Friday, March 28, 2014

Playing for Canada with the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra

Playing for Canada
Featuring: The Abbotsford Youth Orchestra
Calvin Dyck, Violin
Elias Venegras, Singer
Fraser Valley Academy of Dance
Saturday, April 12th, 7:00 p.m.
South Abbotsford Church (32424 Huntingdon Road)
Tickets: $20 (plus applicable fee)
At King’s Music (Abbotsford & Chilliwack stores) and House of James

The sensational Abbotsford Youth Orchestra (AYO) presents a truly Canadian experience in a gold-medal-winning performance – “Playing for Canada” - on Saturday, April 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the South Abbotsford Church.

Made in Canada, the AYO, Abbotsford’s first-class team of musical athletes, is being joined by the dexterous Fraser Valley Academy of Dance, the energetic Elias Venegras, and of course, their illustrious coach, Calvin Dyck. “It’s going to be a really fun concert,” says Calvin. “The kids will even be in Canadian Olympic wear as we play for Canada!”

The Music - Who can deny the fun, laughter, tears, visions and exceptional artistry that is the AYO! The audience will be enraptured with familiar classical pieces from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the Thunder and Lightning Polka, and the reflective Polish Caprice – all performed with perfect precision and passion. Then it’s time to hold on tight as the orchestra, dancers and soloists take off with popular and top of the chart hits like the music from the movie Frozen, Nickel Rag, Remote Control, Cinema Paradiso and Tall Tale. “The AYO recently performed Tall Tale for the Chilliwack Lions Club Music and Dance Festival in February and won the first place trophy,” adds Calvin proudly.

The Dance – “We’ve been absolutely delighted to have the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance these last couple of years,” says Calvin. “For this show they will be dancing to Four Seasons, and the dramatic Cinema Paradiso.” And in the ever-popular AYO tradition, “We have the orchestra choreographed for Prairie Swing and Nickel Rag.”

New Talent – There’s a new and exciting addition to the team. “We also have the winner from the 2013 PNE Talent Show, Elias Venegras singing Route 66,” explains Calvin. “He’s about ten years old and just a ball of fire; he’s so musical, energetic and entertaining.”

All for Canada – Canadian connections are woven throughout the whole program. “All Canadians are from different backgrounds and cultural experience,” adds Calvin. “Show designer Sylvia Friesen has written a unique script to tie the whole concert together.”

“Conduct Us” – Of course, no show with the AYO would be without a surprise or two. And this show is no exception – as audience members will be invited up to the stage to ‘Conduct Us’ for Pachelbel’s Canon. “I saw this done in Times Square,” explains Calvin chuckling, “Anyone who feels brave enough can come up, take hold of the baton and conduct the orchestra. There will be unpredictability in the performance as the orchestra WILL follow the tempos presented by the audience conductors.”

Words alone cannot express the brilliance and fine entertainment provided by this distinctly Canadian AYO team; they have to be seen and heard. To cheer on the AYO “Playing for Canada” visit King’s Music and House of James for your tickets - $20 (plus applicable fee). PS… and don’t forget to wear Canadian red and white to the concert!

Nanaimo-Home with the Vancouver Island Symphony

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents
Nanaimo – Home
Featuring: Audience Picks
Guest Artist: Calvin Dyck, Violin
Conductor: Pierre Simard
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Port Theatre, Nanaimo
Tickets: 250-754-8550

Classics can be such FUN with Audience Picks!

In a joyful and fun-filled evening of light, familiar, tuneful and melodic music, the Vancouver Island Symphony comes home on Saturday, April 5, after their musical journey around the world, when they present the last of this season’s Timeless Treasures Series in a very unique concert titled Nanaimo-Home.

“This city did not exist when the bulk of classical music was written,” explains Pierre Simard. So how will the illustrious Simard present a concert filled with music that represents Nanaimo? “I am sending the ball back into the audience, to make it Nanaimo’s choice. It’s essentially a one-of-a-kind show - rather like a symphonic jukebox. The orchestra will rehearse the most recognizable tunes in the light classical repertoire then throughout the evening the audience will choose. I will be doing this in various ways – but I don’t want to reveal too much… it’s just so much fun! The music is from all the periods – baroque, classical, romantic, Mozart, and situation music like Pomp and Circumstance.”

