The 2020 Cumberland Pipe Organ Activation Residency ran from Aug 20-28. Under the direction of Katheryn Petersen, three teams of artists from Vancouver visited Cumberland to participate in a cross-community exploration of alternate uses of the historic pipe organ in the Weird Church at Penrith and First. Generous support from BC Arts Touring has helped to make it possible to cover the touring costs of the Vancouver teams.
Local Cumberland artists joined the Vancouver teams in various combinations to collaborate on explorations and improvisations. Several of the sessions were open to the public and, with the exception of the three workshops, the closed sessions were audible from the nearby exterior of the building. The doors to the church remained open and outdoor seating opportunities near the church are plentiful and encouraged. Some of the sessions allowed for socially distanced indoor seating.
Vancouver artists performed two fundraising concerts in Vancouver to raise funds for Cumberland artists and the Weird Church. Project events that were open to the public ran on a gift economy where attendance was part of the currency. All funds raised in this way went toward Cumberland artists and the Weird Church.
Here is the project schedule.
Here is some info on the Vancouver artists participating in the project:
PROJECT DIRECTOR: Katheryn Petersen
Katheryn was the first person to obtain a Diploma in Jazz and Contemporary music as an accordion major at VCC School of Music and is one of few accordion majors at any accredited post-secondary institute in western Canada. At VCC Katheryn studied under world class Croatian master player Jelena Milojevic and multi-instrument jazz player Alan Matheson receiving honours grades and several scholarships. She has since studied in summer intensives on Balkan music and blues accordion and has recorded and toured with many notable artists and projects including Joanna Chapman Smith, Babe Gurr, Elliot Vaughan, Lindy Gray, Zlatna Mountain, Blackberry Wood, Vaudeville Vagabonds, Something About Reptiles, Los Portenos del Norte, and more. She is currently touring and recording with Balkan Shmalkan and composing for her duo Teapot in the Tuba. She was the Artistic Director of the Accordion Noir Society and Festival from 2010-2017. She facilitated for, and sat on the board of Jam Camp Society of BC from 2014-2018. https://katherynpetersen.com/
TEAM ONE: Mike WT Allen, Nikko Whitworth, Eliot Doyle
“Compositional tour de force” (Discorder Magazine), “fresh, infectiously rhythmic and warming” Vancouver Classical Music, and “loud and weird” (his friends), Mike WT Allen is rising star in the Vancouver music scene. Mike has had compositions of his performed, debuted, or commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Redshift Music, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, Ecstatic Waves, The Mackenzie Jones Big Band, Ontario’s Royal Military College concert band, with international debuts and performances by Lara Neuss (Colorado, US) and Jerk In The Can (2016/17 European tour). In addition to his “serious art music” work, Mike records and plays with “History of Gunpowder” and “Five Alarm Funk” and leads the 20 piece jazz-metal experimental big band “Space Elevator” which has been described as “…one of the most awe-inspiring demonstrations of musical prowess that I have ever experienced” by Discorder Magazine and “…a showcase for some of the best musicians Vancouver has to offer, [and] an exhibit of Allen’s compositional genius.” by the Capilano Courier. http://www.mikewtallen.com/
Vancouver based Nikko Whitworth is inspired by the sonorities and repertoire of the cello and he has made it his mission to study the historical practice of tuning the bass in fifths (CGDA, an octave lower than cello). This has led to solo performances that showcase unique sounds created with extended techniques and electronics. Nikko has recorded and toured extensively with power metal outfit Unleash The Archers and has been featured at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival with groups ranging from a quartet (Omianan) to twenty-person big band (Space Elevator). Nikko has a reputation as a passionate free improviser, comfortably engaging in spontaneous composition with the group Key To Abyss and being invited to improv gatherings such as the monthly Mixtophonics. He has been hired for recording sessions in state-of-the-art studios such as Jacob Hansen Studios in Denmark and Dark Horse Recording in Nashville.
