Since arriving in Powell River in June, Sam Marcaccini, his wife Natalie, and their two young boys have been enjoying everything Sam’s childhood hometown has to offer.
“I was born and raised in Powell River,” said Sam. “I left in 1993 for Victoria to learn performance singing before I came back to Powell River around 2000 to teach at [Powell River] Academy of Music. I left again to pursue more singing opportunities, and that was when I met Natalie.”
Natalie, who is originally from London, Ontario, was attending the Opera NUOVA program in Edmonton at the same time as Sam.
“We were playing the husband and wife in Street Sceneby Kurt Weill. He murdered me on stage,” she said with a laugh.
Sam joined Natalie in Ontario for a few months to explore opportunities there, but circumstances led them to discuss what it would be like to live in BC. Five months after they met, they got engaged and moved to Victoria.
“We lived very happily in Victoria for 10 years,” said Sam. “We both had good performance careers, working with various operas and symphonies around Victoria and Vancouver. I did some additional training in the Heldentenor style, but once we had kids, I wasn’t able to continue. I learned some great techniques, though, and I consider myself a better baritone for it.”
In addition to their musical careers, Sam began driving buses for Victoria Transit and Natalie became a certified ophthalmic assistant. It was Natalie’s career that brought them to Powell River.
“We were here on vacation three years ago, and I stopped by Dr. Botha’s office to say hello,” she said. “They wrote my name and number down, and about a year ago, they called and asked if I would be willing to relocate.”
That started a conversation for the couple about what they wanted for their children.
“I thought a lot about the lifestyle I had here growing up,” said Sam. “Sure, it’s isolated, but there is more freedom and safety here than in a larger centre.”
Natalie said that is why they did it.
“We wanted space, security, family connections, a house to call our own, a community to feel connected to, and a place to be able to come and go, like Sam did,” she added. “We want our children to go explore the world, but always know they have a community to come back to.”
Natalie is continuing her career in ophthalmology, and Sam is currently a casual bus driver for the Powell River Regional Transit System. They are both involved with the academy of music’s chamber choir, and are on the academy’s roster of teachers.
“We have skills, and we want to contribute to this community,” said Sam.
Since they arrived in July, they enjoyed everything a Powell River summer has to offer.
“We were at the lake every day,” said Natalie, “and we’re at the BMX park every second day. The boys are loving it.”
Sam and Natalie are looking forward to making more connections in the community as they get settled into their new home in Cranberry.
“We want to relax for a while,” said Sam. “It hasn’t happened yet, but it will come.”