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Classical meets tango, gypsy and jazz this weekend at Indian River Festival

Payadora Tango Ensemble.  Photo Credit: Chris Hutcheson
Payadora Tango Ensemble. Photo Credit: Chris Hutcheson - Contributed

INDIAN RIVER, P.E.I. – Those who come to historic St. Mary's this weekend will see where classical meets tango, gypsy and jazz at the award winning Indian River Festival.

A night of incredible tango music and dance is planned for Friday, Aug. 10, at 7:30 p.m. with the Payadora Tango Ensemble. Then on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 12, at a 3 p.m. matinee, a classical performance will be presented by Venuti String Quartet.

The world loves a tango, and when the technical virtuosity, playful spontaneity and rhythmic vitality of Payadora Tango Ensemble hits the stage, the deep-rooted influence of Buenos Aires tango tradition will have you swaying in your seat, or the aisle.

“This group will impress you with their virtuosity and technique,” promises Don Quarles, executive director of the festival. “Come ready to move to the music in your pew.”

As a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, the sensational Venuti String Quartet delves into jazz influenced music that inspires them: Balkan gypsy music, Ravel’s String Quartet, and jazz improvisation. Critics praise the compositions and arrangements by the group’s renowned jazz violinist, Drew Jurecka, and “superstar" violinist, Rebekah Wolkstein.

“Some of you may remember Drew performing with the late Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards,” said Quarles. “Along with Rebekah, and the other musicians, this performance will sound incredible in the venue.”

Venuti String Quartet
Venuti String Quartet


Doors open one hour prior to concert time and food and beverage is available for purchase in the pavilion, including handpies from the P.E.I. Handpie Company, Samuels Coffee, Upstreet Brewing beer, cookies from Crystal Green Farms, and IRF's strawberry shortcake.

“Come to historic St. Mary’s Church to experience a once in a lifetime experience and see why they say ‘music breathes here.’”

Historic St. Mary’s is known for the near perfect acoustics and has been called one of Canada’s finest musical acoustic spaces. Designed by Island architect, William Critchlow Harris, and built in 1902, the venue sits overlooking Malpeque Bay.

The lineup of artists for the remaining 2018 Indian River Festival summer season include: Lennie Gallant, Cheng2 Duo, The Ennis Sisters, Hillsburn, Ensemble Made in Canada and more.

For more information and to buy tickets, go to the IRF Facebook page or website at; call Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090 or the Festival Box office at 902-836-3733.

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