduated from the famed Moscow Circus School, was a winner at the prestigious National Russian Circus Festival, and has been a major star with Circus Circus, Circus Knie and Circus Roncalli.

The power of LIVE music
How does it feel flying over an orchestra while they play? Says fearless Van Loo “It feels free, empowering, exciting! I don’t just hear the music, I feel it coming into me. I feel strong, happy and excited. It is much more powerful than performing to recorded music.”
This is a spectacular symphony experience like no other! Tickets are available by calling 250-754-8550. Family 4 Ticket Pack (2 Adults/ 2 Youth) for 3 p.m. Show; Group Tickets available.  Keeping Music LIVE!

For more information about the artists visit 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Women of Note with the Vancouver Island Symphony

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents
“The Value of Arts in Nanaimo”
A Women of Note Luncheon
Guest Speaker: Sasha Angus, CEO Nanaimo Economic Development Corp.
Thursday, November 1, 11:30 a.m.
Nanaimo Museum
Tickets: $32 at 250-754-0177

Celebrating Arts and Culture in Nanaimo and Area

Women of Note (notable women who believe in the arts) have returned and their first new artistic endeavour is a delectable luncheon on Thursday, November 1, at the Nanaimo Museum. Sponsored by the Vancouver Island Symphony, the luncheon begins with networking at 11:30 a.m. followed by creative eats and great company in the surrounds of the ‘Spirit of Life’ fibre-arts exhibit. Special guest Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, will speak on ‘The Value of the Arts in Nanaimo’.

“We are so excited to have Women of Note back in action,” says co-chair Marianne Turley. “We are coming together to celebrate, support and create an awareness of arts and culture in Nanaimo.”

In 2008, Nanaimo was given the title of Cultural Capital of Canada, and in 2011 Commercial Street, home to several arts organizations, ranked number one in the ‘Great Streets’ category in the Canadian Institute of Planners ‘Great Places in Canada’ contest.

Adds Turley, “The City has recognized and embraces the importance of arts and culture in the community. They are economic drivers and give a community soul.”

Tickets for this delicious event are $32 and can be purchased through the VI Symphony Office, 250-754-0177 and by e-mailing Funds raised support the VI Symphony’s Education Shows in 2013.

Monday, October 8, 2012

FREE Symphony Community Day with the Vancouver Island Symphony

Symphony Community Day
FREE Events with the VI Symphony
Saturday, October 20, Port Theatre
Musical Instrument Zoo (11 a.m. -12 noon)
NoteworthyKids Music Club Family Event (11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.)
Open Rehearsal (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
Reserve your Complimentary Ticket: 250-754-8550

Music is Life. Live it Here!
A ‘Come As You Are’ – FREE Symphony Community Day

What would life be like without music? Imagine silence! No background as you shop, sip coffee in your favourite coffee shop, play games, or watch your favourite movies and TV shows! Nothing to dance to! Nothing to sing to! Nothing to celebrate life or drown sorrows with! How empty!

Music is everywhere, it is part of life, and to show how it is made the Vancouver Island Symphony is hosting Symphony Community Day on Saturday, October 20 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Port Theatre – and it’s FREE! It’s a ‘come as you are’ event – from shopping at the grocery store, visiting the library, having coffee with friends and neighbours, or straight off the soccer field or from the swimming pool. No need to get dressed up to come to the Symphony; it’s a rehearsal day and the musicians are relaxed and casual too!

Musical Instrument Zoo (11 a.m. - 12 noon) - First up is this really popular event that helps youngsters find out what different instruments sound like. Kids get to meet VI Symphony pro-musicians who are on hand to help them play everything from a violin to a cello, flute, trumpet, tuba, bassoon, oboe, French horn, bass and percussion. Have a puff, toot and hoot, pull a bow, zing some strings, and have some fun!

NoteworthyKids Family Event (11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.) - Then it’s time to Meet a Musician. The whole family and anyone interested can come along to hear cellist and NoteworthyKids artistic coordinator Joel Stobbe talk about the exciting NoteworthyKids’ activities for the season. He will then introduce the special musician of the day! It’s to be a surprise so we’re not telling! You gotta be there!

