The Beat Goes On

Comox Valley Youth Music Centre comes back full force to celebrate their 43rd year…


Boomer Jerritt
Boomer is a commercial photographer in the Comox Valley and has been photographing for InFocus Magazine since its inception close to 16 years ago. In that time he has taken the photos for more than 150 issues, rheumatologist shooting a wide variety of photographs covering all aspects of life in the Comox Valley. Boomer’s range of clientele includes not only a regional flavour but also provincial and national editorial magazines and tourism related imagery. To view Boomer’s stock site and commercial portfolio visit:



Laura Busheikin
Laura Busheikin loves writing for local media because it connects her to community. “Every time I write for InFocus, angina I learn things about where I live, discount rx I meet great people, and I see that the articles help build community by sharing local stories,” she says. “As a writer, I am helping weave the web of communication that keeps us strong, vibrant, and connected.”

Laura has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting out as co-editor of the Ubyssey Newspaper, progressing through freelance magazine writing and editing, and then moving into a long stint working in the non-profit sector. As well as magazine articles, she writes funding proposals, press releases, and other promotional copy. Laura is also a yoga teacher and an avid dancer, currently exploring Flamenco and Romany fusion styles. She lives on beautiful Denman Island with her family and pets.

Ryan Parton
Ryan Parton is a freelance writer and the proprietor of Ryan Parton Writing Solutions. A graduate with distinction of Concordia University’s School of Journalism in Montreal, Ryan relocated to the Comox Valley in 2002 and has no desire to ever live anywhere else. Ryan is well travelled and has a keen sense of adventure, although his idea of adventure is gradually shifting from traversing the wilds of exotic locales to overcoming the daily challenges of raising a toddler. He lives in Courtenay with his wife Sarah and his son Spencer.


Arran Kerrigan
Arran has a profusion of interests and writing about these experiences always provides her with a new perspective. Arran is especially passionate about environmental innovation, mountaineering, healthy living and social issues. She often loses herself in her research and resurfaces hours later amazed, enraged, motivated and hungry. Arran has an MA in English from the University of Aberdeen, where she organized her time so she could work part time, edit the university paper, vice captain the triathlon team, compete in triathlons all over the UK, organize climbing and cycling trips in Europe, sea-kayak, volunteer and attend classes full time. After graduating, she moved to the Comox Valley where she worked as an English instructor at the local college. She now works for a web design company, runs a professional organizing business, spends time with her daughter Sholeh, teaches running clinics with ELM, and spends any time left over with friends and nature.

Ian Lidster
Ian Lidster is a long time writer and newspaper journalist. Currently working as a freelancer, he began as a columnist for the old Comox District Free Press (the Green Sheet) in 1977. At that paper he was also a reporter and ultimately assistant editor until it folded in 1994. He then worked at the Comox Valley Echo as columnist, reporter and assistant editor. He has been a regular contributor to the Victoria Times-Colonist and has also freelanced to the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, the Sunday Times of London (England) and was a columnist for the Great Yarmouth Mercury in Great Yarmouth, England in 1981.

Ian has won a number of awards for his writing, including Canadian Columnist of the Year, and British Columbia Columnist of the Year, and the BC Attorney General’s Award for Crime Prevention Writing in 1999. Ian is a former secondary teacher of English and History, and is also a certified addictions counsellor and continues to work in that field part time.
Married to Wendy, Ian’s hobbies include reading, writing, painting, and especially travelling and he has a passionate love for the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Terri Perrin
Terri Perrin is an award-winning freelancer writer with more than 25 years industry experience and thousands of published articles to her credit. She is proud to be a long-standing member of the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada.

“I have written for dozens of publications and covered a wide range of topics,” says Terri. “I love, however, to write profiles on people, places and events. I consider it privilege to be able to meet people in my community and ‘tell stories’ that highlight their special achievements and move others to take positive actions. InFocus Magazine is a perfect fit for me, giving me the opportunity to fulfill this passion.”

Terri’s areas of special interest include responsible pet ownership, the human/companion animal bond, horses, travel and the grief process. She is also an avid gardener – struggling to learn the names of all of the spectacular plants on Vancouver Island – and a certified Feng Shui Consultant. Her first book, Building a Sustainable Future – Canadian Hydro Developers’ First Twenty Years, was published in March 2009.

A recent transplant from Calgary, Terri, her husband Ron, their dog and two cats now call Courtenay home.

