Vancouver Bach Festival Wraps In Tribute to Saint Cecilia

After 11 days of beautiful music, the Vancouver Bach Festival came to a close last week with a celebration of the patron saint of musicians. Early Music Vancouver (EMV) presented Purcell Hail! Bright Cecilia at Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC.

Composed by English Composer Henry Purcell in 1692 to a text by Nicholas Brady, in honour of the feast of Saint Cecilia, it seems appropriate to wrap the festival and celebrate EMV 50th Anniversary with the work.

Pacific Baroque Orchestra photo: Jan Gates

The evening’s program was lead off by the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, led my music director Alexander Weiman, performing excerpts from “The Tempest” by Matthew Locke and John Blow’s “Welcome, Every Guest” featuring sopranos Dorothee Mields and Suzie LeBlanc.

After an interval, for the title performance, the Orchestra was joined again by sopranos Mields and Leblanc, as well as altos Alex Potter and Nicholas Burns, tenors Samuel Boden and Jonathan Quick, baritone Sumner Thompson, bass-baritone Matthew Brook. Backed by the 20 piece orchestra the singers performed in a variety of solos, duos and troupe through the work’s 13 movements. Hail! Bright Cecilia is a lively entertaining work, even after more than 3 centuries. The ever changing movements, varying singers and instruments makes Purcell’s work an accessible, engaging work for audience members new to the genre and Vancouver Bach Festival as a whole.

As a work created to celebrate the patron saint of musician makes Hail! Bright Cecilia the perfect cap on the 2019 Vancouver Bach Festival, which itself celebrates one of the greatest Baroque composers and musicians, as well as the beginning of EMVs 50th season.

If you missed the Vancouver Bach Festival, watch for Early Music Vancouver’s next presentation; Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites featuring Jeanne Lamon, Saturday September 29, 2019.

Picks of the Week – June 26, 2019

It’s already the end of June but brings us to the first long weekend of Summer and all the entertainment that Canada Day brings to the week’s picks.

Wu Tang Clan plays Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Jazz: The 34th Vancouver International Jazz Festival runs until July 1st with hundred of artists, performances and events, many free, taking place all over downtown Vancouver’s parks, theatres, restaurants and other venues

Arts: The 11th Annual Queer Arts Festival continues through June 28th at Roundhouse Community Centre

Dance: Let’s Hear It For Yaletown brings free Jazz and Dancing to Bill Curtis Square from noon – 2pm & 5-7:30pm Monday to Friday, the perfect way to spend your lunch time or relax after work.

Musical: Adapted from Roald Dahl’s novel about the precocious, pint-sized, imaginative student, Matilda the Musical is running at Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until July 14th.

Moms: A play you and your mom can enjoy Mom’s The Word 3 – Nest Half Empty, is playing at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, until July 20th

Pride: Surrey Pride is celebrating 20 years with Pride Party on the Plaza, a family-friendly festival at Surrey Central City, Saturday June 29th 3pm-8pm

Bard On The Beach
Bard On The Beach

Tents: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer

Diva: Thursday, stage legend & Golden Globe-winning actress Bernadette Peters joins the VSO, at the Orpheum, for a show filled with classic Broadway tunes, delivered in Peters’ unique and inimitable style.

Queen: The VSO presents a 100th anniversary gift to the community with a free outdoor concert, featuring Queen Latifah alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Saturday at Deer Lake Park.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Symphony In The Park

Park: On Sunday, June 30th the VSO and Music Director Otto Tausk return to Deer Lake for its 32nd annual free summer performance Symphony in the Park

Bats: Vancouver Canadians host a 6 game home stand against Spokane and Hillsboro from June 28 – July 3, including Fireworks nights on June 29 and Canada Day.

Puppets: Museum of Anthropologie’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

SoapOpera: Vancouver TheatreSports presents its newest show, Improv Mondays with Michelle – Fake Stories, Real Improvisers hosted by the character Michelle from the popular web comedic soap opera Michelle’s.

