Joel Melnyk hopes to give grads of Kwantlen Polytechnic University a little more bounce in their step with the new music he composed for convocation ceremonies.
The Surrey resident, a recent graduate of KPU, has created an original piece of music for such events at KPU, where his tune debuted this week.
Melnyk was commissioned by Salvador Ferreras, KPU Provost and Vice-President, Academic, to compose the music, which was recorded by members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
“I’ve always felt KPU should have its own music for important occasions,” Ferreras said in a KPU news release. “When searching for a composer, I wanted to highlight a music student and the faculty that helped him or her achieve great things.”
On Wednesday, Melnyk’s music was played for the first time as grads walked into the hall.
Melnyk is a 2018 graduate of the Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts program.
“Joel is a talented percussionist who has shown a remarkable gift for composition,” noted music instructor Zdenek Skoumal. “He soaks up all ideas and advice presented to him to create fascinating musical statements that reach beyond his level of training. When I was asked to recommend a student to write the convocation fanfare he was an easy choice.”
For his percussion studies at KPU, Melnyk learned a variety of instruments. For the new composition, he said Ferreras requested brass, meaning plenty of trumpets and trombones, along with percussion.
“I hadn’t written much for brass before this point, but I had plenty of ideas, which made the writing process not too difficult,” Melnyk stated.
Ferreras, an accomplished percussionist, helped Melnyk rework the composition prior to its debut.
“Joel’s convocation processional music is a delightfully melodic work that transcends modern and classic compositional lines,” Ferreras raved. “The composition, recorded by the leading players of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, lends convocation an air of dignity, grandeur and beauty that is just right for this all-important milestone for students and all our community at KPU.”
Meanwhile, Ferreras will lead “a vibrant celebration of Brazilian music” at Vancouver Playhouse on Nov. 8 and 9, in a concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of the birth of the country’s Bossa Nova musical movement. The showcase, dubbed “Aquarela do Brasil: An Explosive Celebration of Music and Dance,” is presented by Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre Society (VLACC).
For two nights, a Ferreras-led ensemble of musicians and dancers “will ignite the stage with some of Brazil’s most infectious musical styles, from Rio’s exuberant carnaval rhythms and Bahia’s iconic samba-reggae to the fiery steps of Recife’s frevo, soulful choro classics, and lyrical Bossa Nova melodies,” according to a release.
“Over the past 60 years, the signature eclectic rhythms of Brazilian music and dance has captured the world’s imagination,” said Ferreras, a B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame inductee. “This innovative concert is a tribute not only to the richly diverse cultural traditions of Brazil, but also to its incredible influence within the world,” he added.
Performers at the Playhouse will include trumpeter and bandleader John Korsrud, guitarist Celso Machado, saxophonist Tom Keenlyside, bassist Jodi Proznick, pianist Miles Black, Brazilian tambourine player Liam MacDonald, trombonist Rod Murray, percussionist Toto Berriel and the dancers and drummers of Vancouver’s Aché Brasil. For more info and tickets ($20), visit brownpapertickets.com/event/3606405, or call the VLACC at 604-727-2878.