The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – trombonist Scott MacInnes, left, trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson, French horn player Karen Hough and trumpeter Stevan Paranosic – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – trombonist Scott MacInnes, left, trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson, French horn player Karen Hough and trumpeter Stevan Paranosic – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)

Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Christmas Under the Big Tent concert series has been cancelled.

From Dec. 6 to Dec. 13 the VIS’s Back Row Brass Quintet – trumpeters Stevan Paranosic and Mark D’Angelo, French horn player Karen Hough, trombonist Scott MacInnes and tuba player Nick Atkinson – had been scheduled to perform a series of small, outdoor concerts, dubbed Christmas Under the Big Tent.

Prior to the cancellation, VIS artistic director Pierre Simard said the ensemble would be performing a festive, holiday repertoire, noting that group leader Paranosic has performed Christmas concerts at Butchart Gardens for years.

“Brass and Christmas is sort of a natural pairing,” Simard said. “It goes almost without saying.”

He said the concert series would build on the success of this summer’s VIS Pop Up Concert Series, which saw symphony members perform small, outdoor concerts across the mid-Island from Saltair to the Comox Valley. Simard said those concerts nearly sold out.

Simard said the safety aspects have been “examined, re-examined and even upgraded.” Attendance were to be limited to 50 audience members who may sit among their “bubbles,” masks are required upon entry and exit, there will be contact tracing at each venue and sanitized, socially distanced chairs will be provided. Audience members must not attend if they are sick or feeling unwell.

But that scenario did not work under the increased restrictions brought in by Dr. Bonnie Henry last week.

Audience members may request a ticket refund, a tax receipt for the value of their tickets or a ticket for the live-stream of the Dec. 4 Christmas and Brass concert.

“We’re sort of trying to make this a combination of safety first and also music first,” Simard said.

WHAT’S ON… Christmas Under the Big Tent concerts take place in Parksville on Dec. 6 at 1 and 3 p.m. and Lantzville from Dec. 11 to 13 at 1 and 3 p.m. Tickets $40, available at www.porttheatre.com.

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