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More classical music to come as Whistler Chamber Music Society forms

Three organizers plan two shows in 2017, four the following year



Time to get Bach to the classics.

Three classical music-loving Whistlerites have formed the Whistler Chamber Music Society (WCMS).

Alison Hunter, Laurie Van Leeuwen (both classically trained musicians), and classics-loving resident Jane Reid believe the time is right to establish such a music society, with the aim of "filling the gap" in the resort in the winter, fall and spring.

"When you go to Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concerts in (Olympic Plaza) in the summer, they are overwhelmingly popular. A lot of the audience are visitors, but there are also many locals," Reid says.

WCMS's first show was last October, when they brought Vancouver's Arbutus Ensemble to Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church. The show's success encouraged Reid and company to formalize the society and continue to bring performers to the resort.

"It was good. We had a good audience," Reid says.

"We tried to get the word out about it as best we could. I think everyone enjoyed themselves."

They intend to move forward cautiously, with the aim of making the concerts a financially viable enterprise.

"We will move forward by planning for two concerts in 2017 and a full season of four concerts next year," says Reid. "We're quite excited about it."

Rather than larger groups or full orchestras, WCMS can produce shows with ensembles of three to six performers, she adds. They want to bring brass, wind, string and piano to Whistler to play musically accessible concerts.

"We hope to have a variety through the season. They won't be all the same," Reid adds.

"Vancouver has a really healthy classical music scene. A lot of people play — and we will put feelers out by letting other chamber groups know."

Since Whistler is on the radar culturally these days, Reid says they are confident that they can get the performers, too.

The society's first concert in 2017 features Vancouver woodwind ensemble the Fireside Quintet, which is scheduled to perform on Sunday, March 5 at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church. (See an interview in an upcoming issue of Pique Newsmagazine.)

Advance tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for youth and are available at the Whistler Museum.

There is also a planned fundraising concert in June to support the next year's season, with further details to be announced.

"Most arts and cultural events need subsidization or grants. When you get professional musicians you are required to pay them a certain amount and we will have to do that," Reid says.

WCMS is currently a three-person group, though Reid says they would be happy to hear from people who want to join or make financial donations.

"That's how we've started, but things could change down the road," she says.

A website for the society is under construction. For more information on WCMS, contact whistlerchambermusic@gmail.com.