Musical medley part of VCM Presents series

Conservatory concerts offer jazz, classical, new and re-arranged music

Guitarist  Rob Cheramy

Guitarist Rob Cheramy

The haunting rumble of the 103-year-old organ shook the pews in Alix Goolden Hall at the hands of seasoned organist Nicholas Fairbank. Immediately following him was the shiver-inducing voice of Kathryn Whitney, then a piano duel performance, followed by an improv jazz number.

The mini-concert Tuesday offered “a taste” of what’s to come in the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s “VCM Presents” concert series, said conservatory dean and artistic director, Jamie Syer.

The lineup “fits the idea that this is going to be a series that makes the music come off the stage.”

Starting next month and running until May 2012, the series includes six shows from a wide range of musical talents from Greater Victoria and away.

It begins with the Cecilia String Quartet, which won the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition. The four women – Min-Jeong Koh and Sarah Nematallah play violin, Caitlin Boyle, the viola, and Rachel Desoer, cello – perform Sunday, Oct. 16 at Alix Goolden Hall.

The next day at 5 p.m. they play a special master class concert for conservatory students and the public in Wood Hall off Johnson Street. Admission to the Monday performance is by donation.

On Nov. 20, faculty members play a variety of compositions by conservatory artists, including two pieces that will be played for the public for the first time. The program includes rearrangements of contemporary music on cello, viola, guitars and percussion.

The next concert is January Jazz with trumpeter/pianist Brad Turner. He’ll join up with faculty member Joey Smith on bass, George McFetridge on guitar and Gordon Clements on sax.

Later comes “Duelling Pianos” in February, the Faculty Spotlight in April and Sara Davis Buechner on piano in May.

“There’s very good variety,” Joey Smith said of the series. “It covers all the different aspects of the conservatory.”

Syer said the goals of VCM Presents – it’s the first series of its kind at the conservatory – are to bring touring artists to Victoria, to give an outlet for faculty to perform and to create concert opportunities for people who love to play.

People attending the concerts might find themselves enjoying a different musical style, he added.

“Whatever you think is your favourite (style), come for it all, because you might be surprised.”

Ticket information is available at the conservatory office, 900 Johnson St., online at www.vcm.bc.ca or by calling 250-386-5311.

All scheduled performances happen at Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora Ave.

ecardone@vicnews.com

Conservatory kids

• As part of VCM Presents, the conservatory hosts a Children’s Concert Series with mini-lessons and presentations for kids and adults.

• The first is Carnival of the Animals (Oct. 8 at

3 p.m., Wood Hall). Other concerts are The Magic Flute in February and The Little Prince in May.

• Tickets: $30 for the series or $12 per concert for kids; $35/$15 for adults.