A busy concert weekend

On the west side of the hump in Port Alberni my wife Patricia is conducting the Timbre! Choir for its annual Christmas presentation. Soloists will be Michelle Weckesser and Elizabeth Grenon. Vancouver pianist Sarah Hagen is the accompanist. Performances - Sat, Dec 15 at 7:30 pm & Sun, Dec 26 at 2:30 pm.

On the east side of the hump I continue my gig at the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular this weekend with six performances thru Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online from the Nanaimo’s Port Theatre website at www.porttheatre.com. The production has just returned from a one-night performance at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay with a sellout of 500 seats.

Seating configuration in ADSS Theatre in Port Alberni 
will be new to valley audiences

The design of the new ADSS theatre in Port Alberni is very different from the community’s old auditorium on Burde Street with its rows of plywood seats, and like driving a new car or installing a modern HDTV set in your home, there will be an adjustment for some patrons attending events in the new facility. 

The seating style in the 455-seat theatre is what’s known as Continental Seating. It’s not a new concept, an early example being Wagner’s opera house in Bayreuth, Germany which was built in 1876.  

Today across North America there are scores of theatres using the design. Three in Canada that I’ve attended concerts in are the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria and the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. 

The concept behind not using an aisle to break the rows is to allow for maximum seating in front of the stage. To do this the aisle of the seats is made wider to allow for easier movement. Last week at the official opening my wife Patricia and I sat in the exact centre of the theatre’s second row. Due to an afternoon performance of the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular that I’m playing piano for, we had to leave a few minutes before the ceremony had finished. We had no problem reaching the side aisle. In fact the students seated in our row didn’t even need to stand up to let us pass.  

Another benefit of the new theatre is the generous slope giving from every seat, a direct line of vision to the stage.

The theatre is truly a remarkable achievement for the Alberni Valley considering the economic challenges faced in recent years.  For School District #70 (Alberni), a standing ovation is in order.