Hitting the right notes as a busy musical family

Anna Lumiere and Graham Ord, you could say, are up to their ears.

Lumiere plays piano and electronic keyboards with Anagram, Hordes of Ords, Funktete, Mimosa, and the duo Sostenuto, and she accompanies many other singers, musicians and artists in ephemeral musical collaborations on the Sunshine Coast – all in addition to her commuter day job and mothering to two teenage sons. Ord plays woodwinds with a few of the same groups and a number of other artists such as Laboratorio and the Creek Big Band, has a private music-teaching practice, and is father to the same two young men.

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Both are also recording artists, with Ord having played on dozens of CDs and Lumiere on several with Mimosa and Sostuento, among others, with many of the tunes being her own compositions.

While for many of us that would seem a dizzying array of projects, partnerships and duties, it’s typical of a professional musician’s work life, Ord said.

“It’s not uncommon,” he told Coast Reporter in a recent interview with him and Lumiere at their Elphinstone home. “If you ask a Vancouver musician who he’s playing with, he’ll give you a list of half a dozen bands. It’s neat because you get exposed to so many different kinds of music.”

Ord knows because he’s been there. Both he and Lumiere were professional musicians when they met in Vancouver in 1998 and after moving to the Coast in 2006 with their two kids, Bela, now 18, and Noah, 15. It’s no surprise that both sons are musicians, too.

Bela’s primary instrument is piano, in which he’s now taking advanced instruction from Coast teacher Patricia Greenfield. “We have a picture of Bela when he could barely walk, trying to play the piano,” Ord said. Noah’s specialty is violin, and both sons also play other instruments: Noah the trumpet and Bela the baritone sax, which they took up so they could be in the high school band. They also pick up those instruments when they play with their parents in the family ensemble, Hordes of Ords.

Even with all the gigs they play, it’s hard to make ends meet just as professional players on the Coast. Swiss-born Lumiere also spends up to two weeks a month as one of the top French-and-English simultaneous interpreters in Western Canada, working as a private contractor in government and corporate meetings on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

“It’s very seasonal,” Lumiere said. “In the summer I work hardly at all and do more music gigs. The fall and the spring are my busy seasons. June is my crazy month because everyone wants to have a conference before they go on holiday. There are also a lot of music gigs in that month so I’m playing or practising at night and working during the day. It can get a bit ragged.”

With more than a dozen playing dates lined up through September, it’s going to be another musical summer for Lumiere and the Ords. Her upcoming gigs include Mother Love, with Caitlin Hicks and Gordon Halloran at High Beam Dreams on Friday, May 10, and a Funktete evening at Gibsons Legion on May 11. Ord will join Lumiere in an Ani DiFranco tribute at the Rockwood Centre in Sechelt on June 15.

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