Canada Day Fireworks over Canada Place

Dominion: Celebrate Canada Day at any of the community celebrations around Metro Vancouver; including Canada Day at Canada Place, O Canada Day at Granville Island, Surrey Canada Day at Bill Reid Millenium Amphitheatre, Steveston Salmon Festival, West Van Canada Day at John Lawson Park, Historic Canada Day at Burnaby Village Museum, to name just a few of the events.

5 Mother’s Day Picks for 2019 That Aren’t Brunch

This Sunday, much of the world celebrates Mother’s Day. While each country & culture has its own traditions, here in North America, the 2nd Sunday in May usually includes brunch, flowers & family.

While a family meal with the matriarch is common, you might be looking for a different option to celebrate Mom. Here’s a five options for Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019, in Metro Vancouver that don’t include making reservations but do included doing something with Mom.

RUN: Blueshore Financial Mother’s Day Run presented by Westin Bayshore: start the day with a 3k, 5k, 10k family fun run / walk through scenic Stanley Park, from Ceperley Field to Coal Harbour with a festival-like wrap up at the finish line or brunch at Westin Bayshore.


LAUGH: Vancouver TheatreSports celebrates Moms everywhere with its ‘mother of all Mother’s Day shows’ – MOM=WOW – a special, one-performance-only, Mom-themed show just for her at 4:00pm, after toast mom with a sip and the sunny views of the marina from the Neil Macrae Bar & Lounge.

MUSEUM: Celebrate Mom at Burnaby Village Museum, from 11am to 4:30pm, with a day packed with special activities, exhibitions and crafts planned with Moms and families in mind, top off your visit with a visit to the Ice Cream Parlour for a slice of Mother’s Day lavender cheesecake & tea.

TREES: If you’ve taken Mom for a visit to enjoy the gardens of Queen Elizabeth Park, enhance your own urban forest with the Vancouver Park Board Tree Sale, any unclaimed or unpurchased trees from the online sale may be purchased for cash on between 2-4pm at Nat Bailey Stadium parking lot.

MATINEE: Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) Symphony Orchestra, joined by internationally renowned pianist and VAM alumnus Jon Kimura Parker, brings its season to a close with a riveting performance of Stravinsky’s vibrant, folk-inspired Suite from The Firebird, at The Orpheum at 2pm.

A Night at the Movies with China Broadcasting Film Symphony Orchestra

Cinema In Concert with CBFSO

The China Broadcasting Film Symphony Orchestra (CBFSO), brings the sounds of movies to The Orpheum Theatre on January 12th for one night only.

The Canada-China Culture Development Association presents an evening of cinematic masterpieces.  Cinema In Concert find the internationally-renowned CBFSO, led by acclaimed conductor Pang Ka Pang, performing dramatic scores from Oscar-winning films, while iconic scenes are projected above them.  One of China’s oldest and finest symphony orchestras, the 80-member ensemble will bring life to film scores of five Academy Award winning composers, including Braveheart, Casablanca, Jurassic WorldLegends of the Fall, and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as works from China’s cinema.

CBFSO Conductor Pang Ka Pang

Since forming in 1949, the CBFS Orchestra has performed and recorded music of nearly 2,000 films, TV dramas and documentaries. First touring abroad in 1992, the orchestra has now performed in more than 40 countries on five continents, working closely with renowned conductors, composers, dancers and performers.

During its performance at The Orpheum, the 80-piece orchestra will perform with special guest soloists from  the local Vancouver music community, including the 100-member local community choral group, the Vancouver Folk Song and Dance Troupe.

