Towa Stewart (front left) won People’s Choice Award (small group) and Grade 10 student Andrew Daniels (front right) representing Carihi Stage Band

Rotary Honours Concert celebrates dedication to the arts

When Susie Moscovich and her husband, Michael, retired to Campbell River in 2001 from Vancouver, they immediately got back to work – not in their previous professions, but in supporting the local arts scene.

As part of that work – though not exclusively for that purpose, obviously – they built a large house on Oyster Garden Road just south of town, suitable for housing their 9.2-foot Bösendorfer grand piano, with the intention of starting a music scholarship in the area.

But how would they raise money for the scholarship?

Well, the Moscovichs decided they should hold a “black tie optional” weekend gala at their home once a year on a Friday and Saturday night – one night for School District 72 (Campbell River) and another for School District 71 (Comox Valley). Around 100 folks soon flocked to their home to gather around the piano and hear the previous year’s recipients of the voice and piano scholarships. Tickets for the event were $75, and the room was always full.

So when the Campbell River Rotary Club wanted to do something special for the community, celebrating our youth, Moscovich suggested a concert of local talent. She already had the connections in the arts scene, after all.

And so the Rotary Honours Concert was born.

“My whole intention in producing this concert for the last five years is to introduce the community at large to the scope and breadth of the arts community in Campbell River,” Moscovich says. “We have so very many talented young people in our community and this concert is a chance for them to showcase their talents and strut their stuff.”

And it’s been getting better and better. This year’s event, held March 12 at the Tidemark, saw every seat filled, Moscovich says, “and there were people waiting in the lobby for possible empty seats. The enthusiasm was palpable.”

This year’s performers ranged from full high school and middle school bands to piano solos and duets, along with dance routines from most local dance programs.

All the performers at the concert received $100 in recognition of their efforts, and the winners of the People’s Choice Awards received $300 apiece.

But most importantly, everyone received the sense of pride felt by every artist when their hard work is appreciated by an enthusiastic and grateful audience.