The Stradivari String Ensemble performs at St. George’s Anglican Church Aug. 26.

5 reasons to celebrate Maple Ridge Summer Music Festival

Maple Ridge Music Society marks 35 years with musical thrills for classical fans and newcomers

Classical music fans, rejoice! The Maple Ridge Music Society celebrates 35 years of classical chamber music with its Summer Music Festival Aug. 26 and 27, and the lineup they’ve prepared will make you sing.

Established in 1982 as a house concert for friends and music fans, today Maple Ridge Music Society has grown into a well-established concert series located at the 20-acre Westacres Farm.

As the society celebrates 35 years of bringing music to Maple Ridge, here’s five reasons not to miss this sensational summer festival.

1. Classical newcomers welcome. If you don’t know your Bach from Brahms, don’t worry. Organizer Josine Eikelenboom says the festival is not just for classical music diehards, but “anybody interested in music in general.”

2. Strings on the road. The Stradivari String Ensemble performs at St. George’s Anglican Church on Dewdney Trunk Road at 8 p.m. Aug. 26. Featuring 16 professional musicians and advanced Vancouver Conservatory students under the direction of conductor Lucien Barz, the ensemble’s Baroque-period music is sure to entertain.

3. Performance and a picnic. Al Cannon’s Brass Quintet, featuring members of the Vancouver Symphony and instructors at the UBC School of Music, perform an outdoor concert at Westacres beginning at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 27. A catered picnic dinner follows from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Festival-goers are also welcome to pack their own picnic, and all are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.

4. Brahms, Bach & Mozart. Following the picnic, an indoor chamber concert featuring world-renowned Swiss violinist Robert Rozek and friends rounds out the Westacres festivities, beginning 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27. Be sure to get tickets early – due to limited space, the Sunday evening performance is reservation-only.

5. A ‘grand’ location. While at Westacres, visit the farmhouse’s spacious music room, which houses a splendid Steinway grand piano, and has hosted renowned performers such as John Kimora Parker, Marc Andre Hamelin, and Angela Hewitt. This music space will also host the music society’s fall and winter concerts.

What you need to know: Admission for the Aug. 26 performance is $25 ($15 for students). Admission for the Aug. 27 performance and picnic at Westacres Farm, 23575 124 Ave., is $20. Save with a ticket to both concerts for $40. Visit online for information about these and other shows coming up from the Maple Ridge Music Society.

Love classical music? Lend a hand!

The Maple Ridge Music Society is also looking for volunteers to help with setup, the ticket booth, ushering and other tasks. To volunteer – or purchase tickets – call 604-467-3162.

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Westacres Farm hosts two events Sunday, Aug. 27 for the Summer Music Festival.

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