NAOC Adventures in Vancouver, Canada

Chamber Music in Vancouver: clockwise from front left: Christina Wolf, Minah Ahn, James Hill, Stephanie Griffin, Middle: Coda the Dog

I am always trying to remind ACMP members of the fun and adventures they can have if they get in touch with ACMP members on their travels. So, this summer, I decided to give it a try myself!

Within the United States and Canada, ACMP’s greatest resource for this purpose is the North American Outreach Council (NAOC), chaired by former ACMP board member Celeste Chau.

When I first took on the position of Executive Director of ACMP in August 2020, I noticed that we did not yet have an NAOC Councilor in my home town of Vancouver, BC, Canada. To remedy that, I called my dear friend Anita Zaenker who I met at the tender age of ten through the Vancouver School Strings program (which is how I got my start on the viola). I ended up taking piano lessons with Anita’s mother, Ailsa Zaenker, and Anita and I both ended up at the same High School. Anita and I have stayed in touch through all of these years, and I knew her to be an active amateur violinist. When I asked her about potentially serving as our NAOC councilor in Vancouver, she said that she knew somebody else who would be perfect for that role: violinist Christina Wolf.

Back then, I met Christina Wolf on Zoom. She even invited me to give a brief talk about ACMP for a Zoom event through her community orchestra, the West Coast Symphony. We since co-organized an online Play-In on SonoBus. When I emailed her to let her know I would be in Vancouver visiting my parents this July, she organized not one but TWO chamber music gatherings at her home in downtown Vancouver! I enjoyed reading quartets by Haydn and Mendelssohn with Christina, Minah Ahn (violin) and James Hill (cello), who had actually started teaching music at my High School shortly before I left. Christina’s fabulous dog, Coda, was at the center of all activities, as you will see in the photo, above.

The following evening I came back to play quartets by Haydn and Beethoven with Christina, Yoko Ito and Caroline Jackson (with Coda in tow, of course.)

Chamber Music in Vancouver, clockwise from left: Coda the Dog, Christina Wolf, Yoko Ito, Caroline Jackson, Stephanie Griffin

There’s nothing quite like reading quartets with a view of the mountains in Vancouver! And after each session, we enjoyed wine and snacks outside on Christina’s beautiful back deck. I hope to meet up with Christina, Minah, James, Yoko and Caroline next time I come back to Vancouver, and I am already cooking up a plan for the Worldwide Play-In weekend next year (May 17-19, 2024.) Thank you, Christina, for your hospitality!

A few days later, I traveled to Vancouver Island. While there was not enough time to organize a chamber music session this time around, I got in touch with our NAOC councilor on Vancouver Island, Gary Hayes.

After meeting so many wonderful new people through Christina in Vancouver, I thought it was my turn to introduce Gary to some of my friends near where he lives. We had dinner together with a view of the ocean and the mountains at the home of my dear friends Jim and Marion Welsh in North Saanich. I enjoyed getting to know Gary and his wife Florence, and hearing Gary’s stories from his experiences as a classical music producer for CBC radio.

Left to right: Stephanie Griffin with Florence and Gary Hayes on Vancouver Island

Next time I come to this area (hopefully in May!), I look forward to meeting up and playing music with all of my new friends.

And, if you haven’t yet been to Vancouver or Vancouver Island, I highly recommend that you come here some time. The best time to visit is July through September, but it’s beautiful all year round. I recently got wind of a number of chamber music workshops in this area that are not yet in ACMP’s Directory of Events and Workshops. Stay tuned for a follow-up on those soon.

Meanwhile, even if you have no plans to travel – is there an NAOC or IAC (International Advisory Council) member anywhere near you? Maybe it’s time to send them an email and see if they can connect you with more players in your area!

More Articles

Play-In Season in British Columbia, Part II: Vancouver

Vancouver NAOC councilor Christina Wolf hosted the official ACMP Vancouver Worldwide Play-In event on May 20, 2024 at Arts Umbrella on Granville Island. Twenty string players and two pianists were in attendance, from Vancouver and its outlying suburbs, Vancouver Island, Bellingham, Washington and The Bronx, NY.

Read More ↗

Play-In Season in British Columbia, Part I: Nanaimo

This Play-In season, Stephanie and her partner Hilliard Greene attended ACMP Play-Ins in British Columbia, Canada, starting with a visit with Jane Stein Wilson in Nanaimo.

Read More ↗

Over 80 musicians gather for a Play-In at the 92nd Street Y

On June 2, 2024, over 80 adult amateur chamber musicians gathered for a Play-In co-produced by ACMP and the 92nd Street Y at the 92nd Street Y School of Music.

Read More ↗

ACMP Listening Club: Schubert Octet in F major, D. 803

Join us for an exciting journey through Franz Schubert’s Octet in F major, D. 803, led by British conductor, composer, and educator Peter Fender. We'll dive deep into the first, fourth, and sixth movements of this captivating piece, written for clarinet, bassoon, French horn, string quartet, and double bass. Topics will include setting tempos, stage setup, characterization of the fourth movement variations, balancing the instrumentation, rhythms, best recordings, and much more.

Read More ↗

News of Note 2024

Hear ye, hear all about it! Check out the web version of the 2024 News of Note with highlights from this year's news, a cartoon, a recipe and even a puzzle. (Submit your answers by July 1.)

