N.S. symphony's P.E.I. concert causes stir

An April concert to highlight P.E.I. artists is being backed by Symphony Nova Scotia, a move that has upset the head of P.E.I's symphony.

An April concert by Symphony Nova Scotia at a festival aimed at highlighting P.E.I. artists has upset the head of the island's own symphony.

Symphony Nova Scotia will be performing at an East Coast Music Association concert to officially kick off April's East Coast Music Week 2011 and formally launch the 2011 Cultural Capital of Canada programming for the city of Charlottetown.

The Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra usually hosts an annual pops show, teaming up with musicians like Paper Lions, Richard Wood and Lennie Gallant.

But ECMA executive director Su Hutchinson said the preparation needed for the cultural capital launch show is beyond the abilities of the P.E.I. Symphony — a part-time, semi-professional orchestra.

"This requires a full-time, professional orchestra, to execute something like this to the quality that a show like this has," said Hutchinson. "That's not a comment by any means on P.E.I. Symphony's quality, it's a comment on the structure."

But  Joan MacFarlane, president of the P.E.I. Symphony board, disagrees.

"We're certainly capable of doing wonderful pops concerts. It's disappointing that the P.E.I. symphony was not asked to participate in the ECMAs from the beginning," said MacFarlane.

The ECMA is still looking for ways to include the P.E.I. Symphony during awards week.

One of the ideas being considered is to invite P.E.I. players to sit in with Symphony Nova Scotia during rehearsals.