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An artistic alliance

For the second year, LCMS and Kwantlen’s music departments are joining forces and offering the public some top quality entertainment
Cellist Joel Stobbe

Building on last spring’s Musical Offerings, faculty from a pair of Langley music schools will once again join forces in a “renewed artistic alliance” while offering a gift of music to the community.

The event — happening on Saturday, Jan. 14 — now includes a member of the Langley Community Music School faculty. Cellist Joel Stobbe is joining Calvin Dyck (violin) Jane Hayes (piano) and Paolo Bortolussi (flute), of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University music department, to participate in a day of music lessons, capped off with a concert in Rose Gellert Hall.

There are a couple of changes audiences will likely notice if they attended the first annual collaboration between LCMS and KPU faculty last April.

This year, Stobbe will speak to Kwantlen students while the trio of university instructors offers master classes to LCMS students throughout the day. The classes are open to the public, and the day will once again culminate with a free public concert at 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve often seen the need for collaboration between Kwantlen and LCMS,” said Stobbe, who’s excited to be participating in the project this year, though he’s performed with frequently with all three of the other musicians.

“We’re never an island and it’s important to build relationships,” he said.

By doing something like this, Stobbe said, “you get a broad spectrum of opinions on music and performance styles. I’m looking forward to it very much.”

During his time as a student in Munich, Germany, Stobbe enjoyed being able to take in some of the many live musical performances which were always happening in the European city.

“It’s a wonderful thing for anyone, and this is a small step toward that,” he said of the Jan. 14 show.

“It’s an opportunity to hear wonderful musicians working together.”

Because both of the participating schools have received public funding, it’s important for people to see where their tax dollars are going, said Stobbe.

“There’s so much that goes into creating a musical product,” he said. And it’s important audiences understand that the hour long concert or five-minute piece they’re hearing is the result of hundreds of hours of work.

Pianist Jane Hayes, who has been an instructor at Kwantlen since the music department opened in 1993, agrees that bringing high quality concert performances to the area is vital.

“Langley is just far enough outside Vancouver that it’s desperate for a cultural infusion,” she said. “This is a chance to bring a high level of music to the front door of the community.”

Beyond the evening’s performance, during which she has something a little special planned (involving, of all things, golf tees which will make her piano sound like a steel drum), Hayes is looking forward to working once again with students who are often quite a bit younger than the ones she teaches at the university.

“What’s interesting for a pianist is that you’re often getting kids who are so bright, but they’re not necessarily going into music.

“They’re so multi-talented and so open — they’re at that point in life where they’re open to anything you can throw out,” she said.

The day’s combination of master classes and concert is invaluable, Hayes added, because it removes that barrier students often feel when watching professionals perform.

After, all, these are the same people the students have spent the day working with.

“We teach, we work, we offer ideas and experience and then we turn around at night and put our best on the line,” laughed Hayes.

The title of this year’s evening performance — Music Concert —reveals little about what the program actually offers, but it will include pieces by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Villa Lobos, Vaughan Williams, Dorothy Chang and Steven Chatman.

“This year, there is some great traditional repertoire,” said Bortolussi.

“There’s a piano trio in D minor by Mendelssohn — I will play the violin part on flute.”

In fact, he will adapt two separate violin parts for the Jan. 14 concert.

“I’m all about stealing violin pieces lately,” he laughed.

“A lot of people will be familiar with the pieces, but not these incarnations.”

A lack of material from the 1800s makes the effort necessary, he explained.

“There was a big hole in flute repertoire in the 19th century.

“It was a fashionable parlour instrument, but it didn’t make it into the major works because none of the big composers were writing for flute at the time.”

Like his colleagues, Bortolussi sees the collaboration as a wonderful opportunity for both schools.

“Part of (the reason for the day) is to publicize that there is a path (to a career as a professional musician) that is in Langley. It is a less expensive option.”

The fact that Kwantlen now offers four year bachelor’s degrees in music  means local students can complete their post-secondary education close to home, Bortolussi added.

“This is a challenging time for arts in general,” he said. “Money is tenuous.

“The more institutions like LCMS and Kwantlen can band together and create a more cohesive scene, so we’re not stepping on each other’s toes, it’s good.”

The master classes, which are open  at no charge to the public, will be held on Jan. 14 at 2:30 p.m., and the free concert will begin in Rose Gellert Hall at 7:30 p.m LCMS is located at 4899 207 St. Call 604-534-2848