Our Vancouver

'Drum Heat': Iconic B.C. drummer leads all-star benefit for the arts

Sal Ferreras brings back his annual fundraising show with local and world talent on the drums in "Drum Heat". The show will raise money for Arts Umbrella.

B.C. entertainment hall of famer Sal Ferreras uses his rhythm skills to raise money for Arts Umbrella

BC Hall of Fame percussionist Sal Ferreras 7:05

B.C. percussionist Sal Ferreras can't remember a life without rhythm.

"My mother and father were both very musical — my mother had a very beautiful voice, and they used to sing in the car," Ferreras said. "It was something as an eight-year-old ... but it sunk in."

Now an accomplished musician and B.C. entertainment hall of famer the iconic drummer spends much of his time trying to help young children explore their artistic side, so they might uncover a hidden passion.

On April 27, Ferreras hosts his annual Drum Heat concert — and he's bringing a lineup of renowned B.C. artists together in one super group at the Vogue Theatre. Proceeds help fund students with scholarships at Arts Umbrella, a non-profit dedicated to making arts education accessible to children in need.

Sal Ferreras experiments with many different music styles, including classical, folk, and aboriginal. (Sal Ferreras)

A diverse career

Ferreras admits he was lucky when he was a kid. He says he caught the drum bug on an Easter long weekend.

"I think I was seven or eight and my parents gave me a little drum set, the skins were made of paper and it lasted at least half the afternoon before I punched through the heads because I was kind of enthusiastic. But I loved playing."

He nagged his parents for another two years before he got the real drum set. He hasn't switched back since.

Over his decades-long career, he experimented with a plethora of musical styles, including classical, folk, aboriginal, and jazz.

He's even ventured into the the world of academia — he's currently the provost and vice president academic of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Sall Ferreras is a B.C. entertainment hall of famer and vice president academic at Kwantlen Polytechnic. (Sal Ferreras)

Drum Heat

Ferreras uses Drum Heat to merge his passions for music and education.

The night includes many styles from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia. And while their sounds may be from different places, the drum beat is the common thread.

The event will feature percussionists Gurp Sian, Rayman and Karn Bhuller, bassist Jodi Proznick and pianist Miles Black.

The annual event has been going since 1986, and runs in support of arts programs for children in Surrey.

"Arts Umbrella is there to inspire kids as their saying goes — inspiring kids for life or for good."

With files from CBC's Our Vancouver and Hot Air