Before Bronwyn Churcher heads off to Newfoundland for other musical pursuits (to do a PhD in ethnomusicology), the island-raised musician has got a couple of final concerts up her sleeve. And she’s joined by some heavy-hitters in the Bowen music scene.
Bowen Islanders will have just two chances to see the local Celtic folk quartet made up of seasoned musicians Bronwyn Churcher, Nicole Thomas Zyczynski, Keona Hammond and Neil Hammond: Aug. 21 and Aug. 27.
The four started playing for fun in the early days of the pandemic.
Nicole had the idea of pulling together Celtic sessions for anyone who played instruments – “We came together and started jamming a lot and having a ton of fun,” says Bronwyn, “and realizing, ‘Oh, these instruments are really cool together.’” (That is the fiddle, accordion, flute and guitar.)
“They’re all awesome musicians and have been playing trad music for a long time,” says Bronwyn. Nicole used to start up music sessions anywhere she lived in France; Keona and Neil met while playing Irish music together.
While there was a hiatus over last winter when COVID-19 sent B.C. back into lockdown, the promise of reuniting lingered. Come spring, they did. “It was just so nice to gather and play music, even though we were doing it distanced and safely at that point,” says Bronwyn.
Now, the four want to share the music with the community. “Even though things are opened up to a degree, there’s not a lot of people doing shows right now,” says Bronwyn. “So [we thought] it would be nice to work towards doing that as opposed to just jamming kitchen style around the table once a week. So we’ve been preparing the show.”
Celtic jigs and reels, slow airs, a couple of songs from Brittany, a couple of songs Neil wrote, and a couple of traditional ballads round out the evenings – one in the Van Berckels’ garden on Cates Hill (that show is now sold out), and another on the deck of a Taylor Road home overlooking the ocean. Tickets are on sale but there’s a limit of 40 for each night. There are still tickets for the deck concert available.
“So that’s going to be my final send off,” says Bronwyn. “I’m hoping they’ll continue to play because they’re so awesome together.
“All of us really enjoyed playing together.”