By Niomi Pearson
Trombonist Linda Pearse is bringing Baroque back for a benefit concert that will help young local musicians with their studies at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music.
Pearse, a former Yellowpoint resident, returns to the Island Nov. 27 with ¡Sacabuche!, a sackbut and cornetto ensemble based out of Indiana specializing in 16th and 17th century music.
Pearse said it will be the first time in several hundred years since some of the works performed during the concert will have been played in public.
“Music of the 17th century unfolds at a time of great cultural and social change,” she said. “It was recognized that the sun did not, as previously thought, orbit the Earth, and faith and the role of religion in everyday life were questioned in a much more critical way. These developments are related to a shift in musical style.”
Dramatic leaps and chromatic passages became popular musical devices, and instrumental works displayed flamboyant and breathtaking virtuosity, Pearse said.
“[The] music becomes a bit crazy.”
The sackbut, from which the ensemble gets its name, is a trombone from the Renaissance period used often in Baroque style music.
“I love the gentle sound that the sackbut makes. It is particularly well-suited to accompany voices and blend with the organ,” Pearse said. “Audience members will be surprised at the sonorous beauty of the instrument with this funny name.”
The concert will feature the voices of tenor Benjamin Geier and countertenor Steven Rickards, and violinists Martie Perry and James Andrewes.
Pearse grew up in Yellowpoint and studied piano with her nana from a young age, and first developed her love of the trombone in North Oyster Elementary School.
She would later move to Montreal to pursue a jazz degree, and then spent a year in South Africa before heading to Europe for almost 10 years. While there, she was introduced to the Baroque trombone through teacher Abbie Conant.
“I fell in love with the detailed mannerisms and the improvisatory approach to playing that mirrors the jazz of my youth in so many ways,” she said.
Pearse now lives in Sackville, New Brunsick, as the newly appointed assistant professor of music (brass specialist) at Mount Allison University. Three times a semester, Pearse travels to Indiana to teach Baroque trombone at the Jacobs School of Music Early Music Institute.
Pearse said she felt compelled to support the Nanaimo Conservatory by giving the very gift she learned during her time there.
“The scholarships that they provide for youth benefits our future musicians not only financially, but also psychologically,” she said. “I studied music theory through the conservatory as a child, and I benefitted from a scholarship that was put towards my studies at McGill University.”
The benefit concert will take place at St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 2 p.m. on Nov. 27. Tickets are $20. Please call 250-754-4611. For more information, please visit www.sacabuche.com.