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Art Beat: Piano quartet thrills Pender Harbour

Also, world-renowned Sitkovetsky Trio performing at Raven's Cry Jan. 20
The Victoria Piano Quartet performs during the Pender Harbour Music Society’s Mid-Winter Chamber Weekend.

On Jan. 13 and 14, the Victoria Piano Quartet warmed appreciative listeners during the Pender Harbour Music Society’s Mid-Winter Chamber Weekend. According to Pender Harbour arts correspondent Karen Strong, “The exterior atmospheric conditions may have been frightful but the atmosphere inside the Pender Harbour School of Music was delightful.” 

Works by Mozart, Turina, Dvorak, Fauré, and Brahms were interpreted by four internationally acclaimed musicians: Terance Tam (“his marvellous violin performance made you feel like you were reaching for the stars,” writes Strong), Yariv Aloni on viola (whose sensitive performance contributed to a mellifluous blend of the higher-pitched violin with the deeper-voiced violoncello), cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni (“at one with her 1850 George Craske cello,” notes Strong) and pianist Lorraine Min (“who plays with a delicate elegance, yet her interpretation of the pieces demonstrate breathtaking strength.”) 

“One would quickly run out of superlatives trying to honestly describe the four wonderful musicians,” said master of ceremonies Margaret Skelley. The audience responded with enthusiastic and vocal standing ovations at each intermission and conclusion. 

Local pianist and piano technician Ken Dalgleish, reached for superlatives to describe the concert: “What an amazing and profound afternoon. Leading up to and peaking with that Dvorak has me breathless still. Their accuracy, timing, talent and skill brought the genius of Mozart and Dvorak into our hearts and souls. I’m near tears and so touched by it all.” 

Strong singled out the Gypsy Rondo of Brahms’s Quartet No. 1 in G Minor as a performance that was both uplifting and poignant, describing the overall performance by the quartet “in one word: incredible!” 

Film heroine fights to thrive 

The Sunshine Coast Film Society will present the multi-award-winning film Scrapper, a quirky, offbeat British comedy/drama, on Monday, Jan. 22 at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse (7:30 p.m.) and on Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Raven’s Cry Theatre in Sechelt (2 p.m.).  

The film tells the story of the titular scrapper: 12-year-old Georgie (arresting newcomer Lola Campbell) who is fighting to survive alone (illegally) in her east London council flat following the death of her single-parent mother.  

She hoodwinks social services workers, supports herself by stealing bicycles with a friend, and then, one day, her estranged father (Harris Dickinson, seen in Triangle of Sadness and Where the Crawdads Sing) turns up. Can they possibly build a relationship after being apart for so many years? 

Scrapper is orchestrated by first-time director Charlotte Regan, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. In the Film Society’s assessment, the movie is “full of spirit, humour, and inventiveness.” 

Society membership is required for admission. Patrons can book memberships and tickets in advance online or with cash only at the door. The movie is rated 18+; more information is available online at 

Coming trio is world-renowned 

The Coast Recital Society will launch its winter season this weekend with one of the most esteemed ensembles touring today: the Sitkovetsky Trio. 

The group’s artists are in the midst of a season that takes them to the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Cologne Philharmonie as well as appearances as guest soloists with the Munich Symphony. The ensemble will perform in the midst of their North American tour at the Raven’s Cry Theatre in Sechelt on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. 

During their time on the Sunshine Coast, the Sitkovetsky Trio will also offer a concert at Cedar Grove Elementary School, part of the Recital Society’s extensive outreach program. 

The trio, founded 16 years ago when Alexander Sitkovetsky, violin, and Wu Qian, piano, were students at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London, also features Isang Enders on cello. 

The group has racked up a slew of awards — including the Chamber Music Award of the BBC Music Magazine along with first prizes as some of the most important international chamber music competitions. 

The half-dozen recordings by the Sitkovetsky Trio are available on the BIS and Wigmore Live labels, where they have earned rave reviews and appearances in the “Editor’s Choice” listings of magazines such as The Strad and Gramophone. 

Saturday’s program will include trios by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, along with the rarely-heard Piano Trio by Cecile Chaminade and a brand-new work by American composer Julia Adolphe called Etched in Smoke and Light.  

For tickets, email [email protected] or call 604 885-0991. Admission for adults is $30; students pay $10. For more information, browse to 

No shadows at this fundraiser

The Suncoast Phoenix Community Choir is planning a special fundraiser to coincide with the annual appearance by Punxsutawney Phil. The choir will host a Groundhog Day Burger and Fun Night on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  

The group’s leaders acknowledge the event will fall one day after the official Groundhog Day, but they’re ready to celebrate, shadow or not. 

Under the direction of Sara Douglas and accompanist Tom Kellogh, the choir presents at least five concerts a year performed in both Sechelt and Gibsons. Concerts are funded by donations at the door. As part of its community outreach mandate, the choir hosts sing-outs to residents of local care homes. The Groundhog Day event is its major fundraising event for the year. 

The fundraiser takes place at the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre, located at 5604 Trail Avenue. Admission includes a Rotary Burger and tantalizing extras. A bar will be available. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 Draw, Silent Auction & Musical Entertainment. 

Tickets ($25) can be purchased at Strait Music or by phone or text to Catherine at 604-740-2255. 

Coast artist in collectors’ crosshairs 

Sunshine Coast painter Marlene Lowden has been featured by Saatchi Art, an e-commerce platform and online gallery, as one of the 24 artists to collect in 2024. Lowden, known for her evocative use of oil paint, has garnered international recognition for her unique artistic vision. 

Saatchi Art features 94,000 artists from 110 countries and curates an annual list of artists expected to make a significant impact in the art world. 

Lowden’s latest body of work, “Unpaintable,” delves into the intricate dance between translucency and opacity, using layers of oil paint to give life to abstract compositions. These paintings, a culmination of three years of exploration, feature organic shapes drawn from blind contour sketches of ferns, bark, barnacles and shells found in the lush West Coast rainforest and the Pacific Ocean that envelopes her Sunshine Coast home. 

Lowden expressed gratitude for the support received from collectors and the art community, acknowledging their role in this achievement. “I am truly honoured to be recognized by Saatchi Art as one of the 24 artists to collect in 2024,” she said. “This acknowledgment is a shared success with my incredible patrons and supporters who have been an integral part of my artistic journey.” 

For more information about Lowden’s work and to explore her portfolio, browse to