Open Rehearsal (12:30 - 1:30 p.m.) - Everyone is invited to find a seat in the theatre and take in an open rehearsal. The popular Pierre Simard (father of three young children – so he knows all about kids, families and music) will be directing the orchestra and the guest artist in preparation for the upcoming evening concert. Watch as the maestro works with the musicians to change a phrase here, add an expression there (and make notes in pencil on their music scores) - and have them playing perfectly to give the music the right feeling!

FREE TICKETS must be reserved for the Open Rehearsal by calling 250-754-8550.
Donations towards the NoteworthyKids Music Club are welcomed.
For information call 250-754-0177 or visit
Keeping music LIVE!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

B is for Brilliance with the Vancouver Island Symphony

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents

B is for Brilliance
Guest artist: Sara Davis Buechner, Piano
Conductor: Pierre Simard
Saturday, October 20, 7:30 p.m.
Port Theatre, Nanaimo
Pre and Post concert talks.
Tickets: 250-754-8550

Bursting with musical beauty, the opening performance of the Vancouver Island Symphony’s 2012-2013 Season, titled “Music is Life. Live it Here!” - is brilliant! Perfect for the classical connoisseur and for the new-to-classics and give-it-a-try audience, the concert brims with pure emotional and melodic magnificence as Maestro Pierre Simard directs the orchestra in B is for Brilliance on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Port Theatre.
Simard has created a bountiful program featuring the big B’s of the classical world – Bach, the original father of harmony; Beethoven and his turbulent emotions; and Brahms, the gentle and romantic humanitarian – by far, three of the greatest composers ever, each uniquely different, passionate and creative.
Bach – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for organ early in his multi-faceted musical career (here arranged for modern orchestra by Simard). It is one of his most important and well-known works. Orchestral versions of Passacaglia have been used in The Godfather and White Nights, and a jazz interpretation has been recorded by flautist Hubert Laws.
BeethovenPiano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37 was written by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) when he was only thirty. It is a work rich in the turbulent emotions for which he was becoming known.
Buechner -  Guest artist and international pianist Sara Davis Buechner says, “It is in Beethoven’s 3rd that he achieved the epitome of the great classical concerto. It was his middle period; he knew exactly who he was with style and personality. There is utter perfection to the form and material.” Buechner, who has over 100 concertos in her repertoire and performs around the world, adds, “I often come back to the 3rd as my favourite of the Beethoven’s. When that piece is over and I’ve finished playing there is such satisfaction and contentment.”
Brahms – Often referred to as “Beethoven’s Tenth”, Symphony No. 1 Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), was seen by the composer as an act of homage. Brahms was acutely aware of the deeply rooted traditions of Germanic music extending back not just to Beethoven, but beyond him to Bach and at first doubted his ability to write a symphony. He once stated, “You have no idea how it feels to hear behind you the tramp of a giant like Beethoven.” From the original sketches to finishing touches it took Brahms 21 years to complete this brilliant symphony that is filled with such beautiful melody.
B is for Brilliance - Three remarkable composers and one of the leading keyboard artists of our time – all whose surnames begin with the letter B - and all with remarkable life stories. To find out more, visit the Pre-Concert and Post-Concert talks. Then come and experience the music LIVE! That’s B is for Brilliance - music that touches all the emotions, performed with passion and precision by the talented musicians of the VI Symphony.

For an interview article with Sara Davis Buechner visit
And for Sara's web site visit


Monday, September 10, 2012

The Prodigy

The Abbotsford Youth Orchestra presents

The Prodigy
Kevin Chen (7-Year-Old Child Prodigy)
Director: Calvin Dyck
Guest Artists: LCMS Cello Ensemble
Saturday, October 13, 7 p.m.
South Abbotsford Church, 32424 Huntingdon Road
Tickets: Adults $20; Students $10
Kings Music and House of James

Seeing is believing!

There are child prodigies then there’s Kevin Chen of Calgary! At age five he began music studies; at six he was the youngest in Canada to take and pass the Grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music exams, and this summer, at age seven, he passed his Grade 10 - both with first-class honours! This past spring he performed an 80-minute debut recital featuring works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy and achieved national recognition after his performance at the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival. He can easily learn three Grade 10 pieces a week, has transposed Bach while sight-reading, and that’s just the beginning!

This fall, Kevin, the youngest member of the Mount Royal Conservatory of Music Academy, will be making his first concert appearance with an orchestra as guest soloist with the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra as they present The Prodigy on Saturday, October 13 at 7 p.m. at the South Abbotsford Church.

