Okanagan musicians star in new museum series

Woodwind Quintet plays holiday music Dec. 5

The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is launching a new series, Music in the Museum, Thursday, Dec. 5, with the Penta Ventus Woodwind Quintet, playing a variety of holiday music in classical and contemporary arrangements.

“Our music series will be an opportunity for people to experience music – both classical and contemporary – in a relaxed, informal setting,” said Cultural Program Coordinator Laisha Rosnau. “And Penta Ventus is the perfect group to open the series because, fittingly, the quintet’s bassoon player is also our new curator, Cuyler Page.”

Page has provided design and exhibit services for museums and historic sites throughout B.C., from the Royal BC Museum at the Grist Mill in Keremeos, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Haney Heritage Park in Salmon Arm.

“I worked with the Vernon museum in the ’80s, as well,” said Page. “The building, itself, was designed by a friend of mine in architecture from UBC. It’s exciting to be back in this building, in a new era of the museum.”

Before a career in museums, Page studied architecture at Cornell University, and music at UBC, where he became Founding Secretary for the Vancouver Society of Early Music. An active member of the Okanagan classical and Early Music scene, today he performs professionally on bassoon and contrabassoon in orchestras, as well chamber music ensembles. “So, Music at the Museum is really bringing all of my interests together in one place.”

Page will be joined by Kelowna musicians, Karen Gibbons on oboe, Ruth Johnson on clarinet, Lorri Simpson on French horn, and Janet Watson on flute.

“Quintet music started in the late 18th century, coming out of the French Revolution,” Page explains. “It was composed specifically as ‘music for the populous.’”

As well as Penta Ventus Wood Quintet, the musicians are involved in diverse musical ventures with such groups as Oko Baroquo Early Music, Alleluia Hand Bells, Opera Kelowna, and the Okanagan Symphony.

“It’s an honour, really, to have such accomplished musicians open up our series in Vernon,” said Rosnau. “It’s an opportunity for those interested in, or simply curious about, groups such as wood quintets, string quartets, or jazz guitarists to come listen in a relaxed, informal setting.”

The Penta Ventus Wood Quintet will play Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, 3009 32nd Ave. Open to the public, all ages, tickets $10/$5 for students/seniors/members, includes a holiday refreshment. For more information call 250-550-3140.

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