Old emporium building in DT Chilliwack goes acoustic

Acoustic Emporium manager Luke Vandevert and Vern Tompke at the Vineyard Community Centre. - JENNIFER FEINBERG/ PROGRESS
Acoustic Emporium manager Luke Vandevert and Vern Tompke at the Vineyard Community Centre.

A new live music venue in downtown Chilliwack opens this week, geared to supporting acoustic music and local musicians.

Acoustic Emporium will become Chilliwack's folk music club twice a month, on Friday nights, offering all-ages shows for ten bucks a person at the door.

"Here was our idea: Create an intimate space for sharing personal music," says Vern Tompke.

The musicians will take the stage in the renovated heritage building on Wellington Avenue, near Mill Street. It's the old Wellington Emporium space, which is now the Vineyard Community Centre, home of  Vineyard Community Church and now the non-profit Acoustic Emporium.

Think of it as a gathering space for people united by a love of live music.

"It all about building community in Chilliwack," says Tompke.

Whether the musicians lean toward roots, alt, or folk music, the emphasis is on acoustic music and the singer-songwriter genre, says manager Luke Vandevert.

The styles will range from Blue Rodeo to Phillip Phillips and Said The Whale.

That will mean broad appeal to the widest audience possible.

"We're always going to open the show with local musicians as well, specifically to support local music in Chilliwack," he said.

The renovated space can fit more than 150 people.

First up on the performance roster at the Acoustic Emporium is Seattle-based Jon Bryant, originally from Halifax, N.S. on Jan. 24. The second act will be Jordan Klassen of Vancouver on  Feb. 7.

Jordan Klassen is a Vancouver-based songwriter who after steady increases in accolades, radio play and live crowds, offered a new album, Repentance, this fall. Recorded at Buena Vista Audio with Producer/Multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Anderson, the album employs diverse instrumentation. Ukuleles, strings, horns, glockenspiels, and choirs take their place alongside guitar, piano, and drums with Klassen’s floating falsetto drawing everything together. Repentance is being called "an engaging and beautiful record, steeped in sonic whimsy and alluring melodies."

For Halifax-born Jon Bryant, writing his latest release, What Takes You, was a challenging, yet invigorating experience. He's a singer-songwriter and guitarist now based in Washington State.

“I had been touring almost every month, finishing university and moving,” Bryant says. “It was very strenuous. Getting back into a creative frame of mind, collecting thoughts, ideas and memories from the previous two years and channeling them into new songs wasn’t an easy process. Oftentimes I would find myself pulling my car over to write a phrase down or record a melody on my phone.”

It's very personal.

“I like the way music can draw very distinct reactions from people,” Bryant says. “I feel if I give away too much information about these songs, they will somehow lose their power and ability to do that.”

Local musicians can contact Vern Tompke or Luke Vandevert at info@acousticemporium.com to be considered.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.