Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Russia: Love It or Leave It - Benefit concert for Bakerview Music Academy

Calvin Dyck wearing one of his many hats
Presenting a benefit concert for
Bakerview Music Academy
Russia: Love It or Leave It
Featuring Calvin Dyck, violin
and Betty Suderman, piano
Sunday, March 2, 3 p.m.
Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church
2285 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford
Tickets: $20 (plus taxes) at Kings Music and House of James

Transforming children’s lives
through music

Betty Suderman at the piano

Violinist and teacher Calvin Dyck, known throughout Abbotsford for the popular Songs Strings & Steps concerts and for his own virtuosic playing, is donning yet another hat – as teacher and board member with the Bakerview Music Academy, the newly established school of music in Abbotsford that offers free lessons for disadvantaged children.

Russia: Love It or Leave It – In a benefit concert for the Academy, on Sunday, March 2 at 3 p.m., following the Russian Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Calvin will be wearing his director and virtuosic artist hats. He will be joined by pianist Betty Suderman and guests in a program filled with beautiful, energizing, exciting, heart-gripping music of Russia and the Ukraine. And, of course, there will be hats!

The Academy – “The Bakerview Music Academy was started in September of 2013 and is based on El Sistema of Venezuela,” explained Calvin. “Since 1975, El Sistema has effected positive social change through the power of music, inspiring and transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

“We currently have 33 children enrolled and our hope is to expand the program by next fall. Children come after school on Tuesday and Thursday, get a snack, have a one-hour group lesson on violin, cello or piano, and then an hour of choir. We provide the students with professional instruction, instruments and music stands. We did our first presentation in December to standing room only. It was so heart-warming to see parents and grandparents watching their children in their first recital.”

For all children – “We are working closely with local schools to give children, who do not have the economic means, a chance to study music. The idea is to give them a first-class experience in music, partly for the musical experience but also to help build self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment.”

Volunteers and students – Calvin, who is now called Dr. D by the children, added, “We have some really great volunteers who help put the snacks together, walk the children from the schools and sit in the classrooms. We also have some senior students from the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra helping out. This gives them a chance to learn to be teachers as well as get a small income.”

Fundraising – The cost for each student is about $1,500 annually. The academy relies totally on donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. So, Calvin and Betty are taking to the stage in this, their next great musical adventure, to not only help raise funds, but to create awareness of the program and give the audience an afternoon of sensational music, delightful entertainment - and surprises.

On the program – From Gypsy and powerful Russian favourites to familiar classics, Calvin and Betty will captivate the audience with the dramatic and tantalizing Dark Eyes; highlights from the Nutcracker, featuring local dancer Eric Bruendl (who has danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet); the gentle Vocalise and passionate Lara’s Theme (Somewhere my Love) from Dr. Zhivago; Romeo and Juliet, accompanied by dancers from the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance; music by Stravinsky and Beethoven; and Vehrlos und Verlasse.

“Short vignettes between sets of music tell the emotional tale of the Mennonite migration from Russia and the Ukraine,” said Calvin as he launched into an amazing story of how his own grandparents came to Canada. “We want to reflect a bit on that history, both to remember and to be thankful for this country. There’s a connection here in this concert for all Mennonites - and all music lovers.”

Then in a stirring, toe-tapping finale, Calvin (wearing the appropriate hat) and Betty conclude Russia: Love It or Leave It with the vibrant and seductive Czardas. “I just love Gypsy music,” said Calvin. “It’s in my blood!”

Tickets: $20 (plus taxes), are available at Kings Music and House of James.


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