The New Orford String Quartet rehearses at Arrowsmith Baptist Church before their concert on Monday, April 8. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

The New Orford String Quartet rehearses at Arrowsmith Baptist Church before their concert on Monday, April 8. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Alberni Classical Concerts celebrates successful third season

Subscriptions for 2019-2020 season are now on sale

Alberni Classical Concerts wrapped up a successful third season last week, and subscriptions are already available for next year’s musical lineup.

The Arrowsmith Baptist Church hosted the New Orford String Quartet on Monday, April 8, with four string virtuosos bringing rich chamber music to life. It was the fourth and final concert of the 2018-19 season, which drew approximately 140 subscribers to the church to enjoy classical music.

Alberni Classical Concerts Committee was established in 2016 to bring an annual classical concert series to Port Alberni. The first season, held at Char’s Landing, brought three live performances to the venue. The third and most recent season saw even more growth, with a fourth concert brought to the Alberni Valley for no extra charge.

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The committee has now been registered as a society, which makes it eligible for provincial and municipal grants.

“That helped us get the fourth concert,” explained director-at-large Hugh Grist. “People have been pretty happy with it.”

According to Grist, the concert society tries to bring a variety of musical genres and styles to the Alberni Valley. This year featured the very first opera performance in the series, with Quartessence.

“It went down better than expected,” Grist said.

The concert series has been growing since its inception, with the second season moving from Char’s Landing—which has a maximum seating capacity of 120—to Arrowsmith Baptist Church.

“The acoustics here are marvelous,” Grist said. “Every group that has been here has loved it.”

“You can hear everything all over the place,” added director-at-large David Cox.

The main source of funding for the concerts is still the sale of subscriptions to each series. The subscription model guarantees that the society has sufficient funds to hold all scheduled concerts at the beginning of each season. Single-concert tickets cannot be purchased, but subscriptions are transferable.

Subscriptions are already on sale for the 2019-2020 season, at a cost of $100 per person, and the lineup promises to be just as diverse as previous years.

Orontes Guitar Quartet will kick off the fourth season on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. This guitar quartet was formed in Beirut and has performed at many festivals in Syria and Lebanon. They perform several musical styles, including Baroque and classical.

Next will be the Trio d’Argento on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 at 7 p.m. This trio features flute, cello and piano and performs virtuoso pieces, as well as original arrangements, combined with a fun, relaxed and conversational atmosphere on stage.

The Elmer Iseler Singers take the stage on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 3 p.m. This 20-voice choral ensemble has a performing repetoire that spans 500 years, with a focus on Canadian composers.

Buzz Brass will conclude the fourth season on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 7 p.m. This brass quintet has a repertoire consisting mainly of classical music, but also features jazz and traditional music. Tremendously energetic and humourous stage productions combine originality with quality interpretations.

Subscriptions for the fourth season of Alberni Classical Concerts are available at Rollin Arts Centre ($100 plus a $10 service charge) and from committee members (phone David Cox at 250-723-8362 or Colleen Goodrich at 250-723-5407). All concerts will be held at the Arrowsmith Baptist Church. For more information, visit

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