You close your eyes as you hear violins playing an enchanting melody. A harp joins in, followed by cellos and horns. As you listen, the music grows until finally a Gregorian choir unites delightfully with the orchestra. You smile as you open your eyes, expecting dozens, if not hundreds, of musicians on stage. But there is no orchestra. Instead, there is one man, his hands flying across five keyboards while his feet dance over an organ-style pedalboard. You stare in disbelief, asking yourself, “How can all of this be coming from one man?”
Gilles Parenteau is that man. He has combined the traditional form of the pipe organ with modern technology to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece — his “Virtual Symphony”. This year, Parenteau is the headline artist at the Pass Creek Gospel Festival. This is the first time a Kootenay artist is the feature act of the festival, but make no mistake — he is a world-class musician. His passion, skill, and showmanship are unlike anything you’ve seen.
Parenteau will be performing an act he created for this event, “Mass for the Second Adam”. It stretches from Bach to Hans Zimmer and is composed of seven movements, taking the listener on a journey from the “Period of Grace” (today) to “The New Jerusalem” (eternity/heaven). Through his music, he hopes audience will understand the awe that he feels towards his Lord. “There are two sides to awe - the side that inspires, and the side that makes you tremble. The God that I serve is gentle, powerful, and through all things, He is love.” Parenteau will be joined by Clayton Malette on drums and vocalists Robyn Edgar & Andrea Hansell.
There will be a wide variety of styles of gospel music to enjoy, from traditional to rock and even a little metal. In addition to Parenteau, Friday night's performers include the Junction Church and Kinnaird Church of God while Saturday night's performers include Trail First Presbyterian and musicians from Balfour Covenant and Calgary.
The Pass Creek Gospel Festival’s beauty is in it’s simplicity - there’s nothing to get in the way of its wonderful music and powerful message. If you believe in Jesus Christ, expect to be inspired and encouraged. If you believe in something/someone else, expect to be impressed by the music and surprised that the Christians there aren’t the stodgy folk you may expect them to be.
The festival will take place at the Pass Creek Exhibition Grounds both Friday July 19th and Saturday July 20th at 6:15pm. This is a family friendly event, admission is by donation.
For more information and to see videos of Gilles performing on his Virtual Symphony, visit the event’s Facebook page .