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Vancouver Island Symphony presents new ‘pop up’ outdoor concert series

Small ensembles will perform in backyards in the Nanaimo area and beyond
Vancouver Island Symphony members Heather Walker and Calvin Dyck are among those who will be performing as part of the new Summer Pop Up Concert Series. (Photos courtesy HA Photography/Ron Peters)

The Vancouver Island Symphony is presenting its first concerts since COVID-19 forced an early end to its 2019-20 season.

Starting July 8, and running until Aug. 22, the VIS is presenting its new Summer Pop Up Concert Series at nine outdoor locations from Saltair to Courtenay/Comox, including shows in Nanaimo, Cedar, Yellowpoint and Lantzville.

VIS CEO Margot Holmes said professional musicians and arts organizations everywhere have been “hit very hard” by the pandemic and the concert series is a way to offer small concerts in a safe environment.

“They’re all outside, where we could have social distancing, and at the same time support our musicians,” she said. “And the other side of that is also that people are missing their symphony. They’re missing live music and so again [it’s] a way to offer it in a small way to our people that love their symphony.”

Each location will host four rain-or-shine concerts by small VIS ensembles, including a flute, violin and bass trio, a string quartet with two French horns, a brass quintet and an oboe, clarinet and bassoon trio. Concerts are only offered in four-show series packages.

“Most of it will be light and fun-loving summer music, in-the-garden kind of concept, where the birds will be singing and the animals making their noises,” Holmes said. “It’s kind of hard to do super serious music when all those things are happening behind the scenes.”

In order to adhere to public health orders, attendance will be limited to 40 people. Attendees will need to bring their own chairs, hand sanitizer and non-alcoholic beverage and must agree not to attend if they are feeling sick. Masks and gloves are optional.

For those unable to attend, the concerts will be recorded for future viewing and Holmes said a fall and winter series is also planned. She said concert hosts are excited to welcome the symphony players to their property.

“You normally see them onstage miles away from you,” she said of the performers. “And so now it’s going to be really quite an intimate performance for 40 people in your backyard.”

WHAT’S ON … VIS Summer Pop Up Concert Series takes place in multiple locations from July 8 to Aug. 22. Four-concert series packages are $250. Tax receipts will be provided. Tickets and more information available online.

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