PRISMA pays it forward with scenic concert in Powell River

Free event combines food, art and music on the shores of Willingdon Beach

Bright skies may be on the forecast for PRISMA on the Beach this Saturday, but organizers are promising a little trip to the dark side.

The PRISMA Festival Orchestra, whose 78 members have been rehearsing all week, will play selections from the Star Wars movie franchise, alongside symphonic works by Puccini, Mosolov and others.

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“For some in the community this is their only experience with PRISMA all year, so we try to fill the program with a little bit of everything,” said Andy Rice, the festival’s director of marketing and multimedia. “Star Wars is definitely going to be a highlight.”

Audience members who arrive wearing costumes or memorabilia will have the chance to enter their name into a prize draw. Point Group Hospitality, Putters Mini Golf and PRISMA have all donated prizes.

“If you have a Stormtrooper helmet or a Jedi robe kicking around the house, you’re not going to want to miss that opportunity,” said Rice.

Since the very first PRISMA on the Beach concert took place in 2013, the event has grown into a reliable platform for a variety of non-profit organizations in the community.

“It’s an opportunity for them to engage with other people on the beach and increase awareness for their cause,” said operations manager Kim Barton-Bridges. “We get a lot of help from the community, so whenever there is the opportunity to help others that’s what we always try to do.”

Each year, the festival receives a large donation of fish from Lois Lake Steelhead, which is cooked up and served by members of Tla’amin Nation as a fundraiser for the annual tribal canoe journey.

New for 2019, Powell River Hospice Society has been invited to run a beer garden at PRISMA on the Beach, with proceeds going toward the new Hospice House. The society will publicly kickoff a fundraising campaign and unveil plans for the four-bed facility set to break ground later this year.

Food and art vendors have become a staple of the event and will open at 5 pm throughout the grounds of Willingdon Beach Park. The PRISMA Festival Orchestra will begin its program at 6 pm, starting with the Tla’amin Nation’s Hɛhɛwšɩn Reconciliation Song.

“We’re so excited about this, for a variety of reasons,” said Rice. “One of our PRISMA alumni arranged this piece of music, written by Cyndi Pallen, Drew Blaney and Koosen Pielle, and now the orchestra will be accompanying a group of Tla’amin singers and drummers as they gather around the big canoe.”

Students from Laszlo Tamasik Dance Academy will also perform at the June 22 event.

Limited bleacher seating will be available, so attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. And, just like the view, PRISMA on the Beach is free for all to enjoy.

“One of my favourite moments is seeing our students’ jaws drop when they arrive at soundcheck and look out at the water,” said Rice. “It really puts it into perspective what a gorgeous place we live in.”

The PRISMA Festival runs until June 29. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit prismafestival.com.

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