Members of Nanaimo’s Fiddelium ensemble rehearse at Nanaimo District Secondary School. On May 10 they perform at the Port Theatre. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo fiddle ensemble to play transitional show this week

Port Theatre concert will be final performance for some key departing members of Fiddelium

When the curtain falls on Fiddelium’s upcoming concert at the Port Theatre on May 10, three integral members will take a final bow.

Nine-year member Quin Etheridge-Pedden, five-year member Maya Florey and one-year member Alexandra Wiebe are leaving the Nanaimo fiddle ensemble, as is Micaela Pereira, an original member along with Etheridge-Pedden, who pulled out of the concert due to injury.

“It’s kind of bittersweet in a way,” Fiddelium co-director Geoff Horrocks said. “They’re really talented kids and they’ve really grown in this group and I think this will probably launch them into greater things.”

Local dulcimerist Rick Scott is back to host the event, which will feature guest musicians J.J. Guy from Saskatoon and recent Order of Canada member Gordon Stobbe from Halifax, who together form Western Canadian Music Award nominated duo Twin Fiddles. The show will also include visual art by Island artist Alex Peck-Whyte.

Wiebe, 17, said she regrets not joining Fiddelium sooner.

“It’s going to be sad for me because I didn’t really get involved with any of the fiddle groups when I was younger just because I didn’t really like doing social stuff,” said Wiebe, 17. “But I just wish I could have been doing it longer because I really enjoy being around people now.”

“It’s made such a huge difference to my life and I just really enjoy the community,” added Florey, 18, who plays the guitar. “And just being able to play music with such great people, I’m going to really miss that.”

Etheridge-Pedden, 17, said he values his time with the group but looks forward to striking out on his own.

“Sometimes there needs to be a change of scenery almost, right? And I think that’s for the better,” he said. “I will be a little sad but it’s time, I think, to move on.”

Pereira, 20, will be singing during one song and will spend the rest of the evening cheering from the audience. She said she’s going to be feeling a lot of joy for the group.

“It’s definitely a little heartbreaking to not be able to be up there playing with them, but I’m really happy for them and I’m happy to be able to see the show come together they way it has,” she said.

The four members said playing with the group taught them the importance of working as a team and they noted that playing with other talented musicians was motivation to keep practising and improving.

The departing members are keen to continue their musical journeys. Etheridge-Pedden, who has already released an album and a single, plans to pursue music professionally, Florey is heading to Vancouver Island University this fall but said she’s starting to record a CD and Wiebe, also bound for VIU, plans to continue her lessons with Horrocks and hopes to keep playing barn dances. Pereira is currently enrolled in VIU’s jazz program.

“It’s great that they’re going to be moving on; it’s bad for us because we’re losing really strong players, but out of the ashes rise new life…” Horrocks said. “[They] have been these role models for these younger kids, so they’ve set the bar for these kids. These kids will probably exceed it.”

WHAT’S ON … Fiddelium performs at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m. All seats $18. Available at the Port Theatre box office.

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