Opera is not a typical musical genre associated with rural communities.
But in Maple Ridge and towns scattered across the prairie provinces, it will be the choice of music for three operatic performers who spent their childhoods in the latter.
Maple Ridge music instructor, director and conductor Rayne Beveridge says he and fellow performers, Courtney Bridge and Ryan Goetz, want to give back to the communities that have championed their careers.
Born and raised in Airdrie, Alberta, Bridge is a soprano in the UBC Opera Masters program. She has performed in more than a dozen operas, including as a soloist for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Goetz, Beveridge’s accompanist, is a Saskatchewan-born vocal coach and award-winning pianist who completed his masters degree in piano performance with distinction at the University of British Columbia in 2013.
Kicking off the two-week Western Shakedown Classical Concert Tour will be an Aug. 12 performance at Westacres (23575 – 124 Ave.), home of the Maple Ridge Music Society.
For 1.5 hours, audiences will see scenes from famous operas such as The Marriage of Figaro, as well as renowned classical works.
Beveridge explains he and his musical partners like to make the concert experience interactive for their audience.
“We understand the majority of people are not operatic aficionados.”
Rather than use a screen with subtext, the trio will take the time to explain their characters and engage the audience.
“People enjoy it a lot more if they understand what is going on,” says Beveridge.
He was first told by a coach at age 14 that, with his baritone voice, he should study opera. During his years in Maple Ridge, Beveridge has coached individuals and directed eight choirs and five musical theatre programs.
He is confident the Aug. 12 show will be well received, as a similar performance was held at Westacres last year and response from the 40-person audience was positive.
• Tickets for the event are $15. Available online at brownpapertickets.com/event/776490 or at the door.