The Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers entertained crowds at the second annual Pops in the Park event on June 15, where musicians raised a money to help support arts and music programs in the lakecity. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

Third annual Pops in the Park concert arrives on Father’s Day

On Sunday, June 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. lakecity residents will be treated to a free concert

The third annual Pops in the Park concert/fundraiser is being held in the lakecity this Father’s Day at Boitanio Park.

On Sunday, June 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. lakecity residents will get the chance to attend this free music concert and barbecue in the park. Donations from the event will go directly to the Music For Youth Program.

Conceived as a way for the various musical groups in Williams Lake to get a chance to perform together while raising money for worthy causes, this free event is looking to become an annual staple on the Williams Lake events calendar. This year all proceeds raised from the event go towards providing music lessons for the youth and is being organized by the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake and the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District.

The idea originated, however, with William Wallace who is an active member with several arts groups in the area including Synergy Quartet and the Williams Lake Studio Theatre. While at a Community Arts Council meeting three years ago, Wallace heard several members of the community talk about all the good work being done in the local arts scene and that they ought to get together and showcase it.

Wallace got to thinking about the number of amateur musical groups operating in Williams Lake and realized that many of their efforts culminated in only one concert before ending, often without the wider public ever hearing about it. He then thought that all the groups could come together to perform their “party pieces” of the previous year in a more public venue so that they could give everyone a chance to see what the lakecity has. When he pitched the idea to others, he was pleasantly surprised to find that they too thought it was a great idea and before long the idea of setting the venue in a park came up.

Read More: Pops in the Park fundraises for Cariboo music programs

“Parklike settings are a favourite of people (for concerts) far and wide,” Wallace observed.

The Cariboo Youth Fiddle Society, Cariboo Gold Dance Band, Quintet Plus Choir, the Synergy Accapella Quartet and the Lake City Secondary Concert Band all expressed an interest in coming together in hopefully sunny weather to put a high-quality performance on stage.

“Live music is beautiful when it’s done well and if it’s a sunny day in the park, no smoke, it’s just a great place to be and that led to somebody suggesting oh yes, we must have a barbecue as a part of this,” Wallace said.

Shortly after the Boys and Girls Club became involved, Wallace said, to help raise money for a worthy cause and Pops in the Park as it is today was born. The first year enjoyed sunny weather and enthusiastic volunteer support while the second did not get good weather but received support from a dedicated core group of volunteers. Now for the third year, Wallace said new people are joining while old people are coming back, making him think this event has legs to run on for another decade or more.

So far, each year they raise around $4,000 to $5,000 and put between 10 to 14 kids through their private music lessons throughout the school year, Wallace said.

“I think it’s important to mix the best of the adults and the youth in one venue together. The best (amongst us) perform truly superior work so for the community I think its a chance to come and see these groups do a few of their pieces and see why people say these groups are so good, that’s why I think they should come out,” Wallace said.

This year they’re trying Father’s Day as a test to see how the community responds to the event. In previous years they’ve usually held it on a Thursday but Wallace said if this year goes well they’ll move the event full time to the day.

Wallace encourages everyone to come out to the event this Father’s Day to enjoy good food, good music and hopefully good weather.

Having a large crowd really makes a difference for a performance like this he said.

Read More: Fifth annual Race For Kids enjoyed clear skies

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