In 2008, with help from donors, the Board of Directors at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and the staff, a Yamaha Grand Piano was purchased for the Arts Centre with a goal in mind to make full use out of the auditorium.
Now, over a decade later, the CSAC staff want to see the piano used more.
Dominique Tremblay, the community manager at the Arts Centre, said the piano is primarily used for the Fredericton Music Festival, an adjudicated competitive music festival for youth.
Tremblay said the CSAC staff wanted to bring an event to the Jim Myles Auditorium where the community would be able to hear the grand piano. So, they had the idea to create the Sunday Series, a reoccurring event where local musicians would come and play the grand piano in a family friendly setting.
“We wanted to serve the community, musically, that maybe don't come to the big concerts we have here, [concerts that may be] really loud and stuff for families, young children, or older folks,” she said.
Tremblay said it was important for them to serve a clientele that may not visit the Arts Centre often. And since the Jim Myles Auditorium isn’t used frequently on Sundays, Tremblay said it was the perfect opportunity to create this community event.
Initially the performances were all meant to be classical, but Tremblay wanted to bring in a variety of songwriters which resulted in having genres like jazz, folk, pop, country and even rap.
Tremblay said it’s special to have local musicians play this grand piano, since some of the performers only play the keyboard in bands.
“A grand piano is something you don’t see often in settings like this,” she said.
Joshua Bravener who fronts the band The Hypochondriacs will play the upcoming Sunday Series on Aug. 11. He took piano lessons when he was a kid, but since then has taught himself how to play.
“I took a couple lessons when I was a wee boy, but then I didn’t play anymore because I wanted to be Elvis and play guitar. So, I learned like, you know, hot cross buns probably when I was like six. And then when I was in high school, I had a substitute teacher … he taught me the blues scale. And I kind of taught myself after that,” said Bravener.
Bravener will play country, western and boogie-woogie music at his performance on Sunday.
“Just the usual, you know, your classic Josh Bravener style songs.”
Despite playing at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre multiple times with his band The Hypochondriacs and as a solo musician, Bravener said he’s never had the chance to play the piano since it’s always been covered up.
“It will be an honour to finally get that cover off,” he said.
Community manager Tremblay enjoys the atmosphere of the Sunday Series and is looking forward to the next one.
“Anyone from any generation can come and enjoy some relaxing music and mingle. I think sometimes life can get overwhelming and just coming here in this beautiful centre with air conditioning on a hot Sunday with relaxing music … you can just really enjoy the space,” said Tremblay.
The upcoming Sunday Series is on Aug. 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Jim Myles Auditorium. It features Joshua Bravener as well as classical musician Tanya Daigle. Admission is pay what you can with a suggested $5 donation. Kids 12 and under are free. There will be alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food and a button making station. The following Sunday Series will take place on Aug. 25 and will feature Sarah Bell.