MINTY: Classical music series to kick off this fall

Arts and culture is a tricky business – sooo many facets and personal definitions. Ah, that is what makes art, perhaps: the many faces of those facets. Is the artistic interpretation a reflection of the cultural community based on ethnicity, social mores, language and geography? Of course, culture is all those things. We can blend the best of all the cultures surrounding us and have something special. We are not always successful with accepting and understanding other cultures. We can, however, keep trying.

Sometimes there are language barriers. Sure, I am told that you can enjoy an opera sung in Italian but honestly, I like to understand what is being sung. Just music, no singing, has universal appeal, I think, because the language of music is universal. It’s like dance. Translation not needed.

The City of White Rock and Music Encore Concert Society are copresenting a series of international classical performances. The music and performers are an eclectic cultural mix. The first concert is Sunday, Oct. 19, 3 p.m. start at White Rock First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Ave.

Performing will be the renowned Russian ensemble Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet. With four graduates from the prestigious Saint Petersburg Conservatory, the quartet regularly performs at key festivals in Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Malta, England, Switzerland and Finland. Mikhail Bondarev (violin), Ekaterina Belisova (violin), Alexei Popov (viola) and Anton Andreev (cello) are the current members of the string quartet.

On Oct. 19, artistic director Eugene Skovorodnikov will accompany the quartet to perform the dramatic "Quintet Op. 57" by Shostakovich and elegant miniature works by Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Liadov and Glasunov. Wow. This is impressive. For ticket information, visit Encoreconcerts. org or call 604-541-2199.

Elsewhere on the Peninsula, the White Rock Chamber Music Program has run an extremely successful concert series for many years. The next showcase is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11 at Crescent Gardens Retirement Residence, 1222 King George Blvd. Featured in the program are Reynhardt Crause (pianist/baritone), Ida Yang (harpist), Angelina Van Dyke (soprano), Grace Lin (pianist) and Ruth Francis-Lyster (violinist). Everyone is welcome, admission $5. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though; the music itself is wonderful, and is an affordable evening out. But you might like to know about Ida Yang. She is just nine years old, has been playing the harp for two years, has passed Level 4 and won an RCM gold medal. She also likes to read and paint. Her painting won second place in a national Remembrance Day poster contest. Ida’s harp is a lever harp with 34 strings – a tough instrument to play.

Grace Lin is 16 years old. Grace has been playing piano since she was four. Currently she is in ARCT in piano.

She has received trophies from South Fraser Valley Music Festival for violin solo in 2005 and 2006. In Grade 5, her writing was nominated for the Vancouver Youth Acting Society and they performed her story around Vancouver and South Surrey. Grace has a passion for helping children in developing countries and, upon graduation, hopes to become a pediatrician to help them. Grace is currently attending Semiahmoo Secondary in Grade 11 and is preparing for her ARCT exam with Canadian piano performer Jane Hayes.

Julie Lin is 14 years old and has been playing violin since she was five years of age. In June 2013, she was awarded first place in the Junior Provincial Music Competition in B.C., and played at Carnegie Hall last summer. Music lessons are not cheap, nor is a world-class violin. If you would like to support Julie in her violin studies and to help her save for a new violin, donations would be appreciated.

On stage, Mary’s Wedding (by Stephen Massicotte) will have a short run from Nov. 11 to 15 at the Black Box Theatre in White Rock Elementary. This Peninsula Productions presentation is a one-act play; tickets are $20,

One more thing: Newton Cultural Centre staffers are all agog with the recent opening of the Jim Adams exhibition, Mythic Sketches. At the exhibition opening, 19 paintings were sold. This is a record, no doubt.

Adams is a fabulous artist, is the epitome of multiculturalism and the arts and he lives in White Rock. He’s also a Surrey Civic Treasure and is on Surrey’s Public Art Advisory Committee. The show runs until Oct. 30 at 13530 72nd Ave. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week, all volunteer run by members of the Arts Council of Surrey.

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