Seattle vibraphonist Pascal to blaze into Qualicum

Pascal set to play with Ron Hadley and Russell Botten on Sunday in Qualicum Beach

Susan Pascal performs at The Old School House on Sunday.

Susan Pascal performs at The Old School House on Sunday.

Susan Pascal, a well-known and outstanding vibraphonist from Seattle is promising to enchant you with her lyricism and astound you with her blazing four-mallet technique when she performs for Music on Sunday, April 22 at The Old School House (TOSH).

With Ron Hadley on piano and Russell Botten on bass, the afternoon will be filled with great jazz music that is sure to please the ears and the eyes.

If you are not familiar with the vibraphone, the unconventional instrument is similar in appearance to the xylophone, marimba and glockenspiel.

Pascal has built an impressive music career — a career as amazing as the instrument she performs.

“People will say, I never saw that before. I never heard it in person before,” she said, and added, “Maybe they heard it on the radio, but when people see it, they’re really excited about it. On the vibes, I think that kinetic, visual thing is fun for people.  It’s fun to watch.”

Music has always been an important part of Pascal’s life.  She played the violin for awhile, but returned to percussion — specifically the marimba — after listening to her parents play Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass albums.

“One day, a little student marimba, which I still have, appeared in the living room and I started playing on that,” Pascal recalled.

“I took lessons on it, and that’s how I really got into percussion.”

She performed with her middle and high-school bands and explored classical percussion with the Seattle Youth Symphony.  It was in high school that Pascal started to grow fond of jazz percussion.

“For awhile there, I was thinking I would be a symphonic player,” she said.  “But then when I started listening to jazz vibe stuff, like Gary Burton, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson and that kind of stuff in high school, I got more interested in the jazz vibraphone.”

It was at the University of Washington, where she initially set out to study classical percussion, that her fondness for jazz took hold.

“I realized I was much more interested in jazz at that point.  Hearing that Crystal Silence album, which came out I think in 1973, I think a lot of people had that experience. That recording made a mark on a lot of people.”

Joining Pascal is basist Russell Botten.

The Victoria native played sax, guitar and keyboard in many different musical settings before settling exclusively with the bass.

In 1983 he attended The Banff School of Fine Arts.

Since his move to Vancouver in 1990, he has toured in Japan and the US with jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson, done club dates, concerts, and CBC broadcasts.

Most recently performed a concert with Diana Krall for Bill Clinton and his foundation.

Music on Sunday April 22 goes from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at The Old School House Arts Centre, 122 Fern Road West, in Qualicum Beach.  Admission is $16.00.  For more information phone 250-752-6133 or visit


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