By Lissa Alexander
It’s not everyday that a woodwind quintet performs in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach region, but local music lovers will have the opportunity to see one May 26 while supporting local women and children fleeing domestic violence.
“There are not a lot of opportunities to hear a woodwind quintet, so everyone should come and support a great cause and support classical music,” said Deborah Vitek, who plays the oboe with the Faire Wyndes. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Parksville-Qualicum Haven House (PQHH), a local safe house for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. The House is a collaboration between Haven Society and Society of Organized Service.
The Faire Wyndes initially formed many years ago on Gabriola Island, however they couldn’t officially call themselves a woodwind quintet at that time. “The wind players wanted to play together, but we did not have a bassoonist,” Vitek explained. “So for many years John Capon did a brilliant job of playing the bassoon parts on his trombone!”
About a year ago the group discovered a bassoonist on Salt Spring Island, and their trombonist moved on to pursue brass bands, so the ensemble officially became a “real” woodwind quintet, said Vitek. The group is comprised of Christine McKim on flute, Deborah Vitek on oboe, Phil Haig on clarinet, Janet Summers on the French horn, and Kerry Graham on bassoon.
Dawn Clark, director of programs with Haven Society, said fundraising is critical for the continued success of the PQHH, to ensure that women and their children are able to access safe shelter and remain in their home community.
“Without the generous spirit of groups like the Faire Wyndes promoting our work and hosting fundraising events, we would not be able to provide shelter and related supports that many women and children fleeing violence require,” she said, adding that donations from local businesses and individual community members are also critical to the success of the House.
Last year 27 women and 11 children accessed the safe house, for a total of 514 bed nights (which reflects each overnight stay per person). Since opening in 2013, 131 women and 70 children have been supported and more than 1,000 crisis calls have been answered.
Clark added that children are as traumatized by witnessing domestic violence as they are by being abused themselves. She also clarified that domestic violence is present amongst all ages, economic classes, racial and ethnic groups.
The Faire Wyndes are supportive of the PQHH’s goal to become a transition house, staffed 24 hours a day, to meet the needs in the area. “We are so happy to be part of the effort to make that happen,” Vitek said. “For our various reasons, we all understand that no woman should feel threatened and not have a safe place to go.”
The Faire Wyndes will perform at 2 p.m. on May 26 at Knox United Church. The programme will include orchestral arrangements such as The Barber of Seville by Rossini, Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1 by Respighi, as well as pieces arranged just for the wind instruments.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.havensociety.com, or in person at Mulberry Bush Book Stores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, and at Burnt Honey Dessert Company in Nanaimo.