Summer Solstice in Mountain View Cemetery: 

A Celebration in Dance and Music

June 21, 2015

7 and 9 pm (performance approximately 25 minutes)

5455 Fraser Street, Vancouver, Canada

presented by The Little Chamber Music Series That Could

outdoors, free, accessible

Summer Solstice In Mountain View Cemetery celebrates the circle of life, death and renewal by bringing community together to mark the longest day of the year with art, live music, and performance by 35 community dancers!

There will be two performances of approximately 25 minutes, at 7pm and 9pm.

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rehearsal in Mountain View Cemetery

The audience will gather near the cemetery’s Celebration Hall to hear music by Arvo Pärt, local powerhouse Sarah Wheeler and a new work composed for the occasion by Mark Haney. 35 community dancers, choreographed by Jessica Barrett, will move through the beautiful green spaces of the central part of Vancouver’s only cemetery, and past an art installation by Diane Park.

This event is created by The Little Chamber Music Series That Could, presenters of “11”, Remembrance Day 2014 in Falaise Park.

Musicians: Adrian Verdejo guitar, Marina Hasselberg cello, Mark Haney double bass, Sarah Wheeler vocals

Installation Artist: Diane Park

Choreographer: Jessica Barrett

Choreographer’s Assistant: Hailey McCloskey

Summer Solstice In Mountain View Cemetery

Three pieces of music will be performed by Adrian Verdejo (guitar), Mark Haney (double bass) and Marina Hasselberg (cello). The program begins with Arvo Pärt’s minimalist masterwork Spiegel Im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror), arranged for guitar, cello and double bass, chosen for it’s beauty and because it’s structure reflects the nature of the solstice with it’s mirroring phrases.

The second piece is Mark Haney’s first composition as Composer in Residence at Mountain View Cemetery “New Friends and Stranger Companies” for guitar, cello, double bass and a rhythm track; Mark has composed this work while working with the dancers and choreographer, ensuring there is a real dialogue between the music and the dance; Little Chamber Music firmly believes that inter-arts collaboration means the different art forms should really impact each other, not simply share space. This is clear in Mark’s work with other choreographers (including Julie and Meredith Kalaman) in which the music he creates is integral to the creation of the dance.

The third piece will be an arrangement of Sarah Wheeler’s “Open Up Your Heart” for Ms. Wheeler with the other musicians. Sarah Wheeler is a captivating singer and performer, and is a leader for QSONG (Queer Songwriters of a New Generation), a wonderful program that helps at-risk queer youth engage their creativity through songwriting. Her song “Open Up Your Heart” is a perfect way to close a community celebration, with a simple, joyous message.

rehearsal in Mountain View Cemetery
rehearsal in Mountain View Cemetery

There will be choreography to all of the music for our 35 person community dance group. This aspect of the project grew organically out of Mark Haney and Diane Park’s participation in Le Grand Continental at this year’s PuSH Festival. Mark and Diane were two of the 70+ community dancers who committed to 2 or 3 rehearsals a week for three months leading to performances on the Queen Elizabeth Plaza in January as part of the festival. The original intent was simply to learn; since we keep asking people to join our artistic process and events, it seemed like a great opportunity to put ourselves in that position and be part of someone else’s vision.

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The locals have shown a keen interest in the project

What we didn’t expect was the level of passion the participants would have, and the incredible need for another project many of them felt. The participants represented a great cross-section of Vancouver’s population, creating a new community through art. Community dance had truly become central to the lives of many participants, so when our partnership with Mountain View was finalized we saw the opportunity to help fill this need. Participants have been rehearsing for this event since March! We are very pleased to be creating a project that continues to nurture these individuals’ creativity while forming strong bonds to community. This program was free to participants to ensure there were no financial barriers to participation.

For the past 2 years The Little Chamber Music Series That Could has produced accessible inter-arts events in the cemetery as part of their enormously popular All Souls Celebrations. Our creative partnerships with Mountain View have been very rewarding, and led directly to our “In Residence” status there. Like All Souls, we plan to balance a sense of celebration with the dignity and respect a cemetery deserves, using community arts events to weave this beautiful urban space more closely into the cultural fabric of the city.

 
Thanks to Yolande Cole at the Georgia Straight for this excellent article about our current projects.

 

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