By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

A unique fusion of classical and jazz music will come together in the Columbia Valley thanks to a Toronto-based duo that is touring in B.C. to share their sound with others.

Pianist Chris Donnelly and clarinetist Kornel Wolak will be performing at the Christ Church Trinity at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 21st in a show hosted by CV Arts.

We play mostly classical music, explained Mr. Donnelly, 23. Im also a trained jazz musician and thats mostly what I do, but I know a lot about classical music, so I can play classical music, but if you know anything about classical music and jazz music, youll know that they dont always get along, but we make it get along and we put on an entertaining show and communicate with the audience.

The musical hybrid features both genres in a flattering way while managing to engage an audience in jokes and conversations.

We make fun of each other, but its also a very spontaneous show, which is probably more part of the jazz thing as far as how we speak and interact with others, said Mr. Donnelly.

It will be the first time this act visits the Columbia Valley.

Its definitely my first time (playing) in Invermere, said Mr. Donnelly. B.C. has a very strong live performance market one of the largest ones in the country and because its strong, a lot of the towns in B.C. are a network, so when a community like Invermere wants an artist from Toronto, its best for these communities to group together to offer them multiple shows. There are a few of these in B.C. and my Invermere performance is part of a small little tour that also includes Oliver, Vernon and Kaslo.

Mr. Donnelly has an agent to help book tours and connect the destinations he books with multiple shows.

Its like a marketplace for the performing arts, said Mr. Donnelly. Its nice to have that network and know that communities like Invermere are communicating with other communities and joining together to help bring some performing arts into the town.

The duo is eager to perform in B.C. and to develop a performing arts network across Canada.

Weve been working together since 2011, said Mr. Donnelly, adding that an eastern touring organization known as Debut Atlantic had declined requests from both men as solo acts but then encouraged them to develop a duo program.

We had both submitted a package to Debut Atlantic and they got back to both of us stating what we were doing individually wasnt right for the market, but that they noticed what we were doing in Toronto could be put together for something thats classically influenced with jazz music in it as well and thats what we did.

After developing their new act, the duo toured eastern Canada in 2011 and found it was a big success.

Since then, weve just been moving west, concluded Mr. Donnelly with a chuckle.

Tickets are available for $20 for adults or $10 for students at Tiffanys Thredz and Pynelogs Cultural Centre in Invermere, at the Purple Cow Gift Shop in Fairmont, or by calling 250-342-4423.