Past CYMC students take a break from performing to relax and enjoy the Valley scenery.  Catch CYMC student and faculty performances throughout July, including Jazz on the Promenade, an outdoor concert at the Comox Marina.As far as organizations go, Comox Valley Youth Music Centre (CYMC) is a survivor. British Columbia’s longest-running music camp has persevered despite the cancellation of government grant programs, dramatic fluctuations in student enrolment and, just last year, the suspension of its classical program, for years the heart and soul of the organization.

Just as members of the Comox Valley arts community were beginning to whisper epitaphs to the storied non-profit organization, however, CYMC has once again rebounded for 2009 with new leadership, a revitalized classical program and an extensive line-up of performances that is poised to become one of the highlights of this summer’s local entertainment.

Entering its 43rd season, CYMC is essentially a triumvirate of summer music camps, offering instruction in jazz, classical and musical theatre. Students, generally between the ages of 14 and 25, come to the Comox Valley from throughout the province, across the country and, until recently, around the globe to study alongside CYMC’s faculty of professional musicians. Students are also given the opportunity to perform at CYMC’s annual Festival of Summer Sounds, a series of public performances held at various venues throughout the Comox Valley.

With the 2009 season quickly approaching, most of the buzz so far has centred on the revival of CYMC’s classical program. The recently resuscitated program will be directed by CYMC alumnus Dr. John van Deursen, associate conductor of the UBC Symphony Orchestra and director of Orchestra Armonia, a Vancouver-based string ensemble. Van Deursen, whose impressive resume also includes a 10-year stint as principal guest conductor for the Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra, adds an element of celebrity to the CYMC faculty, or at least as close to celebrity as you can get within Canadian classical music circles.

Expanding on the “star power” theme, CYMC staff announced last month that legendary Dutch maestro Arthur Arnold will also join the classical program this year as guest conductor. Arnold debuted with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in 2001 and co-founded the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, in Powell River, in 2003. Between stints on the West Coast, he conducts orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

“The faculty is pretty outstanding,” acknowledges Bob Wells, who was named CYMC president in April. “The calibre of people that we’ve been able to bring in as educators is incredible. And it’s not just educating, it’s also working in almost a pure relationship, because the faculty are also performing during the summer camp. The faculty are performing, the students are performing and the faculty and students are performing together. The mentorship is built right in to the education, and for our students it’s an amazing experience.”

If CYMC has a reputation for attracting world class faculty, which it does, it is equally renowned for the talented and well-known musicians that count themselves among the organization’s extensive alumni. Musicians who have used a CYMC summer camp as a stepping stone toward a professional music career include legendary drummer/composer Dave Robbins and contemporary jazz icon Diana Krall. According to CYMC’s website, former CYMC students can also be found in every symphony orchestra across Canada, as well as in major international orchestras such as the Boston, London and Berlin Philharmonics.

“We’re very proud of the work we do and the programs we run,” says Wells. “One of the roles that CYMC plays is providing a summer camp where students can come and really hone their craft in terms of jazz, classical music and musical theatre, but in a venue where they’re immersed in the music and working with a lot of very talented people who are in the industry themselves.

“CYMC offers a great showcase for students to come together and learn from each other and from the faculty,” he continues. “It’s a unique way to get students passionate about music and to help them get to that next level.”
Rounding out CYMC’s 2009 season will be its musical theatre program and Pacific Jazz Workshop. The Pacific Jazz Workshop, led by returning director and award-winning music educator Dave Proznick, will feature at least six performances throughout July, including the ever-popular Jazz on the Promenade, an outdoor concert at the Comox Marina. On the musical theatre front, this year’s batch of young actors will give six performances of the edgy, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical RENT at Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre July 15 through 19.

In addition to a full slate of music camps and performances, CYMC organizers have several other reasons to be excited about the upcoming season. The Comox Valley School District has offered them the use of Mark Isfeld School, giving CYMC’s jazz and classical programs a venue for instruction, performances and even student housing (musical theatre students will be housed at Cumberland’s Riding Fool Hostel). WestJet has also thrown its weight behind the organization, donating two tickets anywhere they fly for CYMC’s annual fundraising raffle, and, perhaps buoyed by the general sense of optimism, interest has been renewed in CYMC’s long-time goal of establishing a permanent conservatory of music in the Comox Valley.

“It’s certainly an exciting time for CYMC,” says Wells, who also served as the organization’s president during the 2005/06 season and as treasurer a year earlier. “CYMC has a long tradition of being a leader in musical education, and we’ve got a reputation that goes well beyond the Comox Valley. The changes we’ve made this year, I think they’ll go a long way to maintaining that reputation.”