Read More ↗

Last-minute opportunity for Advanced Cellists: Full-Scholarship to Music Mountain’s Chamberfest (July 4 – 9)

Attention Advanced Cellists: One of ACMP's recent grantees in our 2024 Chamber Music Workshop and Community Music grant cycle has just lost a cellist and is offering a full scholarship to an advanced adult amateur cellist who can fill in on short notice for Music Mountain Chamberfest 2024: July 4-9 in Falls Village, Connecticut.

Read More ↗

Explore Schubert’s Octet with Peter Fender

Delve into Schubert's Octet with British conductor, composer and educator Peter Fender in the first edition of ACMP Listening Club on Sunday, June 3 at 2pm Eastern time.

Read More ↗

Wine, Weiner and Witt

Read ACMP violinist and coach María Catalina Paredes' story about the recent Just Play-supported concert “Wine, Weiner and Witt” in the city of Quito, Ecuador  at Café Rio Intag (and continued at Pizzaria Amici Miel) on March 11, 2024.  María Catalina organized this international gathering of ACMP members with the help of fellow Ecuadorian violinists Eudin Ramos and Keyber Perez and American cellist Tom Cappaert.

Read More ↗

Connecting the generations through music

Lorraine Marks-Field founded two intergenerational orchestras in New Jersey and Florida, emphasizing inclusivity and personal growth through music. Her approach connects players of all ages and abilities, fostering mentoring relationships and intergenerational bonds that extend beyond musical excellence to enrich lives.

Read More ↗

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Cal-Wiersma-class_20240407_ACMP_Cam-1.00_05_24_13.Still001-a-1600x1055.jpg

New Masterclass Video: Calvin Wiersma coaches Messiaen!

Check out the video recording from our recent class with violinist and chamber music! coach extraordinaire Calvin Wiersma on practice and rehearsal techniques in Olivier Messiaen’s seminal work, the "Quartet for the End of Time." During the class, Cal worked with ACMP musicians Kenneth Margolis (clarinet), Yolanda Wu (violin), Ben Pfeifer (cello) and Skip Kennon (piano.)

Read More ↗

Two new videos: ACMP Film Club

In 2023 ACMP launched its new Film Club series, and so far we have had two amazing conversations between filmmakers, musicians and our community. Watch the videos of both Film club events!

Read More ↗

2024 Worldwide Play-In Events

ACMP's Official Worldwide Play-In Weekend takes place from Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19, 2024 but we have extended the whole Worldwide Play-In initiative to encompass Play-Ins throughout May, which is National Chamber Music Month here in the United States, and early June. Keep checking this article and the ACMP Events and Workshops Directory for public Play-Ins near you!

Read More ↗

Sue Mistretta celebrates 10 years of Mountainside Chamber Music in Nelson, B.C.

Sue Mistretta is an ACMP member cellist in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Read my interview with Sue to learn more about the adult amateur music scene in Nelson, her life as an adult beginner, and her experience creating a chamber music workshop from the ground up and running it for ten years. Maybe you would like to take a trip to beautiful Nelson, B.C. for one of her workshops this summer. Hurry to make the "Early Bird" discount deadline of May 1.

Read More ↗

Notes from the Rehearsal Studio: Learning the “Quartet for the End of Time”

In advance of the live and livestreamed masterclass this Sunday, April 7, I interviewed the four intrepid adult amateur musicians who took on the first and sixth movements of Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time." For the clarinetists, pianists, violinists and cellists among you, I hope you will be inspired to delve into Messiaen's masterwork yourselves!

Read More ↗

Announcing the 2024 Worldwide Play-In Weekend: May 17-19

May is Chamber Music Month! And ACMP is happy to announce its official Worldwide Play-In weekend: Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19, 2024

Read More ↗

Calvin Wiersma class on Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”: Sunday, April 7, 3pm ET

ACMP is proud to present a special live (and live-streamed) class with violinist and chamber music coach extraordinaire Calvin Wiersma on Olivier Messiaen's seminal work, the "Quartet for the End of Time," with ACMP member musicians Kenneth Margolis (clarinet), Yolanda Wu (violin), Ben Pfeifer (cello) and Walter Kennon (piano.)

Read More ↗

An orchestra that lives up to the ideals of the United Nations

Ever since the United Nations was founded nearly 80 years ago, it has stood for nothing less than “peace, justice, and better living for all humankind.” When it comes to living up to those ideals, nowhere does that happen more than every Wednesday night in a nondescript office across from UN headquarters.

Read More ↗

Meet Joel Epstein: violinist, violist, writer, arranger, educator and ACMP member since the 1970s

Violinist, violist, writer, arranger and educator Joel Epstein has been a member of ACMP since the 1970s. Get to know Joel and read about his book "Music for the Love of It: Episodes in Amateur Music-Making" and about his important work teaching music to status-less children in Israel.

Read More ↗

Meet ACMP Pianist and Educator James Daly

You may have been wondering about the people featured in the mockups for ACMP's new Timbre app-in-progress. AI was not involved in any way - all of those people are real members of ACMP with profiles in our Directory of Chamber Musicians. California-based pianist and educator James Daly is the man in the header image for the blog article about Timbre. Read all about his path to becoming a musician and educator and enjoy a 20% ACMP member discount on his original T-shirts and other merchandise.

Read More ↗

Timbre Reveal: a sneak peak at ACMP’s new app-in-progress

Take a sneak peek at “Timbre” - ACMP's first ever app, in its early stages of development. Timbre will be a fun, visual, and more immediate way to find other ACMP members while you’re casually scrolling on your phone.

Read More ↗

Load More


All Articles By