A well-known Maple Ridge concert venue is looking for a new home and the use of a Steinway concert piano, after being told by the city they can no longer operate out of their current site.
For almost 40 years Josine Eikelenboom held intimate classical chamber concerts in the large music room at her house called Westacres, on her 20 acre farm just outside of the downtown core in Maple Ridge.
Westacres gained an international reputation and attracted musicians from across Canada and around the world, including some of the highest standard of pianists, who made their way to the venue to play the Steinway grand piano in the music room.
But last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she almost had to close her doors for good after the City of Maple Ridge told her she wasn’t allowed to hold concerts in her house because it wasn’t a commercial building. They also told her that she needed a licence and that she couldn’t even hold concerts outside without farm status.
However, Eikelenboom had farm status, and the concerts will go on. For now.
“It was just a matter of hospitality. It was never for personal gain, ever. It was just to support the arts,” said Eikelenboom, who is now looking at the possibility of holding three winter concerts at one of several churches in the area. But none of the locations have a Steinway grand piano that pianists of the calibre that have traditionally played at Westacres are used to.
“People who have travelled the world are used to a certain standard.”
Holding concerts outside comes with certain limitations.
Stringed instruments are not suited to outdoor concerts, said Eikelenboom, because they are too sensitive to changing temperatures and the humidity.
So, last month Eikelenboom hosted a reed instrument quintet that featured an oboe, a bassoon, and a saxophone, among other reed instruments.
And on Saturday, Aug. 21, Onetoo Trio and Friends, a brass group, based out of Vancouver, will be performing. Headed by trumpet player Katherine Evans, the band also includes Vince Vohradsky also on trumpet, Valerie Whitney on horn, Jeremy Berkman on trombone, and Peder McLellan on tuba.
All of them teach at UBC and the VSO School of Music, said Eikelenboom.
Eikelenboom has not received their program yet, but last year they played a mixture of light classical music when they performed at Westacres.
Tickets for the concert are $30 each. It will be held in the field at Westacres at 23575 124 Ave. in Maple Ridge. Eikelenboom is asking guests to bring a comfortable chair and perhaps an umbrella for shade. The concert is to start at around 6:45 p.m. or at dusk. Capacity is 50 people and it will be one hour without an intermission, to prevent people from mingling too much.
For tickets call 604-467-3162.
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