Surrey resident Jeanette Bernal-Singh is a violinist with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (photo: vancouversymphony.ca)

BC Culture Days go digital with events in Surrey and other cities starting Sept. 24

Kickoff virtual gathering to feature Surrey's VanCity Dance Team

Digital recordings, livestreams and a self-guided gathering are among BC Culture Days experiences happening in Surrey, as part of an extended month-long series starting Sept. 24.

Some “engaging, interactive events” are set to take place throughout Metro Vancouver and across Canada, with all details posted to culturedays.ca.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a much different spin on BC Culture Days, an umbrella initiative for free activities hosted across multiple platforms. The annual event is designed to encourage people to “explore the ‘unexpected intersections’ of creative connection and artistic discovery.”

For 2020, Surrey-specific events include a Virtual Surrey Fusion Festival (on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to noon), a Music and Meditation livestream organized by Transformational Theatre (Oct. 3-4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), a self-guided Make Your Own Butter with the Historic Stewart Farm session, along with three digital recordings of culinary and craft classes hosted by the Crescent Road attraction (Thumbprint Cookies, Whipped Cream Scones and Muddy Pigs, all from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25).

The two-day Music and Meditation event combines guided meditation with a cultural program. The first day will begin with an introduction to meditation followed by “a heart-opening journey through music, song and dance,” according to a description posted to culturedays.ca. “This portion will include up and coming young artists, Sahaj Yuva Shakti, an ensemble of musicians, singers and dancers performing Indian classical music with vocals, devotional bhajans, Sufi Kawalis and Sanskrit hymns with instrumentation.

“The second part and the highlight of the event will feature a guided meditation with musical accompaniment by international recording artist, Stephen Day on sarod and Jeanette Bernal Singh of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on violin with accomplished tabla player Sunny Matharu. These artists are skilled and experienced in rendering music that can facilitate deep meditative states.”

• RELATED STORY: Surrey Fusion Festival revived as livestream, video series for 2020.

BC Culture Days Manager Nazanin Shoja says artistic expression and creative curiosity are fundamental components of the health and vitality of our communities, especially as we continue to navigate the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

“I am incredibly proud of the dedicated, grassroots efforts of our many participating artists and community culture leaders who, like us, believe in the transformative power of the arts,” Shoja said in a news release. “We hope that by expanding this year’s celebration to a full month and opening access to events taking place locally, provincially, and nationally, BC Culture Days can foster connection, understanding, and healing for an even greater number of British Columbians this fall.”

BC Culture Days 2020 will kick off with a 45-minute virtual event on Thursday, Sept. 24, starting at 4 p.m., hosted by the City of North Vancouver and spoken word poet Andrew Warner. Performers will include JUNO Award-winning singer-songwriter Alex Cuba, Vancouver sister duo Harlequin Gold, North Shore Celtic Ensemble, Neo Afro soul singer-songwriter Turunesh, North Vancouver’s AMED Dance Academy, Surrey’s VanCity Dance Team and Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Children of Takaya.

Organizers of BC Culture Days have selected five emerging artists from across the province to act as cultural ambassadors, tasked with “raising heightened awareness and boosting participation in their own communities, coupled with virtually nationwide.” They are Coral Santana, Damian John, Molly Beatrice, Edward Fu-Chen Juan and Bambi, and their bios are posted to culturedays.ca/en/bc/2020ambassadors.


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