The Kelowna Community Music School celebrated it’s 40th anniversary on Saturday night with a gala event attended by about 280 people at the Mary Irwin Theatre in the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
Kelowna deputy-mayor Tracy Gray opened the festivities with a brief history of how the school evolved from one lone teacher, Denis Letourneau, and 10 students to 25 teachers and about 500 students.
Richard Knight, KCMS president, added that the concept of the school began in someone’s living room and now 40 years later, the school owns a large house that is mortgage free.
He went on to say how KCMS has a reputation for being the “go to” place for classical music in the Okanagan but also offers other varieties music like pop and jazz.
Graham Vink, the school’s artistic director, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. The concert began with a piano duet featuring Elizabeth Wocks and Joe Berarducci. They were then given longevity awards for being members of the school for 25 and 15 years respectively.
The evening continued with a variety of classical and jazz music from the KCMS String Quintet featuring John Suderman (violin), Sandra Wilmot (violin), Ashley Kroecher (viola), Martin Kratky (cello) and Olivia Walsh (cello); a duet with Christine Moore (flute) and Karmen Doucette (bassoon); the KCMS Jazz Quartet featuring Hugh Parsons (piano), Lucy Benwell (saxophone and clarinet), Gil Kafka (bass) and Richard Knight (drums); and last but not least Eeva-Maria Kopp (lyric soprano) and Graham Vink (piano).