Rock Out in a Classical Chinese Garden: Enchanted Evenings Concert Series is Back

Photo credit: Canada Explore | Flickr

Photo credit: Canada Explore | Flickr

Does the idea of a sunset concert in an elegant 15th-century-style Chinese garden sound like your cup of tea?

Then Enchanted Evenings at Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden may be just the thing for you. Each summer for the last 22 years, the little walled garden in the heart of Chinatown has opened its gates on select nights to music fans. Groups, ranging from classical piano ensembles to hot jazz bands, perform al fresco in the garden, while guests enjoy the feng shui and groove to the tunes.

This year’s series started July 16 and continues with weekly performances every Thursday until Aug. 20.

Photo sourced from Vancouverchinesegarden.com

Photo sourced from Vancouverchinesegarden.com

The evenings kick off at 7 p.m. with an optional picnic dinner. Guests are invited to dine inside the manicured garden, choosing from a variety of picnic options from $10-$24 (from wild sockeye sandwiches to lime-rubbed chicken breast and salads). After soaking up the ambiance – the tiny, .3-acre garden was selected as one of the world’s best by National Geographic – it’s time for the 8 p.m. show.

Performances take place in the garden courtyard, on the edge of the central pond. Seating  is available in three tiers, general ($25), front-row ($35) and exclusive “mountain-top patio” ($50). (The “mountain-top” in question refers to the gazebo planted atop a rocky outcropping in the garden.) The Enchanted Evenings series has a devoted local following, and the best tickets tend to sell out quickly.

Photo sourced from Vancouverchinesegarden.com

Photo sourced from Vancouverchinesegarden.com

The musical lineup this year embraces an eclectic blend of genres, from classical to blues and world music. Here’s who’s performing:

  • Vancouver Piano Ensemble: Take two grand pianos and four virtuoso pianists (all playing at the same time) and you get this groundbreaking group, which has performed its unique multi-piano music around the world. Thursday, July 30
  • Zhambal Trio: This masterful group performs traditional music from Zimbabwe, featuring ancient instruments like the mbira (thumb piano), as well as more contemporary ones like the marimba (xylophone), all complemented by vocal harmonies. Thursday, Aug. 6
  • Jim Byrnes: The iconic blues singer – from Vancouver by way of St. Louis – has been mesmerizing audiences across Canada for 40 years. Thursday, Aug. 18 ($5 surcharge on all ticket prices)
  • Silk Road Music: The traditional musics of China, India and the Middle East come together in this unique fusion group, featuring Chinese lute, Indian flute, Middle Eastern oud and flamenco-style guitar. Thursday, Aug. 20

The Enchanted Evenings series runs through Aug. 20 at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Tickets (starting at $25) are available via Eventbrite..

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