Skip to content

BIZ BEAT: Music finds a new home in Port Alberni

Businesses growing, evolving and celebrating in the Alberni Valley
Krista Wells, Chris Dooyeweerd and John Dryden make music at Noteable Music on Gertrude Street in Port Alberni. (TERESA BIRD/ Alberni Valley News)


Alberni Valley News

When Chris Dooyeweerd and Krista Wells moved their home-based business to a retail space in January 2020, they didn’t anticipate a pandemic would bring discord to their dream of bringing more music to the Alberni Valley.

“We are steadily growing now,” says Wells, sitting in the cosy room where she teaches children to play piano and other instruments. “We have more than 100 students registered and just hired two new teachers.”

Noteable Music offers a treble of services for musicians of all ages and abilities: lesson academy, retail sales and instrument repairs.

Lessons are available in piano, voice, guitar, bass, ukulele, violin, viola, cello, flute and drums and registration is ongoing throughout the year. While lessons for a specific instrument start at about age six, lessons are offered for any age or ability. Wells has been teaching music for 20 years and worked with children for 30. From Port Alberni, Wells studied with Pat Miller as a student and then took the jazz studies at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) before teaching for seven years at Arbutus Music in Nanaimo.

“I also have a bachelor’s degree in social work and I incorporate therapeutic methods into lessons,” says Wells. “We really believe music education should be accessible and inclusive.”

Bass and guitar are taught by senior instructor John Dryden, who was a professional bass player in Vancouver for several years and toured with several bands around North America and Europe including Trooper, with whom he also recorded a gold album.

“I teach students to perform on stage in bands,” says Dryden. “If you want to play in front of 50,000 people, maybe you should talk to someone who has played in front of 50,000 people.”

Retail sales of instruments, music and accessories as well as instrument repairs are Dooyeweerd’s purview. The shop carries 300 brands of electric guitars, acoustic guitars, basses, other stringed instruments, drum kits and percussion instruments, as well as microphones, headphones, recording gear, strings, cables, picks, etc.

“We are here to fully support local music,” says Dooyeweerd.”I have been working on guitars since I was a teen and have worked for a variety of luthiers over the years.”

He can repair “anything with strings except pianos and harps” and specializes in setting up instruments to the musician.

Noteable Music is located in Southgate Centre on Gertrude Street next to Orestes Greek Kouzina.


The quality of life in Port Alberni has lured acupuncturist Ludmilla Lyle back to Port Alberni.

“My experience growing up in Port Alberni is a big part of who I am now,” says Lyle. ”I have travelled and lived in some amazing places. I started thinking about my daughter and my parent and the family here, the small town connection.”

So Lyle has brought her holistic approach to healing home, joining the Port Alberni Physiotherapy Clinic on Gertrude Street.

Lyle has a master’s diploma in traditional Chinese medicine, is a registered acupuncturist and yoga instructor. She has studied nutrition, QiGong, Reiki, cupping, herbology, homeopathics and chakra healing. She spent seven years training around the world including 600 hours of advanced yoga training in India. She has operated health food stores and worked with high level athletes in Whistler.

Her passion for holistic health started in Port Alberni though where she studied Akido and Tai Chi as a student. While living in Port Alberni’s twinning city in Japan, an injury during a Judo training led to studying complementary medicine in Victoria in 1995 and a career of helping of others.

“I love my job, I get to meet so many people,” says Lyle who offers acupuncture, massage, energy work and yoga through Port Alberni Physotherapy Clinic. “To get to help people in the healing journey is such an honour.”

You can make an appointment with Lyle online at


HWD Hydraulics is another business that opened during the pandemic and is getting on its feet.

Owned by Tanner McBryan and his father-in-law Mike Ryles, HWD Hydraulics offers everything for hydraulics as well as complementary tools and equipment.

“We repair hydraulic hoses, source hydraulic pumps, and sell hydraulic oils, fittings and adapters, anything you need,” says McBryan. They also carry tools, safety gear, fire suppression equipment, engine oils, pipe, couplers and more. Randy Tuttle, with 30-years’ experience, mans the store at 3155 1 Ave.

HWD Hydraulics is open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and on call after hours and weekends. Call 250-724-0911.


Shannon Farms is growing into the agri-tourism business. Shannon Farms, located in Beaver Creek, is the oldest dairy farm in the Alberni Valley. In December 2021, the family started seasonal workshops and markets of The Cabin, says Tanya Shannon.

“The space before was used for our long-term renter (of about 50 years!), until he passed away in spring of 2021,” says Shannon. “The decision was then made to use the building as a flex space for us to step into agri-tourism, hence the scheduled markets, workshops, and accommodation.”

The Cabin has been accepting guests since June as well as hosting markets with local growers and artisans during the summer.

To learn more about upcoming events or to book accommodations, go to


Bosley’s by Pet Valu is celebrating their tenth anniversary September 24 with a “pawty” at the store. Holly Cathcart opened Bosley’s in the Pacific Rim Centre mall in 2012 offer pet food and supplies and supporting animal adoption. Since then the store has expanded to include the adjacent retail space, adding a dog wash station and a wider selection of pet supplies. The celebration takes place from 11a.m. to 3p.m. and includes sales, raffles and a barbecue.

Teresa Bird is the group publisher of the Alberni Valley News, Parksville-Qualicum Beach News and Westerly News. Do you have a business tip for her? E-mail her at

Shannon Farms has opened The Cabin for agri-tourism accommodations, markets and workshops. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)