OKO Baroquo members Cuyler Page

OKO Baroquo members Cuyler Page

Early music lovers go mostly baroque

Early Music Okanagan brings a concert of medieval, renaissance and baroque music, performed by local vocalists and musicians, to Vernon.

Early music experiences its renaissance all over the world. As music of medieval, renaissance and baroque eras becomes more popular, more musicians and ensembles make this music their specialty.

Early Music Okanagan (EMO) is a new project of Okanagan musicians who have teamed up in an attempt to popularize early music in the community.

“The beauty of early music is that it can be performed not just by big symphony orchestras in huge concert halls, actually, it sounds more appropriate and authentic in smaller spaces and with fewer instruments and voices,” said Natalia Polchenko, an alto who sings in the Inspirati Chorale, which is about to take part in EMO’s inaugural performance, BAROQUE, mostly.

“EMO is an opportunity to combine the individual efforts, so the sum effect might become greater than the parts,” she said. “With combined efforts, the more complex and ambitious musical projects are becoming a possibility. Early Music Okanagan invites all enthusiasts of early music to collaborate so our community (can) have more opportunities and choices in enjoying this fabulous music.”

In the concerts, musicians will perform sacred and secular music by Vivaldi, Handel, Purcell, and others. The program includes vocal and instrumental music from 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

“The instruments and singers are not amplified. This way music-making becomes more immediate and intimate,” said Polchenko. “Churches with good acoustics are perfect venues for early music concerts. And if a group of musicians can be found who are able and willing to dedicate their time and expertise to promoting this music, it can result in magic of ancient music becoming alive again.”

The upcoming performance will star soprano Tracy Fehr, who is an early music specialist from the South Okanagan, and Vernon tenor Paul Moore, who will also lead the Inspirati Chorale, an a cappella vocal ensemble.

Also on the bill is the OKO Baroquo, a period instrument ensemble featuring Leslie Uhlig on flute, Carole Ruth on baroque violin and viola, Suzanne Zeindler on viola, Cuyler Page on baroque oboe and bass dulcian (a renaissance woodwind instrument), and Jim Leonard on continuo organ.

“The musicians who formed OKO Baroquo, honed their musical skills by playing professionally in symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles, teaching music, or using it as a therapy…  They all have impressive track records,” said Polchenko.

BAROQUE, mostly takes place in Vernon Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at All Saints Anglican Church (3205 27th St.). Tickets are on sale at the Ticket Seller, online at www.ticketseller.ca  or call 250-549-7469. Cost is $27 for adults, and $25 for  seniors/students.

Concerts will also be held in Salmon Arm Feb. 23 and Kelowna Feb. 26.

More information about the project and concerts can be found online at www.earlymusicokanagan.ca.