The jukebox – Before going out to the audience Simard will warm up the orchestra with the invigorating Toreador. From then on the audience picks from Air on the G string, Hungarian Dance no. 5, Morning Mood from Peer Gynt, overtures to the Marriage of Figaro, William Tell and Light Cavalry, Can-Can, Pachelbel’s Canon, Blue Danube Waltz, and selections from Swan Lake and La Traviata. Adds Simard, “The musicians are so familiar with these pieces.”

World premiere To further honour Nanaimo, the VI Symphony has commissioned a violin concerto by young Canadian composer Emily Doolittle especially for this evening. “To have violinist Calvin Dyck perform Emily’s new composition Sapling alongside great classical tunes is a perfect way to celebrate Nanaimo and Home,” says Simard.

And, how better to describe spring in Nanaimo than with musical movements titled Branching, Bending and Leafy Green. Says Dyck, “Each of the movements has their own character, and yet all flowing together. Branching is energetic, very Stravinskyesk, twiggy. Bending is much more lyrical, gentle waves of softness, like feeling the movement of the air. And Leafy Green is up-beat, cheerful and almost bouncy, happy and light; spring-like in several meanings of the word.”

“We close the show with My Homeland by Antonin Dvořák,” adds Simard. “It’s the perfect way to end this year’s Timeless Treasures as we head into celebrating our 20th season – in Nanaimo!”

Tickets - for Nanaimo-Home are available by calling 250-754-8550.

For more information visit:

Passport to Great Entertainment – Keeping Music LIVE!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

St. Petersburg - Courage with the Vancouver Island Symphony

The Vancouver Island Symphony presents
St. Petersburg - Courage
Guest Artists: Michael Kim, Piano
Stevan Paranosic, Trumpet
Conductor: Pierre Simard
Saturday, March 22, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Port Theatre, Nanaimo
Tickets: 250-754-8550

Envision the passion, courage, romance and exotic beauty of Russia’s cultural capital, seat of three revolutions.  On Saturday, March 22 the Vancouver Island Symphony, under the baton of the illustrious Pierre Simard, continues this season’s world-wide musical tour with a journey to St. Petersburg in an intimate concert of notable Russian works filled with heart-melting stories.

Joining the VI Symphony for this stunning and poignant performance are Michael Kim, Canadian pianist, international concert soloist and recording artist, and Stevan Paranosic, principal trumpet with the VI Symphony and member of The Victoria Brass.

Feel the passion - with Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, based on Songs for Children, and one of the most popular of Anton Arensky’s compositions. Passion and romantic tenderness of heart are presented by the strings of the orchestra as they exude Arensky’s wistful tribute to his own icon, Tchaikovsky.

Experience the courage - with Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra. This was originally an experiment by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1933 to create music with a neo-baroque combination of instruments. In and out of favour with the Russian Communist regime, Shostakovich spoke through his music, often with cheeky humour, and the Concerto No. 1 is certainly not without his unique voice.

Says Michael Kim, “I always jump at the chance to perform this Piano Concerto No. 1, because it has a really rare combination of trumpet and piano. It also combines the typical Shostakovich rhythmic and yet biting sarcastic comment about life in Russia at the time. With the Russian folk and dance elements it’s also fun, with even some rag time at the end. It has the clarity and transparency of a Mozart concerto, but also the deep moody Russian element.”

Says trumpeter Steven Paranosic, “Although it is a piano concerto there are moments where the trumpet gets to shine. It is written for a Bb trumpet, the preferred instrument of the Russian sound, which is broader and more strident. When I was a student, one of my professors said, ‘It’s simple… there are really only three things the trumpet must do: sing, dance and fanfare!’ This work brilliantly showcases the trumpet with all three styles – quirky dance-like interjections in the first movement, soulful lamenting in the second, and dazzling, almost sardonic fanfares in the last. The challenge for the trumpet is to not only meet the technical demands of the piece but approach each moment with complete musicality.”

