Vancouver musician and composer Mark Haney says he can’t wait to get business cards for his new residency position.
Haney, the artistic director of the Little Chamber Music Series That Could, is the new composer in residence at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery.
When it comes to arts residencies, it’s a position that the double bassist believes is pretty unique.
“It thrills me,” he says in a phone interview with the Straight.
“Terrible joke here, but we’re really trying to bring this public space to life,” he notes with a laugh.
As part of his residency, which also includes Little Chamber Music as ensemble in residence, Haney will produce a composition for the group's Summer Solstice event at the cemetery.
The solstice project will include an art installation consisting of mirrors and a large community dance piece, which Haney says was inspired by Le Grand Continental performance at the PuSh Festival, which he and general manager Diane Park participated in.
“It was a great experience, and a lot of people involved wanted to do something else, and this came up right at the same time that our association with Mountain View was formalized, so we thought let’s tie this all together, and let’s bring dance to Mountain View,” said Haney.
The piece is expected to include about 50 people, with rehearsals taking place Mondays for 14 weeks, starting on March 16.
“We developed a pretty great community engagement model during our field house residency in Falaise Park, and we’re basically just going to take the model we developed and move it to Mountain View, so the same concept of trying to bring people into an under-used public space through unique arts events,” Haney explained.
Another upcoming Little Chamber Music event that Haney is looking forward to is Sunset Sounds.
The project, which was first staged at Falaise Park, features 90 minutes of looping double bass leading to sunset.
“These were really effective events in Falaise Park, because people who were just wandering through the space would get interested in it, and they would stop, especially cyclists,” said Haney.
Two Sunset Sounds events at Mountain View are being planned for July, and one for August.
Little Chamber Music will also continue to contribute to the All Souls arts event at the cemetery. While the length of the new residency hasn’t been determined yet, Haney says it will definitely be “a couple of years”.
“Mountain View—lots of people use it that way, like walk their dogs through, cycle through, so the hope is that, like in Falaise Park, these events will get people to sort of stop and really interact with this unique public space.”
“One thing I learned at Falaise Park was…trying to do community engaged art—it’s sort of, the first year is getting to know people and earning their trust, and then after that, you can start really doing things.”
Eventually, Haney hopes to organize an event of a similar scale to Little Chamber Music's project 11, which drew 1,000 people to Falaise Park on Remembrance Day.
“Our hope is down the road to be able to do something like that, some large-scale, multi-arts project that really digs in to the history and the connections, and finds a way to really draw people together and bring them in,” he said.
In the meantime, other upcoming Little Chamber Music events include a co-presentation with Music on Main on April 30 at the Fox Cabaret of a unique concert featuring the Thin Edge New Music Collective from Toronto and Ensemble Paramibo from Montreal.
The group will also host a week-long workshop in March to develop a new hybrid dance/theatre/music piece called Man at Desk, with Haney, James Fagan Tait, and Noam Gagnon.
“We’re very dedicated to these large community engaged events, but we’re also maintaining the Little Chamber Music series’ long-time commitment to fostering, commissioning and developing new works by exciting Vancouver artists,” he added.
“So we’re going to try to find a way and balance the two. It’s a challenge, but I think we’re up for it.”