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'We clicked musically right away'

The Jumaralis Trio plays Whistler on March 8
The Jumaralis Trio is set to perform at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on Sunday, March 8. Photo submitted

Vancouver-area musicians are a busy bunch.

Case-in-point: it took clarinettist Julie Begg and cellist Alison Patterson nearly three years to turn a loose conversation about playing music together into The Jumaralis Trio.

"I taught Alison's daughter saxophone," Begg says over the phone between teaching music lessons. "Alison is Australian and I'm Scottish and we share the same sense of humour. We got on really well. Alison said, 'Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to play together?' We kicked it around a couple years."

In the meantime, Patterson had been playing with pianist Martha Brickman who, one day, suggested the pair bring in a string player. Patterson immediately thought of Begg.

"We clicked musically right away," Begg says. "It was a long time before we actually got things together. As freelance musicians, we're busy all the time."

Over the last three years, the trio has primarily played together on the North Shore. But their performance in Whistler on March 8 as part of the Whistler Chamber Music Society series will kick off what they hope are new gigs outside their current home base.

"We've been looking for other opportunities to play as well," Begg says.

While they can go for long breaks without practicing or performing together, the trio is bonded by "maturity," she adds. "We're all in the same place musically—and in terms of where our lives are. That makes a massive difference as well. I'm not saying it's not pleasurable or satisfying playing with younger or older people, but we're all in the same place at the same time. We connected, musically, through that," she says.

Over the last three years, the group has been performing a program that includes pieces by Johannes Brahms ("Martha is a Brahms-crazy woman. We all are, but she loves that particular composer"), Beethoven, and Nino Rota, most famous for composing soundtracks for The Godfather.

"There's so much contrast between Beethoven, and early romanticism, to Brahms, [which is] much thicker, more lush, heavy romanticism, then the Nino Rota is more modern," she says.

Begg performed in Whistler as part of the chamber music society's inaugural season with another group and is looking forward to returning, she says.

"We found it extremely receptive and warm," she adds. "There are certain people who haven't heard this type of music before who came along. We're very excited to come back up. I've been telling [the others] how lovely it was."

They also plan to take advantage of the intimate setting and share some words on the music they're playing.

"With chamber music, you can explore things a little bit more deeply, on a more personal level," she says. "That's the neat thing with chamber music too. As you get older, your experiences change. Everything in your head changes. You can play something slightly different than you would 10 or 15 years ago, owing to different experiences."

Catch The Jumaralis Trio at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on Sunday, March 8 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for youth (under 35). Get them at, at the Whistler Museum or at the door.

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