Written by Danielle Champiet-Coronado
This past Thursday I went to see a good friend of mine and gifted musician, Denise Uhde-Friesen, play with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Esther Short park. A soul for music and fingers blessed by the gods, Denise can make a $50 violin sound like a Stradivarius. The City of Vancouver holds monthly concerts of all musical genres through the summer at Esther Short park, located in the center of town. It’s a beautiful venue and the acoustics can’t be beaten. I was running late that afternoon and, as expected, the area was packed for blocks! People were having to 5 and 6 blocks out to find an open space, but the acoustics of the park projected the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s sweet tunes out that far. Like a lighthouse beacon, it guided music lovers to the park.
There were a few places that I wanted to see while I was downtown and it was the perfect afternoon for a long stroll. Things have been changing around town for the past 15 years, some good, some not so good. While the addition of some murals and vintage fixtures has made the town prettier, gentrification comes at a price. Some of the family-owned businesses, like a lovely Greek restaurant that I used to get my lunch and coffee at when I worked downtown, were forced out by drastic rent increases. Vancouver has some awesome ethnic businesses and there needs to be a place for them, not just Starbucks and McDonalds. One of my favorite places is a restaurant called Bosnia. Great food and charming atmosphere and patrons give you a taste of that very beautiful country. Bosnians, as well as many other nationalities, are a lovely part of Vancouver. Diversity of culture needs to be embraced more by our city officials.
Ok, back to the interesting places and fabulous music. These were a few of the unique sites in our fair city:
From left to right: a colorfully decorated wire box, a mural showcasing the farmer’s market that goes on at Esther Short park every Saturday and Sunday, the tower of the bells at the entrance of the park and Firehouse Glass. Firehouse Glass is one of my favorite buildings because it is so unique. It’s like a little castle. If you ever wanted to learn how to blow glass or buy some incredible creations, this is the place to go. All made for a lovely stroll to the show.
Upon arriving at the park, I was met with a collage of happenings. Children playing in the small, rock fountain, people walking their dogs, greeting friends and enjoying the open-air concert.
Who knew there were so many people in Vancouver! The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra was in full swing, playing a medley of pieces from old favorites to a piece composed by that evening’s outstanding conductor, Dr. Don Appert. The MC, Aaron Scott, was charming and funny. Not at all what you would expect from a classical venue. It was lovely to see people of all ages relaxing and enjoying the music. One wouldn’t think that children would enjoy a classical show, but they were having the most fun of all, dancing to Peter Gunn, the Pink Panther, the Baby Elephant Walk and a variety of classical pieces. The Peter Gunn theme is one of those pieces of music that always makes me think of Chicago whenever I hear it. Suave, cool jazz just seems to fit the attitude of Chicago. As if great music in the best setting wasn’t enough, the audience was also treated to amazing solos by the incredibly talented Linda Appert.
There were vendors a plenty, the scents of their delectable goodies carried throughout the crowd by a mischievous breeze. The day was perfect for such a event; warm, but not too hot with a steady breeze that kept everyone perfectly comfortable. I have concerts here before and this one will go down as on of my favorites.