When AYO director Calvin Dyck was adjudicating a music competition in Winnipeg this summer he met Colleen Athparia, Kevin’s teacher. “Colleen told me she was having a challenge staying ahead of her youngest student. After playing his first recital this spring he said to her, ‘That was fun, let’s do it again.’ We respect his tender age, yet because he likes to play we are encouraging him by giving him this opportunity. He will be performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 and because he is not very big, under 40 pounds in weight, we are bringing in a piano from Vancouver that has a very light touch.”

A Mini Mozart

While Kevin is exceedingly shy he is playful, loves to stand on one foot, and be ‘big brother’ to his three younger siblings. He is creative; he is an artistic genius. Calvin explains; “Once every century somebody comes along who is so gifted they are like a Mozart. They assimilate music so quickly like it’s already a part of them, as natural as breathing. Whereas most normal people take weeks and months to learn a piece and understand the intricacies, for Kevin it is obvious.”

Remember Amadeus (the movie) and Mozart writing music directly to paper with no changes, no alterations? Young Kevin does likewise. He hears the music in his head but instead of writing on paper he composes directly to his computer. Says Calvin; “We will be doing one of his pieces but because he can’t play it himself (the chords are too big for his little hands) Colleen is coming and will play it for him.”

And there’s more!

Adds Calvin; “To fill out the program the AYO will be performing Mozart’s Symphony No. 17, (here Calvin chuckles – he’s into creative programming) and Handel’s Passacaglia. Joel Stobbe is bringing the Langley Community Music School Cello Ensemble (eight high level, dynamic and versatile cellists) to perform Death of an Angel. It’s a high-energy peace written by Astor Piazzola, the great Argentinean composer and father of the modern jazz-tango. The piece is written as a three-voice fugue, which has been expanded to a cello octet. It’s a lot of fun!” 

This is Abbotsford’s chance to not only hear a fantastic program of enjoyable, relaxing and yet exciting music but to also see a real prodigy perform, a youngster who is inescapably an inspiration for all existing and future musicians. That’s Saturday, October 13, 7 p.m. at South Abbotsford Church, 32424 Huntingdon Road, Abbotsford, BC. Tickets (adults $20, students $10) are available at Kings Music and House of James.

 For further information about Kevin Chen please visit the Calgary Herald article by Bob Clark at and accompanying video at .

There are now various articles about him on the Internet.

Diamond Anniversary Awareness & Networking Conference

Inner-Garden On-line Chapel presents
Diamond Anniversary Awareness
& Networking Conference
Fri., Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012
Sullivan Hall, 6306 152nd Street, Surrey BC
Tickets: 503-594-1565

Manifesting Goals and Dreams

Barbara Leonard, author and psychic medium-rare, is celebrating a career that spans 60 years, during which she has authored such titles as Don’t Just Stand There Sucking Your Thumb and The Phenomenal Power of the Curious Mind. She has co-hosted television and radio shows such as CKVU’s “Tomorrow’s Fortune”, been a speaker and presenter at countless events and spiritual centres across Canada, and taught awareness classes for over 35 years.

Leonard is forever re-creating herself, so while celebrating her Diamond Anniversary she is also taking yet another voyage into unchartered waters by bringing together some of the most informative and interesting people she has met through the years to participate in an Awareness and Networking Conference being held at Sullivan Hall in Surrey from Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30.

Says Leonard, “It is my hope that everyone has fun at this celebration. It will be a great place to network with people of like mind, to find out how others present their work, and to learn many new and wonderful techniques to help live a more fulfilled life, and, help others fulfil their dreams.”

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Events include “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” on Friday evening with interviews, audience participation and demonstrations of mediumship. Leonard and Derrick Whiteskycloud will co-host The Old Sages of past TV shows like Tomorrow’s Fortune and The Curious Mind. Guests include Gloria and Martin Brough, Norma Cowie and Richard T. Clark. Representing the mediums of today and tomorrow are Karie-Anne and Friends, Charlie Seaman, Patricia Connor, Rosemary Phillips and others.


Between delicious meals and networking coffee breaks there are informative presentations: Norma Cowie, teacher, consultant, tarot reader and author of eight books; E, Patricia Connor with Joy Ross for Kindness is Key; Ted Kuntz, author of Peace Begins With Me; business consultant Cris Leonard and Who Will You Blame for Your Success; Richard T. Clarke of Inner Fitness; Rosemary Phillips with Mediumship and Music; Donna Bain and Healing with Lafter; Quantum Force with hypnotist Jeannie Martin; Janet and Ray Helm and Speaking with Ease; Pat Antoniak introducing Psycho-Neuro-Endo-Immunology and the Mind-Body Connection;  and hypnotherapist Jeannie Martin presenting Quantum Focus.

