Percussionist and pals drum up support for Arts Umbrella in Surrey

Benefit concert features Sal Ferreras' Drum Heat ensemble Feb. 12 at Surrey Arts Centre

Percussionist and educator Sal Ferreras brings Drum Heat to Surrey Arts Centre on Friday

SURREY — When Sal Ferreras saw an opportunity to drum up support for Arts Umbrella activities in Surrey, he jumped at the chance.

The longtime percussionist and educator has revived his Drum Heat experience for a benefit concert planned for Friday, Feb. 12.

Every year or two since 1986, Ferreras has invited musician friends of his to bring their talents to the rhythm-centric collaboration. This time around, the event is at Surrey Arts Centre, with 14 players set to hit the stage.

“These are very talented people and it’s a good cause, so I’m very much pumped to be doing this in Surrey,” said Ferreras, who lives in Vancouver and commutes here as provost and vice-president of academic programs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

He’s also a board member of Arts Umbrella, which offers art-based programs to kids in Vancouver and Surrey.

In 2012, the non-profit organization opened a studio in South Surrey, followed by a smaller facility in North Surrey, at 13678 100th Ave.

“The two centres (in Surrey) are gaining momentum now,” Ferreras enthused. “The one at the Shops at Morgan Crossing, it’s a big studio there with classes for all kinds of kids, in movement, in drawing and some theatre, and we also have a smaller facility in North Surrey, near the hospital, where we offer a lot of outreach programs for kids who can’t afford to take classes or to pay for classes.”

The organization’s simple goal, he said, is to turn kids on to art of all kinds.

“Arts Umbrella has been in the business of doing this for a long time, since the ’70s in Vancouver, and so when we moved into Surrey three and a half years ago, we started very gradually but it’s been growing very steadily. The reason I want to do this concert is to raise some funds but also to raise more friends, so that more and more people can find out about Arts Umbrella.”

The concert in Surrey will feature Ferreras on stage with Cuban drummer Toto Berriel, Indian tabla player Cassius Khan, sax man Campbell Ryga, trumpeter John Korsrud, mandolinist John Reischman, 12-year-old piano whiz Ilhan Saferali, pianist Miles Black and bassist Jodi Proznick, along with fellow percussionists Paul Bray, Liam MacDonald, Gurp Sian, Rayman Bhuller and Karn Bhuller.

Event tickets are $50, or $125 for VIP admission that includes premium seating and a private reception. Tickets can be purchased online via a link at, or call 604-501-5566.

Those who go can expect an exhilarating and eclectic night of music – featuring Latin American, Brazilian, Cuban, Indian and other sounds – while helping to create arts opportunities for at-risk children in Surrey, Ferreras said.

“We’ll be presenting a mixture of different types of music in a context that’s just beyond drums, with the horns and stuff that comes from salsa, jazz and Caribbean,” he explained. “Some of the stuff is very traditional and some of it is very experimental but accessible. And I have a number of players who are very comfortable playing across the board and playing with each other. We’ve had many different collaborations over the years, which is sort of the spirit of Drum Heat, to just put people together to create things that weren’t there before, and to create new bridges across a number of different traditions.”

There is no fundraising goal for the concert in terms of dollar amount, he added.

“We just want to fill the house and also just raise awareness of the important work that Arts Umbrella does that continues to be necessary,” Ferreras said. “Schools have fewer and fewer resources to provide cultural training, arts training of any sort, and we’re filling a gap there that is really necessary, and we’re doing it more than willingly.”



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