As usual, last Thursday the Concert Association brought something special to Smithers. Other places might get used to performances at a lower level of expertise, but not here. We always seem to get treated to something special.
“It was phenomenal. Not everybody wants to tour northern B.C. especially in our season,” said Lynnda MacDougall, president of the Bulkley Valley Concert Association.
Last Thursday, the weather was less than nice and it was certainly the right time to experience well studied smooth music.
Roy and Rosemary have been together some time now and their performances have gained acclaim the world over. Both are graduates of the music program at University of British Columbia. From there they have both gone on to further studies and performances which have won awards and international stature.
Roy is originally from Singapore while Rosemary comes from the thriving metropolis of Plum Coulee, Manitoba.
Throw relative newcomer Cory Karey into the mix. He’s actually a northern B.C. local, hailing from Fort St. James.
Karey adds his incredible tenor voice to the rich instrumental tones that Roy taps out of his piano and Rosemary brings out of her violin.
If the expectation was an evening of somewhat stodgy classical tunes performed very well, one would have been sorely disappointed. The musical menu was varied enough to keep everyone in attendance awestruck by the incredible performance.
“Our style of music isn’t really classical or pop, it’s more cinematic,” said Roy when trying to describe the style of music they most often play.
At one point in the show, Roy and Rosemary put together a composition from suggestions out of the audience. These were ideas that would represent the reality of the beauty of life here in the Northwest.
Only one word can describe the result — amazing. As they put together the piece, it was possible to hear and feel that beauty. The changes of the seasons, the colours, the sounds all came forth from a piano and a violin. It was beautiful. It was emotive.
That was only the music. The wit displayed as they led from one piece to the next kept the audience relaxed and enjoying it all more and more.
And then we have a young man who David Foster took an interest in and helped develop. Cory has a beautiful voice which in some ways is reminiscent of the big band voices that Sinatra, Como and Martin had.
For someone who grew up hearing those kinds of voices, his was special. His treatment of the songs he chose was nothing less than heartwarming.
“After living in Vancouver for 10 years it’s nice to come back here and feel that sense of community,” he said.
After stops in Kitamat, Terrace and Prince Rupert, they plan to finish off the tour in his hometown of Fort St. James.
“I even volunteered to drive the 700 km up there,” he said.
They all love what they bring to the audience and enjoy sharing the some of the little things that make each performance special.
Rosemary for example spoke about her special violin which a benefactor had provided her. It was from the times of the Royal French Court and had been crafted by an expert. Hearing her describe it and how it was so special showed she was more than just a musician.
It was a deep winter evening that was melted by these three wonderful performers who know how to get to an audience’s heart. A standing ovation was simply the only way to thank them.