Home > Events, Interviews > Great Jazz and More Coming up at the 5th Annual Harvest of Music Festival in Qualicum Beach

Great Jazz and More Coming up at the 5th Annual Harvest of Music Festival in Qualicum Beach

September 22, 2009

The Old School House in Qualicum Beach

The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach enjoys one of Vancouver Island’s most innovative and active music scenes, thanks in part to the efforts of musicians like Ron Hadley, who coordinates music programming for The Old School House Arts Centre (TOSH). One of the TOSH programs, the annual Harvest of Music Festival, gets underway on Friday, October 2. Island Jazz sat down with Hadley to learn more about this event, which will feature some class jazz acts, including Phil and Ben Dwyer, the Sara Marreiros Quintet, guitarist Darryl Jahnke, and a special Quintet Concert Tribute to guitarist Wes Montgomery.

1. What is the Harvest of Music Festival?

This year it is six days (October 2-7) of concerts/workshops featuring superb musicians from all over the world in a wide variety of genres. There are noontime concerts, two Saturday afternoon creative dance and mime/masked movement workshops, a Sunday afternoon solo piano recital and special evening events in the gallery of The Old School House Arts Centre. There will also be performances in the elementary, middle and secondary schools and in several seniors’ residences. This is the 5th annual Harvest of Music.

2. How did it get started?

It grew out of The Old School House Art Centre’s Music On Sunday series(25-30 concerts a year), which is now in its 11th year. The Town of Qualicum Beach asked us to establish a multiple-day, festival type event to remedy what they perceived as a scarcity of available cultural/entertainment activities for those who visit central Vancouver Island during the so-called “shoulder season”.

3. You’ve gone for eclectic programming rather than focusing on a particular genre like jazz. Why?

It was and is important to us to stick to the extremely successful framework of Music On Sunday, whose fundamental modus operandi is to offer “eclectic” programming. And, if that still begs the question of “Why?”, the simple answer is that our concertgoers have clearly asked for it to be that way.

4. Qualicum Beach seems to be something of a music hotbed what with your projects and projects put together by Phil Dwyer. Is it just individual initiative at work here or is there something about the community that makes events like the Harvest of Music and Jazz in the Garden possible?

Well, it certainly can’t be just individual initiative because in that scenario none of this would ever fly. There has to be–and is–a consistently enthusiastic and energetic chemistry of cooperation and support. In the case of Music On Sunday and the Harvest of Music, that chemistry is The Old School House Arts Centre and its extensive and dedicated system of friends, business partners, members and volunteers who have, for more than twenty years, made great contributions of time, work and funding to ensure that Qualicum Beach sustains a vibrant and dynamic community organization for promoting art, artists and art education. That, I think, is the answer to your question–there really IS something special about this community.

5. Have you got a particular audience in mind for the Harvest festival? Who’s likely to enjoy it the most?

No, there is no specific target audience. There is something for everybody, regardless of age or musical preferences. Over the course of the festival’s first five years, that seems to be why everybody has enjoyed it. But, it goes beyond that. Once again we have to take note of the fact that this community feels very strongly about art–actively participating in it and actively supporting it–and they love live music and are very enthusiastic and demonstrative about this. Rather than saying “something for everybody”, it’s probably more accurate to say that the primary reason for the Music On Sunday/Harvest of Music eclecticism is the fact that most of our concertgoers are not locked into a single preference. It’s MUSIC that they love and get very excited about–without much concern for its category. Experiencing that degree of appreciation on a concert-after-concert basis is very inspiring. It’s why musicians love to play here and why visitors, tourists, etc. from outside our community love to come (and, in many cases, relocate) here. The initial request for the establishment of this festival came in the context of servicing tourism, but The Old School House Arts Centre never launched into a demographic analysis of who “shoulder season” tourists are or what they might like to attend. We just expanded a bit in the servicing of our own community because it is that community and its lifestyle that make Qualicum Beach a destination.

6. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Well, as this interview is taking place on a website that was created to further nourish SW coastal British Columbia’s vibrant jazz scene through active and interactive networking (And, thank you so much for your very valuable efforts in that regard.), I should probably point out that there is plenty of real nice jazz in this year’s Harvest of Music. Please check out the websites http://harvestofmusic.com and http://theoldschoolhouse.org . There is a lot of great music there, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to find that many islandjazz.ca users also don’t pay too much attention to genre lines…and thank you very much for profiling the Qualicum Beach Harvest of Music.

– Rick Gibbs

Categories: Events, Interviews
%d bloggers like this: