Vancouver Island Symphony members Mike Broadley

Vancouver Island Symphony members Mike Broadley

Symphony whisks people around the globe with music

NANAIMO - VI Symphony unveils its 19th season: Passport to Great Entertainment.

The diversity of great world music is travelling to Nanaimo this year during the Vancouver Island Symphony’s 19th season.

The season, called Passport to Great Entertainment, takes audience members to one city each concert to experience flavours from around the globe.

The idea was to create concerts that revolved around a city where great music was born, said Pierre Simard, artistic director of the Vancouver Island Symphony.

“It’s a very strong season,” he said. “It’s really just great music. It’s fun music and it’s relevant music.”

This year’s season has timeless classics, such as pieces by Haydn and Tchaikovsky and popular pleasures people might not expect to hear a symphony perform such as The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby and Let It Be.

Simard said the Vancouver Island Symphony performances have a different feel than those put on by big city orchestras.

“Our concerts are always a celebration. There is always a dialogue a feeling of arriving and leaving the concert hall with something more,” he said.

Margot Holmes, executive director of the symphony, said the concerts are about more than what is happening onstage. She said for many patrons it’s about having a night out and socializing and connecting with people in the lobby before and after the concert. It’s about building a community.

This year’s Popular Pleasures series kicks off with Christmas Cirque Spectacular on Dec. 6 and 7. The Cirque de la Symphonie is returning to Nanaimo for this performance. Simard said feedback from the previous collaboration between the symphony and cirque was so positive the organization decided they had to bring them back.

The performance is a combination of music and acrobatics and dancing.

The series continues with Movie Music Mania in February and The Best of The Beatles in April 2014.

The Timeless Treasures series begins with Paris Romance and features guest artist Alexandre Da Costa on October 26 and continues with London Majesty in November, Madrid Passion in January and St. Petersberg Courage in March 2014.

The Timeless Treasures series ends with Nanaimo Home a special concert with guest artist Calvin Dyck. During the performance the audience gets to vote for the pieces they want to hear. It’s like a symphonic jukebox, said Simard.

“The audience participates in the music as the concert unfolds,” he said.

This year’s season also includes the show Nanaimo Bar None: showcasing supreme, scrumptious talent.

The performance features more than 170 award winning performers including dancers from Kirkwood Academy, the Wellington Secondary School Jazz Band, Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Holly Bright, the VIS Symphonic Choir and more.

The show isn’t included in the subscription packages and must be purchased separately.

For more information about the Vancouver Island Symphony’s 19th season please go to