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Port Moody concert series hits a high note with city support

Live music and theatre are coming to Inlet Theatre, helping to fill some of the performing arts void left when the Gallery Bistro burned down in 2019.
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Bill Sample and Darlene Cooper are hoping to bring renewed life to Port Moody's performing arts scene by promoting a series of musical concerts at Inlet Theatre.

A series of concerts at Port Moody's Inlet Theatre will get city support.

Last Tuesday, council approved a two-year agreement to waive rental fees for the civic facility for up to eight concerts a year.

Organizers Bill Sample and Darlene Cooper had approached the city for its support of the series to help keep expenses down and make the shows affordable.

They said the fee waiver will allow them to charge about $25 a ticket.

Sample and Cooper, longtime musicians themselves who moved from Vancouver to Port Moody four years ago, said they hope the series, to be scheduled from September to next May, will breathe some life back into the city’s performing arts scene that’s struggled to regain the footing it lost when the old Gallery Bistro on Clarke Street burned down in 2019.

The little restaurant had become a destination for local and travelling musicians, as well as poets, authors and speakers, to stop by for intimate performances.

“The city can help fill the void,” Sample said, adding the 159-seat Inlet Theatre, with its raised stage and professional sound system is a perfect venue to attract musicians like the Shari Ulrich Band, Norm Foote or Port Coquitlam jazz bassist Jodi Proznick.

In a report, Port Moody’s manager of cultural services, Devin Jain, said the fee waiver amounts to about $393 per show, or approximately $3,144 a year.

The promoters would still cover the costs for two technicians and one front-of-house staffer and the city’s commitment would be reviewed after the first year.

Jain said the second year of the agreement includes a profit-sharing arrangement with the promoters that will allow the city to recover its rental fee if the series of concerts proves to be a success.

“The goal with this approach is to fully support the group in the beginning to them them build a successful and eventually self-sustaining musics series for Port Moody,” Jain said.

The city’s support for the concert series is similar to a fee waiver recently approved by council for the nascent Ioco Players theatre arts group to allow it to present a musical revue at Inlet Theatre from August 2 to 7.