One music-minded Winnipegger is orchestrating some fundraising support for cancer sufferers.
Trevor Olfert, a band and physical education teacher at St. George’s School in St. Vital, is spearheading two upcoming public concerts with the Open Sky Orchestra, a 40-piece ensemble made up of musicians (including students) from Winnipeg, which he directs.
The first concert will be held on Thurs., May 2 in support of Myeloma Canada. The second, slated for Fri., May 3, will benefit the Children’s Cancer Fund of HSC.
Both gigs will be held at the Park Theatre, located at 698 Osborne St. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and the concerts will start at 7:30 p.m.
There will also be silent auction prizes, including big screen televisions, iPads, Jets tickets, a hockey card collection, gift cards and electric guitars, said Olfert, who lives in Linden Woods. He noted the goal is to raise $10,00 for the respective charities and beat last year’s tally of almost $8,000.
He said the orchestra — which includes his son, Ethan, on keyboard — will also perform an invitation-only concert on Wed., May 1 for the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg and Ronald McDonald House.
"As a teacher, kids are always on my mind and there was a kid at school last year going through treatments. Because our group consists of 40 musicians, we can’t go to the hospital, but we wanted people to enjoy an evening of music, which will hopefully help boost their morale. We need a personal connection with our audience," Olfert said.
Though he’s had little formal musical training, Olfert writes, arranges and transcribes all music for the volunteer-driven orchestra.
Stylistically, the ensemble is a "blend of traditional orchestra (strings, bass and winds) with the inclusion of rock band, instrumentation of electric guitars, percussion and bass," Olfert said.
The concerts will also mark the release of a new CD titled In the Meantime, which will "predominantly feature the music that will be performed at the concerts," Olfert said.
The CD will feature orchestrations by Olfert, Greg Cooper on flute, Chad Friesen on electric guitar and a portion of the sales will go to the charities. It will also be available on iTunes.
"The basic theme of the CD is that we will fill our lives with many meaningless activities, so why not do something in the meantime that has value. This realization is what originally got me working on these concerts," Olfert said.
"If I’m going to put my energy into something, it might as well be something of value and purpose that others can benefit from."
Tickets for the concerts are $10 in advance and available at Quest Musique locations (1308 Portage Ave. and 150-166 Meadowood Dr.) and ticketquest.ca.