Although violinist Marjorie Cullerne has lived in Parksville for many years, the public performance she is presenting in that city this Sunday is a rare event.That’s because Cullerne often performs at private events, seniors homes and for educational purposes.
And beyond the Island she’s been known to dazzle crowds in far flung places, performing solo as well as in orchestras and chamber music ensembles.
She’ll be performing an evening of romantic music including gypsy, Celtic and fiddle tunes with guitarist Peter Leclerc and accordionist Peter Wilk at the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC) March 30 at 2:30 p.m.
Cullerne has been playing the violin since she was six years old. The instrument has come a long way since then, she said.
“When I first started, the violin didn’t come in all these cute little sizes,” she said. “My violin was so big that I had terrible posture.”
Cullerne went on to earn a bachelor of music degree from the University of British Columbia and a masters degree in music history and violin from Ohio State University.She has lived and performed professionally in Australia and New Zealand and entertained crowds in England, France, and the United States. She’s also been a core member of the Vancouver Island Symphony for 19 years.
Cullerne has taught violin and music theory for 30 years and continues to teach from her home studio in Parksville. She is also a member of the violin faculty with the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music.
Cullerne has a history with the MAC, making it a fitting venue for her concert. Many years ago, when the Oceanside Community Arts Council (OCAC) was known as the District 69 Arts Council, Cullerne was a member—(The OCAC now owns part of the MAC). She then taught musical theatre at the MAC when it was a dance school and her daughters attended the centre.
In 1998 she was at a social gathering when she met guitarist Peter Leclerc.Leclerc is originally from Montreal and began playing the guitar at age 13. He moved to Qualicum Beach about 20 years ago, and besides his work as a full time software developer, he draws and plays music daily.Beside being a tool for self expression and creativity, the guitar relaxes him, he said.
“When I get home from a stressful day at work I pick up the guitar and it resets the whole world, so at that level it’s a meditation tool.”
Leclerc plays pop music with his wife Janet, so the mix of eclectic music he plays with Cullerne is a departure from that. Together the two play Celtic, tango, gypsy and jazz standards and they released a CD called Rose Darling in 2009.
Cullerne has also been playing music with accordion player Peter Wilk from Nanaimo for a number of years. Wilk moved to that area four years ago from Toronto. He began playing the accordion at age six and has performed solo and with ensembles in a variety of settings including cafes, theatres, and in choirs. He enjoys arranging tunes for the accordion from a number of musical genres and he sells the material.
“Peter Wilk is extremely good at arranging piano music for accordion,” said Cullerne. “He reads music, improvises, and plays from memory.”
Tickets to the concert on March 30 are $15, $5 for children, available from Marjorie (250-248-9339) or at the door.