Two diverse musical worlds will come together at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Thursday night when Nova Scotia roots-rock group Acres & Acres teams up with the Saint John String Quartet.
As unconventional as the pairing may seem at first glance, the two acts have joined forces for concerts in the past, and very successfully.
Saint John String Quartet violinist Chris Buckley says that he and his fellow quartet members – violinists David Adams and Danielle Sametz and cellist Sonja Adams – became aware of the group when they were played the first 30 seconds of music heard on Acres & Acres latest album, 2013’s Truth and Sky.
“We were treated to a beautiful arrangement of strings via the introduction that kicks off the latest Acres & Acres album,” Buckley says. “Our interest in the band was almost immediate.”
Having performed with folk-pop artist Rose Cousins and bluesman Matt Andersen in the past, Buckley says the opportunity to take the stage with Acres & Acres allows them to stretch their horizons beyond the realm of classical music.
“It truly is exciting to be able to do something like this,” Buckley says. “As music fans, each of the four of us listen to all kinds of different music. At the Capitol Theatre, we are going to be able to take ourselves, typically associated with a more formal performance, and have us play in a less formal setting. It is like the best of all worlds.
Acres & Acres member Kris Pope echoes Buckley’s comments adding, “Having performed with the Saint John String Quartet in the past, I feel they have excellent sensibilities with where they are going with the music. They really help bring these songs to life. They add such a beautiful, lush colour to the show. I wish it were something we were able to do more often.”
Both the Saint John String Quartet and Acres & Acres bring a wealth of experience to the concert stage.
The quartet has worked together for more than a quarter-century, releasing a handful of recordings from composers like Brahms, Puccini and Elgar while also performing throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, and China.
Kris Pope and Dave Scholten came together to form Acres & Acres in 2008 following a stint with art-rock band Down With The Butterfly. Their debut effort, All Nations, was lauded for its rich harmonies and would go on to earn the group an East Coast Music Award nomination for “Recording of the Year”. Their latest record, Truth and Sky, expanded upon the lush surroundings of their debut, earning the group more critical acclaim.
Despite being limited to minimal practice time together before their show at the Capitol Theatre, Pope is confident the show will go off without a hitch.
“It would be nice if we had more time to rehearse with the quartet, but in all honesty, we aren’t the least bit concerned,” he says. “They are consummate professionals at what they do.”
Those interested in seeing what all the fuss is about had better not procrastinate. Pope shares that, after their Capitol Theatre performance along with a selection of other shows, Acres & Acres are going to take a well-deserved break.
“In addition to Dave (Scholten) having had his third child, each of us in the band has a lot of stuff going on outside of Acres & Acres. We will definitely be sitting down to focus on writing new material in the future. For the time being, we just won’t be playing quite as many shows,” Pope says.
The upside to being a less frequent face on the Maritimes vibrant music scene is the appreciation that goes hand-in-hand with playing shows.
“Playing fewer shows puts a greater emphasis and appreciation on the performances we do take on. We used to tour the country rather often, but in the last couple of years, we have largely stayed at home in the Maritimes. I guess that’s one positive thing about getting older – we don’t necessarily feel pressured to undertake anything that we are not comfortable with as a band.”
Pope makes a point to mention how much he and his bandmates are looking forward to performing at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday evening. As an appreciator of music and of the arts, he sees the venue as a sort of hallowed ground in Metro Moncton.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to play the Capitol,” Pope says. “Unquestionably, it boasts some of the best acoustics of any venue in Atlantic Canada. This show has been a long time coming for us. We can’t wait to get on stage.”
What: Acres & Acres with the Saint John String Quartet
When: Thursday, Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $28. Available from the Capitol Theatre box office, 811 Main St., by calling 506-856-4379 or 1-800-567-1922 or online at capitol.nb.ca