White Rock Chamber Music Concerts needs some help. For decades, this very successful series of monthly concerts has presented to the community both emerging and professional musicians. Admission to these concerts is by donation - usually $5. Now the Oct. 13 concert has been cancelled.
These concerts, held at Pacific Carlton Retirement Residence at no charge, cannot continue at this venue due to insurance protocol, although concerts have been a regular feature at this location for many years. It is an issue now because insurance does not cover public use of the facility.
This puts the society in a difficult situation, with no suitable venue immediately available for concerts. The programs, offered at the nominal charge due to no overhead, has allowed the society to offer scholarships to young musicians of the Semiahmoo Peninsula; the concerts are also appreciated by the residents of the retirement home. The music society would really love to continue the programs, and a full schedule is already in place for the next several months. All that is needed is a suitable venue. Got any ideas? Contact Sharon Jones at 604-535-2204 or email@example.com, or Ellen Neal at 604-536-6945 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, really sorry you might miss your monthly concert date? Never fear! Here is an alternate.
Westcoast Harmony Chorus is offering a sneak peek of the program they are taking to international competition in Denver later this month. This "dress rehearsal" is at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Parkland Fellowship church, at the southeast corner of 96th Avenue and 160th Street, Surrey. Admission is by donation at the door. It won't be a very long show, so, as my friend Margaret Sampson says, "You'll be home in time to get your beauty sleep."
Westcoast Harmony Chorus is part of the worldwide Sweet Adelines organization, involving about 25,000 women - likely the largest group of women who sing. The organization was founded in Oklahoma in 1945. There are about 30 regions, mostly in the U.S., but there are singers in Britain, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Germany, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, even Dubai! All women, all singing four-part harmony, a capella.
This international competition is a big deal to Sweet Adelines. There will likely be about 10,000 in attendance at the Denver competition. "Imagine singing in front of an audience where every single woman can sing! And they are pretty discriminating; they know when chords ring and overtones appear!" says Margaret. I find it just daunting to sing at all, let alone in front of thousands who know if you are on the right note or not. Our fearless group from Surrey won gold in regionals in 2011 and silver in the international competition in 2010.
Margaret is afraid that all these facts are dry and uninteresting to readers. But, she adds, "The exciting part is that singing four-part harmony, a cappella, is a wonderful, thrilling experience. Westcoast Harmony Chorus continually tests the boundaries of traditional barbershop (in fact, we usually avoid using the word 'barbershop,' as it seems to have a negative connotation: corny and dated). We sing traditional barbershop, but also some very modern material, often very challenging but fun and entertaining arrangements. Folks who attend one of our performances for the first time are typically surprised and delighted with what they experience. They have no idea how good we really are." Yes, I am using a lot of Margaret's own words that must have caused her pain to write, as she is recovering from a broken shoulder. She can't drive yet, but still makes it to the extra rehearsals to get ready for the international competition. This group - not just Margaret - has dedication, determination and drive. Let's sneak them a peek and wish them well.
While filling up your social calendar, don't forget to include White Rock Players' production of Who Walks in the Dark at the Coast Capital Playhouse (1532 Johnston Rd., White Rock) from Oct 10 to 27.
After all, Halloween would not be complete without a scary tale from the White Rock Players. Tim Kelly's Who Walks in the Dark is based on Bram Stoker's suspense novel The Jewel of Seven Stars, his followup to Dracula. Nuff said. Oh, except director Paul Kloegman has put together a very strong cast for this thriller. Kloegman himself will be seen on stage at the Arts Club's Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage from Oct. 18 to Nov. 18 in a production of She Stoops to Conquer. Dean Paul Gibson, another South Surrey alum, directs this classic.
For Who Walks in the Dark, shows are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with a matinee curtain at 2: 30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students, seniors and CCS members, inclusive of taxes and fees. For more details, call the box office at 604-536-7535 or visit www.whiterockplayers.ca.
Good choices all around. Yes, I already have booked tickets for all these events, so don't try reaching me at home. I'm not there.