Wellington Water Week: Maria Gacesa Discusses New Prince Edward County Festival and the Magic That Awaits You!

Ahhh water. The element that truly unites us all. It’s also our saviour and BFF in this fierce August heat!

This month, Wellington in Prince Edward County honours this foundational element during Wellington Water Week. We are beyond proud to be partnering with them (along with Festival Players) for our incredible #VIPinPEC contest that will transport you to the exquisite townships in Prince Edward County. If you haven’t already visited the County, Wellington Water Week is one of the many reasons you should start planning your trip RIGHT NOW. (We’ve even crafted a handy-dandy itinerary for your convenience. You’re welcome!)

Inspired by Stockholm’s World Water Week, Wellington Water Week is a series of lakeside concerts from some of Canada’s premier artists, all taking place in the breathtakingly scenic Prince Edward County. With performances happening in museums, breweries, the Drake Devonshire Inn and more, you’re sure to experience a hefty dose of County life at this inaugural fest. Check out the full array of talent here.

Maria Gacesa is one of the founders of Wellington Water Week. As a musician with her group, Ensemble Meduse, she premiered and commissioned numerous works by composers from across Canada and abroad, appearing at festivals from Ontario to England. Gacesa has created lasting ties through her work with the Prince Edward County Skating Club, The Wellington Heritage Museum, Backyard ShakesCamp, and finally, this incredible collaborative effort: Wellington Water Week!

We caught up with her this week.

SDTC: Please tell us the birth story of Wellington Water Week and why you were inspired to start it.

Rivers for solo piano, by Canadian minimalist composer, Ann Southam was the initial inspiration. I was listening to it and started daydreaming about water in general, which led to an internet search and the discovery of the annual symposium in Stockholm, Sweden, called World Water Week, which is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute.

Water as inspiration for art is timeless, and being in a lakeside town, it seemed natural to give artistic voice to water while engaging community groups and raising money for our local beach. Music directors, Canadian violinist Elissa Lee, and Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus have put together the backbone of the festival, which comprises a week of exceptional concerts with musicians from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

You live right on the lake. How does water play a role in your daily life? Or life in The County?

The lake reminds me to breathe and the ever-changing waters make me wonder. My favourite days are the ones where the colours of the lake and sky invert, as if they were impersonating one another. 

Can you share with us what to expect from this new festival?

The dream is for the village to turn into a canvas of art and activity, with events taking place at multiple venues: concerts by some of Canada’s most accomplished musicians, screenings, exhibits by local artists, as well as free events and activities for all ages to enjoy.

What do you hope people think about, following their experience at Water Week?

I hope they think about what a gorgeous spot Wellington is to enjoy a world-class arts experience. I also hope they leave feeling good for having contributed to the well-being of our local beach, as profits from the week will be directed to its continued care and upgrading.

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