Heppner begins legacy
Opera star alumnus headlines concert to raise money for scholarships
by Bruce Mason staff writer
When the applause dies down at the Chan Centre for the
tomorrow, it will signal a new beginning as well as the end of a concert by
one of the world's finest operatic voices, UBC alumnus Ben
Proceeds from the evening, for which Heppner is waiving his fees,
scholarships for voice students in the School of Music and a bursary program
at Vancouver Opera.
Heppner -- a Dawson Creek native who graduated with a Bachelor of
Music in 1978 -- is
a Grammy- and Juno award winner who has earned a reputation as the
tenor performing today. The concert comprises two parts.
The first half spotlights singers and ensembles at the school who will sing
with Heppner. The second half features Heppner solo accompanied by acclaimed
pianist UBC Music Prof. Rena Sharon.
"We have a wonderful heritage and magnificent future," says Heppner. "I want
the audience to hear and celebrate what is going on at my alma mater."
Heppner pays tribute to UBC mentors, including Music Prof. Emeritus
James Fankhauser, who gave him his first solo opportunities, and Music
professors emeritii French Tickner and Cortland Hultberg.
"French coerced me into Opera Workshop where I learned many of the techniques
which I use continually on stage," says Heppner. "Cort became an
unofficial mentor as I watched him interact with music and
The audience will hear selections from Heppner's best-selling CD My
"Our alumni remember UBC in many ways, but we are especially moved by
Ben's generous gift of music and the tremendous effect this one event
will have on our voice program in perpetuity," says Jesse Read, director of the
School of Music.