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Dynamic duo

Squamish composers perform original works

Nearly 35 years in the making, Joanna Schwarz and Carol Grolman, Squamish musicians, piano teachers and composers, have finally put together a show of their own compositions.

The pair became friends three and a half decades ago, first as guitar players and singers in the Squamish folk song circle then later as part of Howe Sound Performing Arts. "At that time we were so busy," Schwarz remembers. "We each had two children. We kind of grew into (our friendship) over time. But whenever there was a musical event we were there together."

For their Oct. 28 show, called Inspired, which will include "a very eclectic mix of music" from sacred songs to sing-alongs, the pair recruited a group of over 20 musician friends to help out. "It is so difficult to get so many people together at the same time," Grolman said. "That's been a challenge."

Another bump in the road: "Last night we went down to the United Church to get the band together and all of a sudden there was crackling and popping and noises coming out of our beautiful Yamaha keyboard. At least it's come a week ahead of the event," she added.

While the concert will feature each of their separate — and stylistically very different — pieces, there is a strong collaborative element.

"We're individual writers," Grolman explains. "We don't write together, but we bounce ideas off of each other. We'll play it for the other one or sing it."

Entry to the event, taking place at the Squamish United Church at 7 p.m. on Sunday, is by donation with proceeds going to the church's music ministry.

Cultural consultation

The Whistler Arts Council has announced it will be meeting with local artists in the coming months to help shape the community's long-term cultural plan. A new steering committee of community members, with support from a Vancouver consulting firm, will oversee the process, beginning with artist meetings and an online community survey in November.

"This grand vision to build a community that is passionate about arts, culture and heritage will simply not succeed without community input," Doti Niedermayer, executive director of WAC, said in a press release. "At this early stage there are several ways people can share their thoughts and concerns and we encourage everyone to join in and speak up."

The first meeting will take place with visual artists on Nov. 7 at Millennium Place from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Performing artists are invited to a meeting Nov. 8 in the same venue at 4:30 p.m.

A survey for the community about the importance of arts, culture and heritage will also be posted online at the beginning of November ahead of a community workshop on Jan. 15. For more information visit the WAC website at

Lego Competition

Toys aren't just for kids. Or at least Lego won't be this Friday, Oct. 26 when the Whistler Museum and Whistler is Awesome hold their annual Lego building competition. The event will feature up to 20 contestants piecing together masterpieces that depict "Whistler's secrets."

Competitors will begin construction at the museum at 6 p.m. with doors open to the public at 7 p.m.

Entry to compete is $10 while the suggested donation for spectators is $5. Sign up by calling 604-932-2019.