Classical music will pop at Vancouver Island Symphony’s


The start of an outdoor concert series will take show-goers on a musical journey down Europe’s Camino de Santiago trail.

Vancouver Island Symphony’s Summer Pop-Up Concert Series starts on Thursday, July 6, and runs until Aug. 12, featuring three distinct presentations in Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo, Yellow Point and Cedar-by-the-Sea.

The Marko-Paolo Trio kicks off the series with early July concerts, featuring bassist Mark Beaty, flutist Paolo Bortolussi and violinist/accordionist Calvin Dyck. Joining the trio this year will be clarinetist Krystal Morrison, who Beaty said was an obvious addition because of her skill set.

The four-part trio will explore the music of France and Spain along the Camino de Santiago trail, which Beaty described as a world-famous spiritual pilgrimage.

While living in Spain, the bassist said he created plenty of connections and memories to the music of the area, and because of that, thought it would be fun to organize a concert around those influences.

“What I’ve heard with the Camino is that there’s little churches and cathedrals all along the way that have such history, all the way along that northern coast of Spain,” he said.

Beatty said the late fiddler Oliver Schroer’s album Camino, which featured recordings of the fiddler playing in those churches along the trail, was a great inspiration for the concept of the concert.

Along with tango and Canadian Maritime, the Marko-Paolo Trio will also feature music by Stan Rogers and a tribute to the late Gordon Lightfoot.

“Gordon’s music, I think, is so universal and so well-loved across Canada – and probably the world – that it translates pretty well to other genres and players,” Beaty said.

In late July, the VIS summer series continues with Sunlight Serenades, featuring Emily Nagelbach, Andrew Clark, Alana Lopez, Guyonne Le Louarn, and Alexandra Lee. The string, woodwind and brass musicians will perform Baroque and classical works by Haydn, Mozart, Bodinus, Kozeluch and Stoeltzel.

The concert series concludes in mid-August with Back Row Brass’ presentation of Imagination – an “entertaining hour of music, poetry, quirky opera and fun.” VIS outreach manager Rebecca Woytiuk joins the band to narrate “fun animal ditties” based on the poetry of Ogden Nash. Playing in the brass band will be Stevan Paranosic, Mark D’Angelo, Karen Hough, Jim Hopson and Nick Atkinson.

The symphony’s executive director, Margot Holmes, said that while the summer concerts may have been born out of necessity due to COVID-19 safety protocols in 2020, both show-goers and musicians have told her how much they enjoy the intimate outdoor series.

“It’s all those musicians they get to see on stage up close and hear what they have to say,” she said. “I think that is its biggest popularity – is the up close and personal … it’s not intimidating to go to a symphony show in somebody’s backyard.”

Ticket and show information for the Vancouver Island Symphony’s Summer Pop-Up Concert Series can be found online at www.vancouverislandsymphony.com.

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