Backyard concert in South Surrey aids school music program

SOUTH SURREY — You’re sipping wine among friends at an intimate backyard barbecue that’s hosting a scintillating jazz trio. The scent of fresh peach-blueberry pie wafts over mile-high pine trees that enclose the property at a private benefit bash.

Last Tuesday (Aug. 26)’s affair at the Skepast family home in South Surrey played host to two musical acts — the Skepast Trio, a three-piece jazz band made up of teen prodigies, and popular Vancouver-based band the Star Captains, a neo-soul, jazz fusion quintet — for an evening of music and charity.

The live-music barbecue raised money for Semiahmoo Music Society, a not-for-profit that supports the Semiahmoo Secondary band and music program, and aimed to bring exposure to prodigious students and alumni of the school’s music program.

"There’s been a lot of people working on it for a really long time – not just that event but the whole community. The arts community really pulled together," said Jim Black, guitarist of the Star Captains, which headlined the event.

Black, an active community member who’s co-ordinated musical acts for White Rock’s annual Spirit of the Sea festival for several years, is an alumnus of the Semiahmoo music program.

"This event for me was actually kind of the crescendo," he said, noting that he had been working with the high school students on other projects leading up to the event.

"It was really what we were working for. Two hundred people paid really good money to hear kids play avant garde music…. I’m really excited for what we can do now in White Rock."

Though the cost of providing food and hosting the show may have taken a few dollars, Black noted that the evening achieved what it was meant to.

"I think this event was more about awareness about what we’re doing because it was a lot to put that on," Black said, noting that there was also a 50/50 draw and additional donations.

"These people support the music society all year round. We were just trying to go big so people can see the potential."

Black said each person helping with the event volunteered their time and didn’t take a cut, including his band.

Black said he couldn’t be more proud of the students who performed.

"There are all these kids in White Rock and it’s a pretty exciting time and they’re all coming to an age where they’re becoming young professionals," he said.

For those who missed it, the benefit show is gearing up to go more public than ever as Alive Drive Interactive (ADI), an interactive media technology company, filmed and engineered the event as a pilot to a livemusic series.

ADI is also recording a similar series from White Rock’s Coast Capital Playhouse called Music from the Coast.

"That wasn’t a high school recital, that was a real jazz performance," Black said of the Skepast Trio’s performance.

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