Saturday Night Stage Show

Then it’s time for an evening of fun-filled and exciting entertainment - from great sing-along music with singer-songwriter Rosemary Phillips, to messages from evidential medium Shana Lee Gibson and the great African rhythms, dance and movement with actor, storyteller and dancer Jean Pierre Makosso.

Let’s not forget the food

One of Leonard’s hats over these 60 years has been feeding people, lots of people, with great food. So while this weekend is about networking and learning, it is also about enjoying delectable food from a fantastic menu.

 For more information about the conference and special rates visit  . To book a passport for the whole weekend or for individual event call: 604-594-1565.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vancouver Island Symphony launches new season

The Vancouver Island Symphony launches their new Season of Performances
Music is Life. Live it Here!
with Timeless Treasures and Popular Pleasures

“Music surrounds everything we do and touches us in so many ways,” says Maestro Pierre Simard. Music stimulates the mind, communicates emotion; helps us feel, nurtures the soul. The human brain is wired for music – so life without music is unthinkable! It is timeless - and has been a part of life on Earth from the ancient past with the song of whales and birds through to the present with iPods and thousands of tunes to choose from. But, while iPods and internet allow us instant on-the-go music, nothing can match the thrill of a LIVE concert, and the ‘high’ it can give.

Located right in the heart of Nanaimo, the Vancouver Island Symphony, directed by Pierre Simard, gives that thrill, that ‘high’, with the full surround-sound of orchestrated music performed live on stage by 45 professional and vibrant musicians and exceptional guest artists who share their outstanding talents.

This year the Vancouver Island Symphony launches TWO new concert series subscriptions within their 18th season, titled ‘Music is Life. Live it here!’ It is a season packed with powerful, inspiring, jaw-dropping music to satisfy every taste – from Timeless Treasures of the great classics and two world premieres, to Popular Pleasures and familiar favourites.

Timeless Treasures Series

Who can deny the brilliance of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms? On October 20, ‘B is for Brilliance’ features their fantastic music and the dynamic skills of pianist Sarah Davis Buechner. On Monday, November 26 the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra presents ‘The Galileo Project’, an audio-visual spectacle with music by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Bach, Lully and Handel, accompanied by high-definition images from the Hubble telescope. To celebrate the season in style on December 15, the guest choir ‘musica intima’ joins the VI Symphony for a traditional ‘Intimate Christmas’. Marvelous music by Bartok, Simard, Barber, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, and the rapturous voice of soprano Nadya Blanchette, bring ‘Serenades for Spring’ on March 16. And on April 20 the grand season finale, ‘Birds of a Feather’, features flutist Paolo Bortolussi, music by Rautovaara and Morlock, and concludes with Beethoven’s most beautiful ‘Pastoral Symphony’.

Popular Pleasures Series

Three exciting and surprise-filled collaborations are perfect introductory experiences for the new symphony goer. On November 17 there will be magic as world-class aerialists and acrobats of Cirque de la Symphonie fly overhead while the VI Symphony performs light classical masterpieces and popular film music. Then who can pass up The Best of Elton John on January 19, as singer John Meilleur, pianist John Regan and the Jeans’n Classics Band join forces with the musicians of the VI Symphony in a rockin’ tribute with Circle of Life, Rocket Man, I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues, and many more favourites! And, Popular Demand: Ken Lavigne on Sunday, February 10, at 2 p.m.! This concert is the perfect Valentine treat as the Island’s much loved tenor embraces the audience while singing the best love songs of all time... and tells stories.

Get the best seats now!

With the purchase of a package of all eight season concerts, or the Timeless Treasures series of five shows, or the Popular Pleasures series of three shows, the Vancouver Island Symphony offers up to 40% off the regular single ticket price. Call the Port Theatre Ticket Centre at 250-754-8550 to book your symphony tickets now!

‘Music is Life. Live it Here! Downtown in the Hub City, with Nanaimo’s very own jewel of an orchestra – the Vancouver Island Symphony! For information about concerts, performers, musicians, community days and more visit: