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

Vancouver Musicians at the 2024 Play-In at Arts Umbrella in Granville Island

Two days after my visit with Jane Stein Wilson in Nanaimo, I got to play with her again in Vancouver at the official ACMP Vancouver Worldwide Play-In organized by local NAOC councilor Christina Wolf on Victoria Day – Monday, May 20, 2024. (Christina is pictured above, front-left.)

Twenty string players and two pianists attended, from Vancouver and its outlying suburbs, Vancouver Island, Bellingham, Washington and The Bronx, NY (guess who!). Christina rented three large rooms from Arts Umbrella, a well-known children’s arts school located in Granville Island – one of Vancouver’s top tourist locations with numerous art ateliers, artisanal boutiques and its famous public market.

As long-time ACMP members and readers of this blog surely know, there are so many ways to organize a Play-In. For this one, Christina opted for the round-robin drop-in approach. She brought four crates of chamber music parts with her for all combinations of multiple strings, with or without piano. Violist Colin Miles and pianist Bill Bruneau also brought sets of parts from their collections. With Christina’s encouragement, participants moved freely from room to room to play different repertoire with different people. Christina often sent runners to recruit players where needed – “We’re about to play The Trout – we need a bassist in Room 1!”

While many hard-core ACMP members (Jane Stein Wilson included) are not in favor of this practice, the Vancouver Play-In participants often doubled parts to maximize participation. One thing I found especially touching was how more experienced chamber musicians were willing to spot less experienced players, allowing them to experience the thrill of playing big chamber works by Dvorak and Brahms by playing along with their part or, in some cases, helping them keep track of where they were by cueing them in or pointing to places in their part where needed.

At the end of the Play-In, Christina brought everyone together in the largest room to sight-read the unannounced “Mystery Piece.” This year’s selection was the Suite for String Orchestra by Christopher Wilson. A great time was had by all!

For me, personally, a highlight of the Play-In was reconnecting with my dear friend Anita Zaenker whom I have known since we were both nine year-old aspiring string players in the newly launched Vancouver School Strings program, and who was among my closest High School friends. Her mother, the late great pianist Ailsa Zaenker, often accompanied the school string orchestra, and she eventually became my piano teacher. I was thrilled that Anita’s father, Karl Zaenker, was also at the Play-In. Karl is a retired Professor of German from the University of British Columbia and avid amateur violist who cofounded the local community orchestra the West Coast Symphony Orchestra in 1970. (You can see Karl, second from the left in the Play-In photo at the top of this article. To his right is Jane Stein Wilson, in the yellow T-shirt.) Like Jane Wilson’s family, the Zaenkers personify ACMP’s mission of intergenerational chamber music playing for pleasure! Anita often brings her sons to play along with her at WCAMS (West Coast Amateur Musicians Society.)

After the Play-In, many of the participants continued festivities with food and drinks at The Keg on Granville Island. Hill and I joined briefly, but we had to run off to return the double bass we borrowed from the local jazz musician and economist Clyde Reed. Thank you, Clyde!

For those of you in the Vancouver, B.C. area, save the date for the next Worldwide Play-In event: May 4, 2025. With any luck, I will see you there.

Left to right: Philip Buri, Oxana Marmer, Stephanie Griffin, Anita Zaenker

More Articles

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 ↗

A conversation with filmmaker Hilan Warshaw

In the lead-up to the ACMP Film Club event about Hilan Warshaw's "Secret Song" on Sunday, February 18 at 2pm ET, ACMP's Executive Director Stephanie Griffin had the pleasure of catching up with Hilan, and asking him about how his background as a musician led to a unique career as a filmmaker with a primary focus on musical subjects.

Read More ↗

Load More


All Articles By