East Coast Classical coming June 2–4, a festival to watch for

East Coast Classical coming June 2–4, a festival to watch for

By Janet Kirkconnell

Festivals are not new to Wolfville. The most recent of three major festivals (apart from the on-campus New Music Festival begun in 2007; and the International Guitar Festival), the festival of popular music, Deep Roots, The Heartbeat of the Valley as it calls itself, over ten years ago thrust its then hesitant roots into the soil of Wolfville. And has flourished.

The other two have come and gone. First off was Opera East, an opera festival  and workshop with international and national participants, heady stuff while it lasted. The Atlantic Theatre Festival, founded in 1995, had musical components. It incorporated a relatively short-lived piano festival into its offerings, concerts organized by Janina Fialkowska, the founder of Piano Six, which included Canadian piano icons Angela Cheng, Marc-André Hamelin, Angela Hewitt, André Laplante, and Jon Kimura Parker. In later ATF years, a musical and a musical revue were staged. Both Opera East and the Atlantic Theatre Festival were solid ventures, and infused incredible excitement into life in summertime Wolfville, in the province, and in Canada at large, but finances took them down.

The festivals came to life because of Acadia faculty, and make/made use of university facilities. Deep Roots, the sole survivor of the three, considers Acadia University “an essential partner in the continuing success” of the Festival. A new festival is about to be launched, East Coast Classical. Drawing on mainly local classical musicians, the line-up will include a number of Acadia School of Music teachers and graduates, some now embarked on national and international careers, and bring out of hiding a few formerly professional classical musicians who have turned their backs on professional  performance to make a living – in Wolfville.

From June 2-4, East Coast Classical will present “A Weekend in the Country”.   On Friday, June 2, in the Wolfville Baptist Church, VOICES TEN, ten nationally and internationally recognized singers (Nova Scotia born, trained, or come-from-away-living-in-the-area) will be heard:  Marcel d’Entremont, Ross Thompson, Paula Rockwell, Nancy Denton Peck, Elizabeth Charlton, Suzanne Ridgen, Jon-Paul Decosse, Charlotte Embree, Stuart Hiseler, and Patrick Simms, along with conductor Peter Oleskevich, and Jennifer King, piano, in an evening of choruses, arias, duets, trios, and quartets from famous operas.     Moving on Saturday, June 3, to Denton Hall at Acadia, FAB FIVE – INSTRUMENTAL will perform:  gifted young pianist Chantal Peng;  two School of Music teachers, Prof. Dr. Derek Charke, flute, and classical guitarist Eugene Cormier, who form the award-winning Charke/Cormier Duo; Jennifer King, piano;  and Wolfville native and Symphony Nova Scotia principal horn, David Parker.
Sunday afternoon, June 4, in the Garden Room of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre on the Acadia campus, a vocal master class for eight aspiring singers will be given by renowned former New York vocal coach and accompanist Tom Schilling. The Friday and Saturday concerts begin at 7:30 pm, the Sunday master class (free) is from 2 to 4 pm. Admittance to the concerts is $25.