Cinema in Concert with the China Broadcasting Film Symphony Orchestra takes place Friday, January 12, 2018 at 8pm at The Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver. Tickets are on sale at

2nd Annual Vancouver Bach Festival Aug 1-11, 2017

Photo: Jan Gates

Following the success of last year’s festival, Early Music Vancouver welcomes the 2nd Annual Vancouver Bach Festival, August 1 – 11, 2017.   With performances at the Christ Church Cathedral downtown Vancouver, and at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC, EMV offers a remarkable program of 14 concerts, ranging from intimate chamber music programmes to a full Passion Oratorio, and features over 60 performers from around the world.

Inspired by the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation, this year’s festival is a celebration of music’s ability to transform and persuade. The festival honours the genius of Bach and other composers who were so profoundly shaped by Luther’s influence.  The Vancouver Bach Festival opens August 1st with Overtures to Bach, Canadian cellist Matt Haimovitz performing four of Bach’s Cello Suites.  The festival then reaches its stirring finale with Bach’s St. John Passion on August 11 at the Chan Centre.  Special guests performing in 2017 include two world-class vocal ensembles from Europe: Cinquecento and Gli Angeli Genève, whose internationally-acclaimed members will perform both as ensembles and soloists in other programmes throughout the festivities.

“Our second annual Vancouver Bach Festival is a celebration of music’s power to move people’s hearts and minds,” says Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “More than a historical examination, this year’s festival is an incredible opportunity to be inspired and transformed by wonderful music and gifted artists from all over the world.”

Even 250+ years after his death, J.S. Bach is still regarded as one of the greatest composers in Western musical history, his vast catalogue of beautifully crafted classics are still revered, studied, and reinterpreted by music lovers across the globe.

In addition to the musical programming Early Music Vancouver is offering a  series of free film screenings complementing some of the concerts as well as a range of expert talks. For a full program of the concerts, screenings and talks and to purchase tickets visit

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – Harry Potter Live Film Series

This weekend, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) played the second edition of the Harry Potter Film Series; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets live.  A full house at the Orpheum Theatre was filled with fans of the Potterverse.

Plenty of little wizards in robes roamed tried hard to contain their excitement as prepared to watch the second movie of the series, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra lead by guest conductor Justin Freer perform the film’s score live.  Perfectly in sync with the film, the live orchestra gave more depth to the film score and filled the auditorium with the familiar notes.  As the film progressed, the orchestra members faded into the background as the action took the fore and the music meshed perfectly.

VSO’s Harry Potter Live Film Series continues with the third film in the cinematic phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, July 13, 14 & 15, 2017. Tickets go on sale for part three April 19th.

The cinema also comes to the Orpheum May 10 and 11 when VSO at the Movies celebrates the 35th Anniversary of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos leads the orchestra through John Williams classic sci-fi score.

For more information and tickets visit 

Star Trek – The Ultimate Voyage Tour

Startrek_2016-04-09, 20 01 04This weekend, Star Trek – The Ultimate Voyage, The 50th Anniversary Concert Tour made the voyage to Vancouver.  A diverse audience of sci-fi fans, Trekers, and music lovers filled The Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver to hear and watch a trip down memory lane.

As the CineConcerts orchestra took the stage with conductor Justin Freer leading the first strains of the opening fanfare Star Trek fans have known since that first episode was broadcast in 1966.  The concerts and big-screen video montages take fans on a journey from The Original Series, through the last 50 years of Star Trek voyages aboard the Enterprise, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.   The clips delved into the 5 Star Trek series, the 12 films, their crews and their personal relationships that have given the franchise such longevity.

While very few won’t recognize the main theme fanfare even as it has adapted over years, there is still plenty more music to bring memories to the forefront.  Music from the various series; the villains themes, the gentle music of the intimate moments, the grand anthems of the action scenes, or the music from video games.  After the intermission the music of the video games were guest conducted by composer Ron Jones, before Freer took over the baton again.

Star Trek The Ultimate Voyage : The 50th Anniversary Concert Tour continues across North America until May, with Canadian dates this week in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.  If you’re near a show, take a trip down memory lane and get ready for the upcoming 2017 Star Trek series coming to CBS All Access.