Enjoy the romance - Alexander Borodin, a doctor, chemist, composer and dedicated husband, was an advocate for women’s rights and founder of the School of Medicine for Women in St. Petersburg. While his music was a secondary career, his compositions, like the Nocturne, filled with romantic charm, love, and enticing melody and harmony, are very familiar to audiences today.

Relish exotic beauty – Igor Stravinsky took inspiration from French 17th and 18th-century music for the traditional and soothing ballet Apollon Musagète, a story of Apollo, the Greek god of music, visited by three muses - dance and song, mime, and poetry. Exotic beauty permeates the music and the ballet, and, when the ballet was originally performed in 1928, the original exotic costumes were designed by Coco Chanel.

Come aboard for a journey to the wondrous city of St. Petersburg. Tickets are available by calling 250-754-8550

For more information visit:
Passport to Great Entertainment – Keeping Music LIVE!


LifeBridge Benefit Concert with Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir

LifeBridge Recovery Ministries presents the
LifeBridge Benefit Concert
With guest artists: Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir
And Abbotsford singer – Crystal Hicks
Saturday, March 8, 7 p.m.
Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church
2285 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford
Tickets: $20 at Level Ground Church Office (604-854-8181) and House of James

Helping people helping people - with music

Music touches the heart and soul. It is a universal language. Throughout recorded time music has carried news with travelling minstrels, told stories, taught lessons, and shared experiences. So what better way to tell of vital community work in Abbotsford than by having a concert with lots of fantastic music.

On Saturday, March 8 at 7 p.m. - at Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church (2285 Clearbrook Road) LifeBridge Recovery Ministries presents the LifeBridge Benefit Concert featuring the amazing sounds of the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir and popular local singer Crystal Hicks.

“Come and enjoy the great music,” says Keith St. Jean, director of LifeBridge. “Gail Suderman, the director of Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir, is well known in Abbotsford, as is Crystal Hicks.”

LifeBridge Recovery Ministries - While the concert is a fundraiser it is also about telling a story. “The main intent,” adds St. Jean, “is to spread the word about the work of LifeBridge. All funds raised will be going to this program which bridges the gap between church and community and helps people in recovery by means of mentoring, spiritual coaching and leadership training. LifeBridge helps people on the road to finding their life, their spiritual direction, and provides a foundation for their future.”

The success stories so far are many. “I just love this work,” says St. Jean. “I have a recovery background myself and I was hesitant to take on this position. Now I get excited starting my day, to see what’s coming.”

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir - Says Gail Suderman, founder of Good Noise, “LifeBridge has been trying to get us booked for two years.” And no wonder, this choir is exceedingly popular. Now in their tenth season, Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir has performed many benefit concerts for charitable organizations and recently shared the stage with Barbra Streisand, David Foster, Holly Cole, Dee Daniels, Jim Byrnes, to name a few famous artists. The choir has also appeared on many television shows, most recently ‘Gospel to Go’ for Vision TV.

Suderman is a classically trained musician and teacher at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “As a teen I loved listening to Motown, and came across a gospel singer named Andrae Crouch. I was hooked. While most of my life has been in the classical world of music, I still like to be a part of gospel. Ten years ago I thought there was a place for a gospel choir. We started out with 40 singers and now we have 90!”

Feel good music - “One of the reasons why we are and do what we do, and how I choose the music is to bring a sense of love and hope for people, for anyone in the audience. People have often come and told us that we have had an impact on their lives in a positive way.”

So be prepared for a very inspiring, energizing concert that includes music from the traditional to the contemporary, with Love Can Build a Bridge, some new arrangement of standards like Amazing Grace, Precious Lord Take My Hand, and songs by Richard Smallwood.

Tickets - are $20 and can be purchased at Level Ground Church Office, 31216 King Road (phone 604-854-8181) and House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford.

For more information visit: and