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Trinity Mountain Ensemble
Kerri Holmes, Yolaine Hames, Rebecca Edwards and Kumi Yamamoto play together as Trinity Mountain Ensemble. Rebecca explains how they are trying to make classical music accessible to everyone.
Trinity Mountain Ensemble was formed almost by accident at the end of last year – we met while playing with Fernie Chamber Orchestra, and decided to meet every week to play quartet music together, just for fun.
Our first public performance was a Christmas carol concert with Fernie Chamber Orchestra and Fernie Community Choir – at that point we didn’t even have a name for our group.
When we stepped out on stage, the theatre was filled with a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience and it made us realize there is a big appetite for live classical music. We named ourselves Trinity Mountain Ensemble after the original name for the Three Sisters, and began building up our repertoire for weddings, concerts and corporate events.
Yolaine Hames, who plays flute, studied music performance in Montreal and now teaches the flute in the Fernie area. Quartets don’t have a conductor, but Yolaine is our leader, so you will see us looking to her at the beginning of each piece to make sure we all start at the same time and speed, and continue to play in sync throughout the piece.
Kerri Holmes, who plays violin, trained in Newfoundland and is also a violin teacher in Fernie. Occasionally her daughter Adele (who is five) joins our rehearsals, playing on a mini version of her mom’s violin.
Kumi Yamamoto, who plays cello, studied music in PEI. She came to Fernie for the ski season and, after finding out there was an orchestra, bought her cello its own plane seat from PEI to Calgary so she could continue to play.
I normally play violin but learned the viola this year especially for the quartet – the two instruments look very similar, but the viola has a lower range and richer sound.
At weddings, we can play all the popular classics that brides usually request – from Pachelbel’s Canon in D to the famous Wedding March by Mendelssohn (which you may know as Here Comes the Bride). We’ve been asked to play pieces that are special to the wedding couple or their family, including music from the movie Twilight: New Dawn.
We also play a number of more modern pieces, from George Gershwin and Cole Porter to Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. If you think that pop music would be easier to play than classical music, think again – Eleanor Rigby is one of our shortest pieces, but we spent hours rehearsing it because it has so many hidden layers.
We love to see our audiences engaging with our music. When Todd Weselake of Raven Eye Photography took these photos of us at The Arts Station gallery, a young family came out of The Blue Toque and began to dance, which is why we’re all smiling and laughing in the photos.
It is very important to us that our concerts are fun and accessible to anyone – we want to shake off this idea that you have to know a lot about classical music to attend a concert. There is a big debate in the classical music industry right now about how to boost audience numbers to professional orchestra concerts.
The fact is, more people than ever before are listening to music composed for string, brass and wind instruments, but instead of listening at concert halls and opera houses, they hear it on movie soundtracks, TV commercials and even video games.
This means that even people who would swear they don’t know anything about classical music have likely enjoyed five or six classical pieces already today.
Hearing music performed live is always a more intense experience – you can feel the energy of the performers, how they communicate through their music, and see all the different styles of playing that create the final sound.
We are still taking bookings for weddings and events this summer and have a concert coming up September 21 at Clawhammer Gallery, which will be a great opportunity to experience live music in a really intimate setting.
We love to see kids at our concerts, and would love to see more young musicians (as well as their parents and grandparents) take up an instrument and join us at Fernie Chamber Orchestra rehearsals every Monday at The Arts Station.
To find out what we are up to, visit www.trinitymountainensemble.com or like us on Facebook.