Arthur Arnold will be performing on his cello, with piano accompaniment from Edwin Kim, winner of the 2017 Australian International Chopin Piano Competition. Photo supplied

Comox Valley winery to host PRISMA Fundraiser April 14

Sips and Sonatas to feature Sunday brunch, live music at 40 Knots

The Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA) Festival is a Powell River-based event, but the Comox Valley connections are undeniable.

The annual orchestra school and festival exists in no small part due to the longtime involvement of Courtenay-based founding sponsor Balfe/Somers Wealth Management. And, for the past four years, 40 Knots Winery has served as PRISMA’s exclusive wine provider. There are also hundreds of attendees who make the trek across the Strait of Georgia each June for the Sail to the Symphony matinée concert.

“This festival truly belongs to the entire coast, and Comox Valley residents have been huge supporters in particular,” said Andy Rice, PRISMA’s director of marketing and multimedia. “You come to us every summer, and every spring we try our best to come to you.”

PRISMA has held concerts and fundraising events in the North Island region for the past few years, but organizers have decided to change up the format by hosting a special brunch event this April.

“We are proud to be hosting Sips and Sonatas in our vineyard terrace,” said 40 Knots owner Brenda Hetman-Craig. “This is indeed a rare and unique opportunity to experience the sounds of PRISMA while enjoying an elegant brunch among our vines.”

Maestro Arthur Arnold is planning to blow the dust off his cello for a rare appearance, joining Edwin Kim, winner of the 2017 Australian International Chopin Piano Competition. The Baltimore-based pianist has been a guest artist at the PRISMA Festival since 2015, quickly cementing himself as a crowd favourite for his on-stage charisma and off-stage charm.

“It has actually been my dream for a while now to do something at a winery,” said Kim. “I love wine. I’m not an expert but I do study wine here and there; I care about what I drink and I get totally into wine and cheese and food pairings.”

He likens the story behind a particular bottle to that of a musical piece.

“Each wine, just like any musical composition, has its own exciting narrative.”

Kim’s repertoire for the afternoon will include works by Chopin, Liszt, Bach and Brahms.

“And, a lot of show-off pieces, too,” said Kim, who is in the final stages of preparation for not only his doctoral recital but a major competition in Spain. In fact, immediately following his appearance at 40 Knots he will be heading straight to the Comox Airport.

Sips and Sonatas will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 14. Tickets are $87 per person, available from the 40 Knots website or at the tasting room, 2400 Anderton Rd.

Admission includes a gourmet brunch catered by The Beez Kneez Catering Company, as well as a complimentary welcome cocktail upon arrival.

“By purchasing a ticket, you support PRISMA’s school and concerts in June,” said Hetman-Craig. “At 40 Knots, we believe in the importance and the impact on our society and culture from the work of PRISMA. We applaud the important work of Maestro Arthur Arnold, staff and volunteers.”

For more information, visit or, and be sure to mark your calendar for PRISMA’s 2019 Sail to the Symphony tour on Saturday, June 29. The event attracts hundreds of concertgoers from the Comox Valley each year, on a day trip to Powell River to see the PRISMA Festival Orchestra. Individual travel/lunch packages are available at

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