Langley Community Music School is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of special events and concerts throughout 2019.
This year’s celebrations are kicking off with a sold-out concert on Saturday, Jan. 26 by pianist Jon Kimura Parker, and his wife Aloysia Friedmann who plays violin.
“He [Parker] has been involved with the school in different levels. He’s our honourary patron. He opened the original art centre in 1970 with one of his first public performances as a child. He also assisted me in choosing the Steinway concert grand that we are so fortunate to have,” said LCMS principal emeritus Susan Magnusson.
Parker is set to perform a series of Chopin ballades, and his wife will join him for a dramatic performance of Brahms Violin Sonata in D Minor, and selections of tango and jazz.
Other 50th anniversary performers throughout the year include LCMS alumna Susan Tang on Feb. 10, alumna jazz pianist Renee Rosnes, and Bill Charlap on Apr. 13, and the LCMS and Surrey Senior Youth Orchestras with the Vancouver Bach Choir on Jun. 9.
LCMS officially opened its doors in 1969 to 28 students. Since then, the facility has become home to more than 900 students and more than 50 teachers, and boasts a list of award winning alumni and faculty members.
Over the five decades of operation, the school has undergone some major changes and milestones, according to Magnusson, who has been a part of the school’s faculty since its early days.
“In 1999, we launched a capital campaign to acquire the building we now enjoy and that was a highlight of the 50 years. Since moving into this facility we’ve been able to expand our programming, and we’ve received additional financial assistance to be able to expand our charitable purpose and offer the community everything from world-class artists in our Rose Gellart Hall to free choir programs, and a resident ensemble that performs at senior homes, care facilities, and schools.”
Magnusson said she joined the faculty after she moved to Walnut Grove in 1973, and read in the newspaper that there was an open house at LCMS.
“I attended the open house, met one of the founders Marilyn Lamont and was invited to join the faculty.”
Last year, Magnusson retired from her longstanding role of principal, but is still around to teach piano lessons, help with programming, and continue sharing her knowledge of the school’s history.
Carolyn Granholm took over Magnusson’s principal role just in time to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary, although she’s a familiar face at LCMS.
Granholm began taking piano lessons at the school when she was in Grade 2, and over time her role evolved into faculty member, and now principal.
“It is a privilege to be taking over as principal at this time. Even as a student, it [LCMS] has had a tremendous sense of community.”
And community is what Granholm attributes to the school’s longstanding success.
“What always impressed me was the spirit, enthusiasm, and passion of the teachers,” said Granholm.
“Right now we are focusing on celebrating our 50th anniversary and we are looking into the future and looking for ways to grow and respond to the needs of our community. Part of its success has come from its identity as a community music school. I think the future of the school is pretty firmly rooted in that vision.”
And to further celebrate the 50th anniversary, LCMS is launching a legacy endowment fund in order to continue meeting the demands of the community.
“The fund is a unique opportunity to raise money to support the school as it looks to provide high quality music education for the youth of tomorrow,” explained Granholm.
“Our goal is $50,000 for 50 years. We are also wanting to invite people in the community to leave a legacy in their estate in support of music education,” added Granholm.
To donate to the legacy endowment fund, or get more information, Carolyn can be contacted at 604-534-2848.
The sold-out concert is on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rose Gellert Hall located at 4899 207 St.
For more information on LCMS visit: www.langleymusic.com