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PRISMA puts west coast spin on famous piece at Powell River Recreation Complex

Students to perform ‘lively and fast-paced’ musical suite geared toward families and children
PRISMA Powell River
CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE: Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy organizers including [from left] office administrator Crista Whyte, artistic director Arthur Arnold, transportation and lodgings coordinator Barb Neri and student services assistant Hannah Schweitzer are gearing up for a special student chamber music concert performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’Carnival of the Animals on Tuesday, June 25, at Evergreen Theatre. Sara Donnelly photo

Joyful music, whimsical narration and west coast imagery make up Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy’s (PRISMA) upcoming performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ popular musical suite Carnival of the Animals. The student chamber music concert will be a highlight of this year’s performance lineup, according to PRISMA artistic director Arthur Arnold.

“I’m very excited that it’s all students performing,” he added. “Even the conductor will be a student. Then we have the west coast version, which is very exciting.”

The free concert and accompanying festivities are geared toward families and especially children, said transportation and lodgings coordinator Barb Neri, who is also one of the event’s organizers.

“It’s turned into a big party,” she said.

Starting at 6 pm in the upper foyer of Powell River Recreation Complex on Tuesday, June 25, there will be facepainting, colouring and crafting tables, popcorn and a photo booth.

“We’ll have a makeshift photo booth, a little instant camera and little masks, hats and glasses,” said office administrator Crista Whyte. “All the kids can huddle together and take home photos of each other, which will be really fun. It’s going to be a really lighthearted hour before the show.”

The musical part of the evening features a narration and on-screen imagery. It is lively and fast-paced, making it perfect for younger, potentially restless audience members, added Neri. “It’s meant to be kind of an initiation into orchestral music for young kids,” she said. “The overall piece is about 22 minutes. It’s made up of 14 shorter movements. I think the longest one is about two minutes.”

Saint-Saëns’ original version of Carnival of the Animals features lions, kangaroos and elephants, among others. However, PRISMA organizers decided to give the performance a more local feel.

“We’ve tried to tie in animals to their west coast counterparts,” said Whyte. “A lot of Carnival of the Animals was based on jungle themes, and we’re really trying to make it local interest and tie into something the kids here will recognize.”

This included incorporating indigenous art in the scenes, said Neri, who created the on-screen imagery.

“It was very important for me to tie it in with our first nations,” she added.

Organizers hope the evening will be something all generations can enjoy together.

“The expectation for this one is it’s family friendly,” said Whyte. “There’s an expectation that there’s going to be noise and a ruckus here and there. It doesn’t matter; it’s meant to be fun.”

PRISMA’s Carnival of the Animals takes place at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 25, in Powell River Recreation Complex’s Evergreen Theatre. Pre-concert festivities for the free, all-ages event start at 6 pm in the foyer outside the theatre.

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