Wine, chocolate and chamber music aim to crack the code of the BMO safe

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
February 9th, 2011

The next round of the Rouge Music series is gearing up for a Valentine’s Day love-in at the Rouge Gallery and this time the organizers have a mission: to crack into the old bank vault in the back of the former bank. Starting on Monday through the Rouge Music’s season end performance in May, the folks at the gallery will be raising money to attempt to break into the vault and access it is as a large potential storage space. Rather than storing gold bars, international currency and the like, however, Rouge is hoping to use the space to store art as well as the new chairs it plans to buy. Kicking off the effort will be an evening of romantic clarinet and string music orchestrated by Nicola Everton, clarinet player extraordinaire (he’s also the music series’ coordinator).

  Cracking into that safe isn’t going to be an easy task. Since Fletcher Quince bought the building in the fall of 2009 he’s been on an epic quest to decipher the combination. So far that effort hasn’t turned up any results and the folks at Rouge are now talking about punching a hole in through the exterior wall and plasma drilling through the safe walls to get in.   When the building changed hands (from the Bank of Montreal to the Credit Union) the combination was changed. Quince has since contacted the CEO of the Credit Union and set them on the hunt for the code that has yet to turn up the sought-after numbers. During the chase a number of folks have come in and mentioned that they know a friend of a friend who used to work at the bank who may know the combination. So far, however, there have been no breakthroughs—literal or otherwise.   While the first choice is still to hope that someone comes forward with a combination, the alternative is likely to punch, drill and cut. To do that the locksmith Quince has contacted has said he would need to first have a 24 inch wall punched through the two foot thick brick exterior of the building. From there a separate company would use a plasma drill to cut through the steel of the vault. Once through, a locksmith would be sent in through the hole to open the vault door from the inside.   And thus the Rouge Music series is fundraising with raffles, contests and perhaps some other ideas that have yet to come to the surface. This coming Monday, under a Valentines theme of wine, chocolate and romance, a package has been put together thanks to donations of chocolates from Mountain Nugget, cupcakes from the Sweet Dreams Cakery and BC Wine Guys with their signature product. It will be raffled off with all money going to the Crack-the-Safe Fund.   That said, of course, the entire evening will be primarily about the music.   Nicola Everton will be coming out from behind the curtain to sit in with her clarinet alongside the La Cafamour String Quartet. The West Kootenay-based quartet was formed in 2008 and includes members Jeff Faragher on cello and Alexis More on Viola of Nelson along with Rossland local Carolyn Cameron. Rounding out the quartet and making the event a full on family affair, Cameron’s sister Angela Snyder will be making a guest appearance on violin, all the way from the Washington DC area.   If, while listening to the music, you suddenly find yourself mentally swept away to a romantic candlelight dinner on the Serengeti, you won’t likely be alone. The evening’s program includes Mozart’s beautiful clarinet quintet, perhaps better known as the soundtrack to the famous love scene in the movie Out of Africa. In addition to music by Carl Maria von Weber and Philip Glass there will be a special world premiere performance of a brand new score by Ian McDougall, a legend among the Canadian jazz scene. The score was commissioned specifically for the group and their Rossland performance.   “We’re doing something interesting to promote Canadian content,” commented Nicola Everton. “To be innovative we have the piece that was commissioned by the composer Ian McDougall. He’s one of Canada’s top jazz players. He played trombone in the Boss Brass for a number of years and writes lots of charts for big bands. He typically does more jazzy numbers but this is a little jazz piece that features the clarinet and string quartet. We’ll be doing the Canadian premiere of that piece.”   The slow and introspective adagio paced piece is highlighted by a dialogue between the first violin and clarinet throughout.   Although McDougall won’t be able to make it out to Rossland from his current home in Victoria to see the premiere of his work, the ensemble is working out a way to get a recording of the music back to its creator.   One sound you won’t hear on Monday night is that of drills battling through 100 year old brick walls and steel safes. If all goes according to plan, however, the money raised through this event and the rest of the Rouge Music season may just provide the key to cracking the old bank vault. As for hopes of perhaps finding a load of gold bars or wrapped up stacks of Robert Bordens once they get inside, Quince isn’t holding his breath.  “I really hold no hopes of finding anything in the vault. It changed hands in 2000. They hired a security company to move the contents across from this building to the new Nelson and District Credit Union over on Queen Street. I doubt that they missed anything in that move [laughs]. I’ve got a safe upstairs, too, that I’d like to get into. Who know how long it’s been since somebody opened that. If either of them have anything interesting inside my bet is it’s the upstairs safe.”

Categories: Arts and Culture

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