Char’s Landing felt a little more crowded than usual on Sunday afternoon as the eight-piece vocal ensemble Musica Intima took to the stage and filled the rafters with song for the last classical concert of the season.
The Vancouver-based ensemble, which featured two sopranos, two altos, two tenors and two basses, performed from an expansive repertoire. Their setlist included classical folk songs, as well as more modern pop pieces.
The array of languages included Latin, Italian, Korean, Spanish and even Estonian. One composition was even made up entirely of telephone sounds.
The setlist also featured a significant number of Canadian compositions and arrangements, which is something that the group actively seeks out.
“That’s always been a fairly significant part of our mandate,” said Siri Olesen, the group’s artistic manager.
Musica Intima closed out the first-ever Alberni Classical Concert series, which saw a sold-out first season at Char’s Landing.
“It’s a good thing. It doesn’t happen very often,” said Olesen. “It’s really nice to be a part of that this year.”
It was the group’s first time performing in Port Alberni together.
“It’s beautiful,” said Olesen. “We’ll be heading straight back to the ferry, so we don’t get to look around too much, unfortunately.”
“Such is the life,” laughed alto Melanie Adams.
Both were intrigued by Char’s Landing as a location.
“The sound is great,” said Olesen. “We’ve performed in all kinds of venues. It’s a really interesting space. It has lots of character.”
“We pride ourselves on being able to create intimacy with our audience, and that’s easy to do in a small space like this,” added Adams.
“It’s not always easy to do, travelling with eight,” said Olesen. “This has been great.”
Michael Kozlow, committee chair, said he thought the first season was a “resounding success.”
“Audiences have been enthusiastic,” he said. “Not just during the shows, but as they’re exiting. We hear comments like, ‘It’s fantastic to have this quality of music in Port Alberni.’ We’ve heard that pretty much universally.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll be successful next year.”
For the 2017-2018 season, which begins in November, the Alberni Classical Concert series will be moving to a new venue: the Arrowsmith Baptist Church on Glenside Road. Kozlow said this is mostly to do with space.
“We cannot expand here,” he explained. “We’re at our limit here. If we’re going to be successful, we’re going to need to bring in more subscriptions. We’re really hoping to expand.”
Three artists are already planned for next season: A Touch of Brass quintet, the Vancouver Chamber choir and Jacob Cordover, a classical guitarist from Spain.
“We’re looking for variety, not just replicating the types of acts we had this year,” Kozlow said.
Last season, the concert series sold out at 120 subscriptions, but this year their goal is to sell 150 to 200 subscriptions by Aug. 31. For more information about the concert series, visit alberniclassicalconcerts.ca.