The WindRose Trio brings culture to the county

The Golden Spike Hall, south of Stony Plain, will host the WindRose Trio Sunday to start their annual concert series.

The WindRose Trio will be performing at the Golden Spike Community Hall south of Stony Plain Sunday. Supplied photo

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Classical concerts are coming back to Parkland County.

The Golden Spike Hall, south of Stony Plain, will host the WindRose Trio Sunday to start their annual concert series. It has been going on in its present form for the past several years — though the hall has had one-off concerts before — and features different acts performing different types of music from the classical genre.

WindRose began in 2004 and, according to bassoonist Matthew Howatt, was initially a casual project. He was new to the city and got together with oboist Beth Levia to play some duets. They invited a clarinetist to join them and they ultimately became the current trio.

“As chamber musicians, we were not thinking long term,” he said. “We found out we liked each other and began meeting to play regularly.”

They do not write their work but have had 12 of the 17 Canadian works in their repertoire written just for them. Outside writing is common in the classical music scene. Howatt added they are mostly influenced by French composers such as Ibert and Tomasi from the 20th century.

They are open to doing more recent work and intend to feature some from composers in the Edmonton area during their upcoming concert.

“There is a range of stuff we play,” Howatt said. “This will be on display at our upcoming show. We will also have Howard Bashaw’s works. He is a composition professor from right here at the University of Alberta.”

They pepper facts about the composers and biographical information about themselves into their shows. Howatt said they try to make it fun and informative and they typically play three shows each season. The trio is a side project for Howatt, Levia and clarinetist Rob Spady, but they want to do more work overseas.

“We have done a show in Tokyo and a few shows in China,” he said. “We want some opportunities for that.”

They have come a long way from their first casual concert at what was then Grant MacEwan College a decade ago and are grateful for the success they enjoy. For Levia, they have beat the odds for groups they are similar to.

“We have maintained a loyal following and I am absolutely shocked we are still here,” Levia said. “I cannot speak for the others, but by chamber ensemble standards the WindRose Trio is an elderly collective.”

She added they do not make massive amounts of money, but love what they do. As a musician, being able to play and entertain with close friends has enriched her outside of the conventional dreams many have. A well played note from the oboe serves as a substitute for fancy cars, homes, services and other items.

“None of us are exactly billionaires,” she said. “It is all in how you define your success.”

The WindRose Trio perform at the Golden Spike Hall at 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is by donation and the next concert will be with Trio de Moda at the same time next week. Further events have not been scheduled at this time.