The Abbotsford Youth Orchestra will be special guest performers at the Symphony by the Sea event on Aug. 12. (Photo submitted)

Symphony performs in the park

Symphony by the Sea harmonizes visual impact and music by top-notch artists

Conductor Calvin Dyck is looking to win hearts with this month’s Symphony by the Sea.

The free summertime concert at Maffeo Sutton Park on Aug. 12 is a taste of the Vancouver Island Symphony without the ticket price or theatre seating.

People can lay a blanket on the grass, unfold a lawn chair; bring a picnic lunch and their children for a live show that’s set to harmonize music and visual impact. From symphony classics to movie music from Star Wars and Rocky; the tango-performing Abbotsford Youth Orchestra, a circus performer and cowboy musicians, it’ll all happen on stage at the park.

Symphony by the Sea has become a real community event over the years, said Dyck.

“I remember we were playing some music and some kids got up and spontaneously started dancing and I thought, ‘oh that’s great, that can only happen in the park,’” he said. “So it’s a very relaxed, participatory type environment.”

People have said classical music is this distant, inaccessible art form, but when it’s brought into a relaxed environment, people recognize the tunes, said Dyck.

The outdoor concert traditionally attracts the largest audience the symphony all year, with up to 5,000 people listening in. Normally it would cost about $60 to go see the symphony and this is a chance to see it for free, said Dyck, who also says these are musicians who’ve spent their lives perfecting their art, are top-notch and arguably some of the best in B.C.

He hopes people fall in love with the symphony and come see them again.

“I would just love to invite everyone to experience it. If you don’t come out, you won’t know what you’ve missed,” he said.

The concert begins at 6 p.m. on Aug. 12 at Maffeo Sutton Park. People are encouraged to wear red and white to continue the Canada 150 celebrations. Donations can also be made to support the event.