Eliot is a freelance musician based out of Vancouver Canada. He has been commissioned to perform with the Hard Rubber Orchestra playing the Music of Harry Stafylakis, the composer in residence for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and John Korsrud the direct of the Hard Rubber Orchestra. Eliot has written music for the Borealis String Quartet, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the Vancouver Young Composers Ensemble, and his own groups. He also performs in various groups around Vancouver, most notably, the Modern Day Warrirors: A Tribute to Rush, Mike Allen’s Space Elevator, and his own Rock and Jazz Fusion ensembles. Eliot Teaches music full-time at the Neil Douglas Guitar shop in New Westminster on both drum set and piano, instructing all ages and playing levels.. https://www.instagram.com/eliot.doyle/?hl=en
TEAM TWO: Roisin Adams & Martin Reisle
Hailed as “a master composer and improviser” by The North Shore News, Vancouver-based Róisín Adams’ visionary work combines ethereal, textured melodicism with an underpinning of intellectual rigor. An imaginative and immensely prolific composer, pianist, bandleader and educator, Adams is also an astute collaborator in a range of projects. She founded the improvisatory instrumental jazz quartet Hildegard’s Ghost in 2013, and also performs with contemporary acoustic trio Adams/Hopkins/Romain and in drummer Kevin Romain’s Enemy Pigeon. Her work has been featured at the Silk Purse Jazz Waves Series, Queer Arts Festival, Sonic Boom Festival, Western Front, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Kay Meek Theatre, and TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. https://roisinadams.com/
Martin Reisle is a Vancouver BC based composer, performer, improvisor, educator, artistic collaborator and calligrapher/designer. Whether using his voice, cello, tenor-banjo, or guitar, Martin is consistently dedicated to the support and creation of local culture and community music making. He has toured and recorded with his own, and other ensembles (Maria in the Shower, The End Tree, Jay Malinowski & The Deadcoast, Very Good, David Ward), performing his work all across Canada, the United States, England and Europe. Written, arranged, & orchestrated works for theatre (Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret), dance, and concert (Turning Point, Plastic Acid Orchestra), film/TV, and arranged/orchestrated for pop groups (David Ward, Jay Malinowski, 54-40). Recent releases: The End Tree: Everything I Can’t (2017), A Raven Called Crow & The End Tree: Quell (2018): Cello, Voice, Comp/Arranger http://martinreisle.com/about.html
TEAM THREE: Balkan Shmalkan
Balkan Shmalkan is rooted in the aural traditions of the Roma and Klezmorim of Eastern Europe and blended with a mixture of pop and jazz. Balkan Shmalkan is the brain-child of a group of East Vancouver musicians with a long history of collaboration in traditional South Serbian Trubaci music. Lead trumpet Ashton Sweet is a multi-instrumentalist who plays flugelhorn, baritone horn, tuba, saxophone, and clarinet in Serbian trubači, klezmer, and fusion Balkan scene. His studies include five years of study and performance with Demiran Ćerimović, Serbian Trumpet Master and three-time winner of the Guča Trumpet Competition. Certificates and Awards: – Certificate of Recognition for promotion of Serbian Music and Culture from the Consulate of the Republic of Serbia (2016) as part of Orkestar Šlivovica. https://balkanshmalkan.ca/
Here is info on a few of the Cumberland artists participating in the project:
Scott Bertram is an abstract painter and musician based in Comox, BC. He has produced solo albums and participated in many musical and noise-based projects, most recently as a member of the Cumberland-based trio, Birch. His guitar playing is based in exploring the possibilities of improvisation, especially in finding meaning within chance occurrences. He uses the guitar through an array of effects pedals specifically chosen to loosen his control on the music that they help produce. Approaching the guitar in this way means that he is tethered to the sounds he is creating, but he is equally a mere witness to the sound events as they occur, almost of their own accord. Info about Birch can be found at https://birch1.bandcamp.com and info about Scott’s painting practice can be found at http://www.scottbertram.ca
Cathy Stoyko is a dancer, artist/designer and mask maker based in the Comox Valley, B.C. Her love of dancing inspires her to share dance with her community. She teaches dance classes and workshops at the Abbey Studio in Cumberland B.C and is always hungry to explore new dance forms, traditional and contemporary. She performs often at community events, fundraisers and festivals as a soloist and with her company ‘Arcana Dea Dance’. http://cathystoykodance.blogspot.com/
Comox born and raised Jesse Gentes is an established drummer and improviser with a fascination for currently studying the Persian tombak and daf. Jesse has studied advanced improvisational music under the direction of Francoius Houle, Han Benninck, Eugene Chadbourne and others. Alchemy and intense listening play a large part in what makes his music flow into interesting, beautiful, textural sounds.
Caresse Nadeau is a dancer, choreographer, aerial silks artist, videographer and visual artist. Her creations reflect a deep connection to nature and the divine feminine. She performs, creates and kindles community in multiple locations in BC with Cumberland situated at the heart centre of her travels.
Avigdor Schulman was born in small-town Ontario and fled south to the U.S. in his early teens to immerse himself in the street-life of New York City and San Francisco. Influenced by his experiences of Woodstock, The Fillmore East, student and feminist politics he returned to Canada to live an alternative lifestyle in rural B.C. eventually journeying back to the west coast. He has played and presented music for 30 years. He also built furniture as his primary career during that time. A seasoned participant in the arts and culture community with a youthful passion for dance, new music, circus arts and a safer, sustainable and more egalitarian world community, Vig is currently the entertainment coordinator for the Waverley Hotel in Cumberland and the creative director for Cumberland Village Works (an entertainment production company also based in Cumberland). He is also the Artistic Director for Cumberland Wild and prior to that for Atmosphere festival. He lives in Cumberland with his partner Melissa Roeske. http://cumberlandvillageworks.com