YARMOUTH, N.S. – When a small group of music lovers gathered at the Tri-County Women’s Centre in the spring of 2008 to form the Hear! Here! Society, the goal was to produce one concert.
Working on a shoestring, the group met its goal. The sold-out concert featured pianist Robert Kortgaard and New Brunswick-based soprano Sally Dibble.
That one led to another. And another.
Now 10 years has passed and in the interim the local presenter of classical and jazz music has hosted nearly 60 concerts and gained a reputation for excellence within the classical music community.
“We try to deliver more than a concert. Our goal is a memorable experience for both performers and our audiences,” says Hear! Here! co-chairwoman Virginia Stoddard.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Hear! Here! Society is planning its most ambitious season yet. Ten concerts are planned. The group is bringing back several performers who played a pivotal role in the group’s evolution, including Kortgaard.
The season will open on Friday, April 27, with pianist David Potvin. Yarmouth audiences were introduced to him in 2012 in a concert billed as The Curtain Rises.
The concert will be at the Yarmouth County Museum at 7 p.m. Tickets $20, phone 902-742-8765 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a graduating student from Acadia University’s music program, it was his first professional recital. He has continued his studies and is preparing to graduate with a doctorate in music performance from the University of Toronto. Along the way, he has earned accolades and awards for his musicianship. Now he’s coming back to Yarmouth, as promised, for Encore.
Hear! Here! welcomes back Steinway Artist Ron Tomarelli on June 8. Tomarelli has been a friend of the society from the beginning. He has performed on numerous occasions and always made time to conduct master classes for area piano students.
In July, violin-piano duo Geoffrey Day and Lan Lam will perform the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano. The 10-sonata cycle will be performed over four successive Sunday afternoons.
Hear! Here! partners with Musique Royale, which produces a touring summer season of classical music in historic spaces throughout Nova Scotia. The group will present Les Voix Humaines, a viol consort, at Central Chebogue Church on July 2.
On Oct. 29 Hear! Here! will welcome back Robert Kortgaard with soprano Julie Nesrallah.
Hear! Here! is also one of Debut Atlantic’s presenting organizations and plans are in the works to host concerts in late fall and next spring. Guitar duo Steve Cowan and Adam Chicchillitti on Sunday, Nov. 18 and the Rolston String Quartet Feb. 24, 2019
In addition to its formal programming, Hear! Here! Society provides logistical and financial support for other local groups. The group organizes a musical fundraiser for the Argyle Historic Church each year. It encourages musical education through a sponsorship program to ensure that music students can attend concerts at no cost to them. It works with the Yarmouth Music Society, local schools, and music educators to provide a variety of musical education opportunities.
“We know the future of classical music lies in young people,” says Stoddard.
Last year, the group sponsored Measha Bruggergosman’s Yarmouth concert at Th’YARC. That support included a significant financial contribution in addition to hosting the show.
“When we heard Th’YARC was bringing in one of Canada’s most celebrated sopranos, we wanted to help ensure its success,” says Stoddard.
The highlight of this anniversary year will be a signature event in August. The group plans to host its supporters at a magical, musical event.
“It is our way of saying thank you. As long as we have an audience and we’re having fun, we will continue to program classical music so that people in southwestern Nova Scotia can hear it here,” Stoddard says.
Ticket, times and locations of concerts this year will be publicized closer to the events.