Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestral will be performing J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Concert revives music from the pre-1800s

Music made before the 1800s has a special place in Rondallyn Perras’ heart.

Music made before the 1800s has a special place in Rondallyn Perras’ heart.

The Victoria resident has always been interested in music from the medieval ages, the Renaissance, and up to early classical music.

“I love the drama of it. It’s like opera in many ways, there’s a lot of passion, a lot of the time there’s nothing too quiet about it. It can make quite a splash, that’s what attracted me to it,” said Perras, who played the violin as a child.

“Plus there’s a lot of ecclesiastical influence and I quite enjoy that. It’s a historical perspective…It’s just a general appreciation for the arts and music in particular.”

One way she’s been able to continue her love for early music by being the president and board chair of the Early Music Society of the Islands.

The volunteer-run society, which has roughly 200 members, mostly aged 50 years and older, was founded in 1985 to promote an interest in historically-informed performances of music composed before 1800.

Years ago, Perras began attending the annual society concerts. Shortly after she was asked to help at a book sale fundraiser for the society and has been hooked ever since.

According to Perras, music before the 1800s is different compared to other types of music in that it encourages audiences to learn more about the music both beforehand, with the pre-concert talks (talks before the show that sometimes include a back and forth with the artistic director and artists spokesperson) and after.

“There’s a visceral part, where you can just go in and enjoy, but you get hooked. You say ‘why was this composed and when?’ and you go into the history of it as well,” Perras said. “It’s quite an educational component, but it gives people a basic understanding and hopefully helps them enjoy the music more.”

Every year the society presents an annual concert series of music from the middle ages to the early classical age at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall. However, this year, the summer concert is moving to the Christ Church Cathedral for a co-presentation of J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor this week.

As part of the performance on Saturday, Aug. 6, conductor Alexander Weimann will lead eight internationally-renowned soloists and Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestra on period instruments.

In the past, the concerts have drawn anywhere from 250 to 800 people.

Tickets can be purchased at the McPherson Playhouse, Long and McQuade, Ivy’s and Munro’s Books or at the door.