After seven years, Kelly Coubrough is saying goodbye to Squamish and the classically trained singer is inviting the whole community to the farewell party.
Coubrough will be making the trek to Arviat, Nunavut later this summer with her husband and young child and said she wanted a proper chance to say goodbye to Squamish.
“A parent of one of my students said I should do a concert before I go and it kind of evolved from there,” she said. “But then I didn’t just want to do a concert with just me. I wanted to do one with all of my favourite local artists and students and make it more of an event.”
Coubrough arrived in Squamish in 2005 after securing a position with the Vancouver Opera Co. It was only supposed to be for a few months, but Coubrough said she fell in love with the community.
“I knew Melissa [Braun] from school and decided to come here for a few months before I was going to move to Vancouver, but I never left because I loved it,” she said. “The landscape, the outdoor activity and just the whole community has been fantastic.”
Coubrough quickly established herself as a pillar in the local arts community, involving herself in the Sound Youth Choir, the Wild at Art festival and running several classes. She said there have been several great memories from her times performing in Squamish.
“I really enjoyed when myself, Melissa and Veronica McPhee did a concert as the Three Sopranos a few years ago,” she said. “And getting the youth choir ready for the Olympic torch ceremony was cool. Wild at Art was great; I liked signing at Gelato Carina and my time with the Howe Sound Performing Arts (HSPA) was also a lot of fun.”
She’s managed to bring in a who’s who of local talents for the farewell concert including: Teira Andreef, Colleen Koop, Alex McEachern, Erik Musseau, Jocelyn Pettit, Sam Sherlock, Gabriela Verdicchio, Melissa Braun, Ian McCloy, Veronica McPhee, Laurel Parsons, Ashley Schultheiss, Aaron Purdie, Cathy Van Tassel and Emma Wong.
“It’s such an amazing lineup made up of colleagues and students,” she said. “Some of the kids I’ve been teaching since they were 10 so, I’m happy I have a chance to sing with them. The hardest part of leaving is walking away from my students.”
Coubrough said the arts scene in Squamish is much more organized than when she first arrived in town.
“It’s definitely evolved,” she said. “It started out more grassroots and over the years has got more established. I think Melissa Braun and the Squamish Academy of Music (SAM) has really helped to unify the community because now there’s a central place for information. I think it’s in good hands as I leave because I know there’s a place for students to go. Melissa can now be in a position where she can hire teachers or bring in other people based on local demand.”
She said she’s looking forward to the move and looks at it as an adventure.
“My husband works for the RCMP so it’s a four-year commitment and with a one-year-old son, it’s a good time in our life to make the move,” she said.
Coubrough’s Farewell to Squamish concert will take place on Saturday (June 23) at 8 p.m. at St. John the Divine Anglican Church. Tickets are not for sale but donations will be accepted at the door for the HSPAA Access Music Education Fund.