Never in My Wildest Dreams

by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself writing the following words, but here they are! I just heard an exquisite performance of Mendelssohn’s Scherzo played by Alexander Sevastian on the accordion. Yes. You read it right. The accordion. And yes. I said exquisite.

Sevastian, born in Minsk, Belarus, and a Canadian citizen since 2005 is a three time first prize winner of the world International Accordion Competition. He has the dexterity worthy of a concert pianist and a Masters degree (performance) from Moscow. Over the past five years he has toured Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Estonia and Guatemala. Now he will perform on Friday, October 28th in Oliver under the auspices of the South Okanagan Concert Society.

Many of you are aware the Oliver school and auditorium burned down recently. Sevastian will perform at the new time of 7:30 pm at this season’s temporary venue, the Oliver Alliance Church , 36853 99th Street which is just off Highway 97 at the northern ‘Welcome to Oliver’ sign.

Tickets are on sale at Beyond Bliss Esthetics in Oliver, Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and at the door. The best buy is a flexible pass for four admissions for only $60. The admissions can be used separately or in combination. Single admission is $20 and young people age 17 and under are welcome to attend concerts free.

If you are one of those who can’t associate “exquisite” with “accordion” I invite you to visit and see how Sevastian can create a whole orchestra in one instrument. Whether it is Rossini’s La Danza or Mozart’s Organ Fantasia, Sevastian is able to delight with his music as well as his stage presence. His program exhibits a broad versatility some of it perhaps inspired by Quartetto Gelato. He has been touring internationally with this group since 2002. They also were on stage in Oliver in the past. If you missed them and want to explore their style, check out

Sevastian has performed concerts in 30 Russian cities as well as concerts in Belarus, the Ukraine and other parts of Europe. His Kossak Variations by Victor Gridin will bring anyone with a drop of Russian blood to their feet in a standing ovation.

Don’t be shy. Try something unusual in the world of music and discover the appeal of a champion accordionist

Concert Season ready? Yes Yes Yes!

submitted by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

When the recent massive fire consumed the Oliver Venables Auditorium, citizens felt bereft. So much was destroyed and many wondered if the South Okanagan Concert Society would be able to bring world class concerts to the community this year. The answer to that question is YES! YES! YES!

The Concert Society knew that the renovations started at the auditorium before the fire would not be completed for this season. There was time to plan and to arrange for a temporary new venue at the Oliver Alliance Church. A concert series was designed specifically to take advantage of the acoustics in a smaller, more intimate setting . As the series took shape we knew we had a winner to bring delight to a community suffering a grievous loss.

Flex pass tickets are on sale now at Beyond Bliss in Oliver and at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos. A four admission pass costs only $60. The four admissions are entirely flexible and can be used together or in combination. Single admission is $20. Young people 17 and under are welcome to attend the concerts free. All the concerts will begin at the new start time of 7:30 pm.

So this is what we have in store for you! On Friday, October 28th, Alexander Sevastian, who hails from Belarus and became a Canadian citizen in 2005, will make you believe his accordion is a whole orchestra in one instrument. His dexterity is worthy of a concert pianist. It is hardly a surprise that he has captured first prize three times at the International Accordion Competition.

On Friday, November 25, 2011, the Kallisto Trio of Fabiana Katz, Catherine Laub and Karen Mang will perform a cappella with flawlessly tuned voices blending into one. They are known for classical mastery, Pop personality and Latin spice. Kallisto draws inspiration from every era of music history. The trio brings music from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods to life and then shifts effortlessly to jazz standards, pop hits, world music and gospel.

Solo guitarist, Daniel Bolshoy, will be on stage Friday, January 27, 2012. He has been a mega hit with his charismatic stage presence, a charming ability to communicate with the audience, and the ability to coax utter magic from his guitar.

The critics say this young man “immerses himself in his music, physically projecting the depth of its emotion while his virtuosity flows as if it were an instinctive force.”

He has recently been appointed to head the guitar department at the newly created Vancouver Symphony School of Music.

The series will conclude on Friday, February 24, 2012 with a performance by the Penderecki String Quartet. In the second decade of an extrordinary career, this celebrated chamber ensemble’s performing schedule takes them annually to the great concert stages of North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Making up this prestigious quartet are Jeremy Bell, violin, Jerzy Kaplanek, violin, Christine Vlajk, viola and Paul Pulford, cello.

This is a series with the transformational power to turn the grief of a community into joy through music.