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Mark and Friends return to Gibsons

A fund-raising concert from Mark and Friends for the Heritage Playhouse Concert Grand Fund is fast becoming an annual summer tradition in Gibsons. This year, the special event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 2:30 p.m.

A fund-raising concert from Mark and Friends for the Heritage Playhouse Concert Grand Fund is fast becoming an annual summer tradition in Gibsons. This year, the special event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 2:30 p.m.

At the keyboard will be Mark Andrews, a third year music student at University of Toronto, who returns to Gibsons to visit his musical brother Neal and his family. But it won't be a solo show. He will accompany violinist Elizabeth Loewen and the multi-instrumental Neal Andrews, while other friends, Coast musicians Beth Currie and Charles Cottrell, will also perform. Andrews will play most of his third year recital program including Bach, Haydn, Sonata #52 in E flat, Liszt and Brahms, Klavierstucke Opus 118 #1 to 3. With Loewen he will play Turina's Sonata for Violin and Piano #2 and Saent-Saens' Introduction and Rondo. He and Neal will play a selection from Lau.

In his youthful career, Mark has received the Royal Conservatory of Music Silver Medal for Grade 6 Piano, the highest mark in Canada for Grade 8 Piano and various other honours and scholarships, including medals for his accomplishments on the viola. He has earned the R.C.M. A.R.C.T. Violin Performer's Diploma and also holds a gold medal in the capacity of R.C.M. A.R.C.T. Piano (Teacher). Next year is his final year at University of Toronto. Though he has no definite career plans as yet, he will go on to post-graduate education.

Coast fans may remember he has performed at some landmark Coastal events, such as the Coast Recital Society's Steinway Inaugural Concert and during the Rotary Club of Gibsons' Piano Celebration Concert. In fact, he is celebrated on the Coast for once saving a most unusual show. While musicians were at full performance at the Heritage Playhouse, the power went out in Gibsons. Nonplussed, Andrews and Loewen finished their concert in the dark to a round of applause.

Winnipeg-born violinist Loewen began taking lessons at the age of four and playing in orchestras at the age of eight. During high school, she participated in the Young Artists Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music and performed with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra from 1996 to 2001, completing her final season as Assistant Concertmaster. She is a National Scholar of the University of Toronto where she is a performance major in the Faculty of Music. She has appeared as soloist with the Jeunesse Youth Orchestra and has toured Japan and Hong Kong with the National Youth Orchestra (Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama). Recently, her performing group, the Rydonk String Quartet, played in the 2003 Chamber Music Summer Session at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts. She will resume her fourth year of study at the University of Toronto this fall.

Young Neal's musical experience and education include some major awards: the Vancouver Musician's Association awarded him the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship and the CBC found him to be the most promising classical musician under 16 when they gave him the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award. He has competed at the provincial level earning first place for junior/intermediate brass for his trumpet work and has also received honours for his skill with piano and violin. Most recently, he competed successfully at the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival. Cottrell has been active in musical theatre and dancing on the Coast since 1999. Just last year he began private voice lessons, competed in the 2003 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts and was selected for provincial competition. Although his activities also include several dance forms: tap, hip hop and jazz, for this concert he will be a vocalist. Similarly, Currie is a Coast student who has been accepted as a voice major in the Faculty of Music at U.B.C. in September. She was a member of the Choralations Children's and Teen Choirs for seven years and plays the piano, violin (her beloved instrument), cello and trumpet, studies ballet and shows significant promise as an artist and poet. Currie was also a member of the Sunshine Coast Community Orchestras, among other orchestras. The concert will be held at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons on Aug. 29.Tickets are available for adults $10, students $8 and children $5 at Coast Books and Talewind Books or by reserving at 604-886-7422.