Live, in-person classical music is returning to the mid-Island as the Vancouver Island Symphony brings back its Summer Pop-Up Concert Series.
From July 21 to Aug. 22 three small VIS ensembles will perform a series of concerts from Yellowpoint to the Comox Valley, including shows in Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Cedar, Lantzville and Parksville. Passes go on sale June 17.
VIS executive director Margot Holmes said they’ve decided to revive the outdoor concert series because of the “overwhelming response” they received when it was held last summer.
“What they got was an opportunity for this up-close and personal concert, but also discussion and talking and sharing from the musicians,” she said. “So a musician that would normally sit in the back row of the orchestra and somebody who might sit at the back of the theatre, they would not connect in that same way.”
Holmes said symphony musicians and patrons alike are excited for some in-person performance, the first the VIS has been able to offer since October. Like last year audience members will be asked to bring their own chairs, keep spaced-apart and wear masks upon entrance and exit. Holmes said attendance will be capped at 45, but if limits are eased when B.C. enters Step 3 of its reopening plan July 1 at the earliest, more tickets will be sold.
The series begins with the Back Row Brass Quintet – trumpeters Stevan Paranosic and Mark D’Angelo, horn player Karen Hough, trombonist Scott MacInnes and tuba player Nick Atkinson – whose repertoire will include Canadiana, show tunes, the Beatles and music from Disney films.
Next is the String Quartet and French Horn ensemble – horn player Andrew Clark, violinists Patricia Armstrong and James Mark, viola player Guyonne Le Louarn and cellist Alexandra Lee – which will perform works by Handel, Hoffmeister, Haydn, Telemann and Mozart.
Wrapping up the series is the Marco Paolo Trio – flutist Paolo Bortolussi, violin and accordion player Calvin Dyck and bassist Mark Beaty. The group will play pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and Ibert, as well as music inspired by classic French and Italian films.
Holmes said last year’s Summer Pop-Up Concert Series not only brought audience members and musicians closer together, but it also introduced many new people to the symphony.
“Part of the charm is that people talked to the musicians afterwards and our musicians talked to them and they could ask questions. So much more intimate and really casual,” she said. “So we actually ended up with a third of our audience were brand-new audience, had never been to the symphony before.”
WHAT’S ON … The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Summer Pop-Up Concert Series takes place across the mid-Island from July 21 to Aug. 22. A three-concert pass costs $142.50 and goes on sale June 17. Visit the Port Theatre website for passes and a list of dates and times.