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Art Beat: Ensembles unite for holiday music-making

The Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Suncoast Concert Band have issued an invitation to a merry and memorable Christmas Celebration concert.
The Sunshine Coast Community Orchestra and Suncoast Concert Band rehearse for a seasonal instrumental celebration under the batons of Maestros José Ceron-Ortega and Tak Maeda.

The Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Suncoast Concert Band have issued an invitation to a merry and memorable Christmas Celebration concert. Art Beat correspondent and orchestra spokesperson Karen Baxter has promised “a holiday feast for the ears.” 

The performance is an annual staple of the Sunshine Coast concert circuit. This year’s rendition will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, in the Chatelech Secondary School Theatre in Sechelt. 

The orchestra, conducted by José Ceron-Ortega, and the band, conducted by Tak Maeda, will treat audiences to a combination of classic and contemporary holiday songs, along with other musical delights such as Strauss’s Emperor Waltz. 

An array of refreshments will add to the festive spirit. 

Steeped in tradition, the annual Christmas concert has been a highlight on the Coast’s musical calendar since the Sunshine Coast Community Orchestra Association was established three decades ago. 

While the musicians are preparing for the upcoming 30th anniversary, they are also tuning up for Christmas.  

“All the members of the Concert Band and I look forward to entertaining the audience with a variety of music such as Feliz Navidad, Syncopated Clock, Nutcracker and more!” said Maeda. 

Tickets for Christmas Celebration ($20 general admission; free for children 12 and younger) are available at Strait Music in Sechelt and Passionista Garage in Gibsons. Support for the ensembles can be expressed online via 

New players are always welcome to join either ensemble (no audition is required). For more information, contact president Barbara Holt at or visit the website. 

The face of nutrition 

The annual banner project of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council is under way. Five hundred and seventy-seven student-drawn banner designs are now on display at the Arts Centre in Sechelt, inspired by this year’s theme: “Fantastical Foods.” 

Gallery visitors can vote for their favourite designs. The top 20 will be hand-painted onto full-sized street banners by artists, parents, students and other volunteers before being installed in Sechelt’s Civic Square. 

The international art-making initiative was launched in 1994. 

Among the imaginative illustrations are an affable raspberry in a top hat (drawn by Juno, a Grade 6 student at SPIDER Elementary), an impeccably coiffed pineapple with an infectious grin (by Azia, a Grade 7 student at Langdale Elementary), and a supine croissant caught in a moment of zen (by Sadie, a Grade 7 student at West Sechelt Elementary). 

Votes can be submitted until Dec. 22. 

Red hot rhythm at Roberts Creek Legion 

A concert by The Burning World — a Sunshine Coast-based ensemble playing a highly danceable fusion of rock, jazz, country and a half-dozen other genres — previewed their forthcoming album with a high-octane performance at the Roberts Creek Legion on Nov. 24. 

The show featured Ross Powell on guitar and lead vocals, Regan Haydu on drums, Wayne Slingerland on keyboards and Stu Young on guitar. Mike West played bass and Martin Brown handled lead guitar. Patrice Pollack and Heather Doré contributed vigorous backup vocals. 

The Burning World released its first album in 2017: This Must Be Life (‘cause I don’t see The Reaper). It remains on sale via online music retailers. 

Powell’s lyrics are whimsical, winsome, and endearingly eclectic — squeezing musical nectar from subjects as diverse as astrophysics, long-distance relationships and pandemic life. The new album, titled Up In Smoke, will be released in 2024.