Life has sure changed for Joe Hatherill. Just 11 months after moving his family from London, England, the versatile musician is still gathering first impressions of the Sunshine Coast. He had been accustomed to playing in the orchestra pit of the big musicals that run year round in London's theatre paradise, and he has also played aboard cruise ships. These days, he finds himself in a leadership role directing the Pender Harbour Choir and leading a smaller group of musicians, the Tuesday Chamber Players. This ensemble is a fairly recent re-grouping of the Youth Orchestra with a varying membership of no less than four and no more than 10 players. Hatherill is surprised by the stacks of choirs on the Coast, but misses the many bands suitable for a musician of his background. Since he also plays clarinet, flute and, his favourite, the saxophone, he can sometimes be found with trumpeter Harry Busby in the various incarnations of the Roberts Creek Big Band. "When you play in the big shows, you become proficient at many things," he says. He has had an opportunity to switch regularly between singing madrigals with seniors (the choir does not have enough male voices, so he stands in) to a gig at the recent Gibson's Landing Jazz Festival. Hatherill and seven of the Tuesday Chamber Players will perform at the opening gala of the annual Showcase of the Performing Arts (SOPA) on Friday, July 2, in the newly air-conditioned Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons. The program will be stellar classical music with a solo from two of the Chamber Players: Erin MacDonald on viola and Neal Andrews on piano. Also appearing at the gala evening will be Baroque and Blue, a four-member ensemble that will perform their namesake, Suite No. 1 for Flute and Piano, better known as Baroque and Blue. Their music stems from the work of French jazz pianist, composer/arranger Claude Bolling, who defined jazz classical crossover.
"It's played like jazz, but it has a classical structure," says drummer Tim Enns. B and B also features Gerry Millar on bass, Sarah Harding on flute and, new to the group, Angela Johnson on piano. "Finding a piano player who can really do jazz and classical was hard," says Enns, who is delighted with the addition of Johnson.Their selection will be 50 minutes of solid music: "tight, clean and tidy," says Enns. Although he loves this jazz classical blend, Enns also plays in the rock and roll band Walter Ego, and Millar also plays with Joe Stanton. Along with the classical music, the gala will feature B.C. wineries with an emphasis on Cowichan Valley farm gate and micro wineries. The Cowichan is becoming known as the New Tuscany with a number of fruit and traditional grape wineries producing VQA vintages.
Last year, Cherry Point Vineyard's blackberry port was a revelation - and a big hit with the audience. A variety of cheeses and appetizers will complement the wines. Tickets for the Simply Classic gala evening cost $25, available at Coast Books, Talewind Books and Hallmark Cards. Doors open at 7 p.m.; show time is at 8 p.m. Expect a turnout of Coast VIPs - and yes, there may well be some sightings of stars in such a stellar group. SOPA, a fund-raiser for the Heritage Playhouse, runs from July 2 to 17.