A memorial concert and an endowment fund have been created in honour of an Abbotsford musician and music teacher who died Feb. 2 at the age of 41.
Beth Nickel, a professional viola player and the head of strings at the local Bakerview Music Academy, was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer in December 2020. She leaves behind her husband, Joel, and three children – Elijah, 16, Katie, 13, and Ethan, 9.
Nickel also headed up the Abbotsford Music Festival for many years and was an active member of the Abbotsford Music Association. At the time of her death, she was president of the parents advisory council at South Poplar school.
Nickel, who had a master’s in music from the University of B.C., became an established violist locally as well as across the Lower Mainland. She played in hundreds of concerts, including with ensembles, the Vancouver Symphony and the Chilliwack Symphony.
Nickel also became a sought-after adjudicator and instructor. In addition to her work at Bakerview Music Academy, she taught privately and at summer music camps in Abbotsford, Orcas Island, Banff, and Courtenay.
Abbotsford violinist Calvin Dyck and more than 20 other musicians – including two of Nickel’s brothers – recorded an online concert in honour of Nickel. It can be viewed free on YouTube (search “Beth Nickel Memorial Concert”).
Some of the performances were recorded remotely and were then pieced together for the concert.
As well, the Beth Nickel Memorial Endowment Fund for Performing Arts has been started through the Abbotsford Community Foundation. The plan is to generate an annual scholarship for aspiring string students from the Abbotsford area.
The fund has currently grown to $20,000 and can be found online at abbotsfordcf.org/donate (check “one time gift” and then on “specific student endowment award fund” to find the Beth Nickel Memorial Endowment Fund).