The Howe Sound Performing Arts Association (HSPAA) kicks off its 20th season with a special anniversary concert next Saturday, Sept. 22, featuring pianist Sarah Hagen accompanied by images supplied by the Squamish Valley Photo Club.
“I came up with the concept for this type of performance in 2005,” Hagen said of her Pro’Ject Sound performances that incorporate large-scale projected images along with her live piano performance. “I was spending the summer on tour in Sweden, and it was so beautiful there. On our days off, the musicians would walk through the Swedish countryside. I started to look at ways to combine visual beauty with what I was playing.”
Hagen is an accomplished Vancouver-based musician who’s been heard on Swedish Radio 2, CBC Radio 1 and 2, WDAV (North Carolina) WOSU (Ohio), KFUO (Missouri), CKUA (Edmonton), WKAR (Michigan), WITF (Pennsylvania), 98.1 KING FM (Seattle) and has appeared on Bravo Television. Her solo album, Glass House Dancing, was nominated for Classical Recording of the Year at the 2009 Western Canadian Music Awards.
For the HSPAA season opener, Hagen said she intends to play music by composer Claude Debussy.
“The music is very colourful,” she said. “So, I gave the photographers guidelines of sorts so the show is based around colour. The show goes through all the colours of the rainbow, starting from violet and going to red with a dramatic ending.”
Hagen said guidelines for the contributing photographers were necessary to keep the show focused.
“It can easily end up looking like vacation slides,” she said. “So I encourage the photographers to take shots from different angles and to be a bit abstract.”
In the end, Hagen said she had nothing to worry about when it comes to Squamish’s shutterbugs.
“The photos are really quite stunning,” she said. “To be honest, I was actually moved to tears by some of the photographs.”
Hagen said the Pro’Ject Sound experience helps to enhance both the photos and the music.
“You hear the music in different ways,” she said. “You also notice different elements of the photos you may not have noticed before. You also attach greater emotion to the photos because of the emotion in the music.”
The Squamish show not only launches the HSPAA concert season, but it is also the start of Hagen’s performing season as well.
“I have several more concerts coming up in the following week, and I am also cooking up a new album,” she said.
Hagen and Pro’Ject Sound play St. John’s Anglican Church on Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. with an art show and soiree following.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and children, and students are free.
For more info, go to howesoundarts.ca, or sarahhagen.com.