ABOVE: Surrey musician Mark Hildebrand and band are headliners at the second annual Same Sun Summer Jam this Saturday (Aug. 26). LEFT: Cyprus Avenue, seen here in a photo posted to the band’s Facebook page, play the music of Van Morrison.

‘Same Sun Summer Jam’ brings six bands to a Surrey backyard

Musician Mark Hildebrand and wife to host five-hour music fest on Port Kells property

SURREY — When hosting a backyard concert featuring six bands, tolerant neighbours should be cherished.

Mark and Beckie Hildebrand are doing a second annual Same Sun Summer Jam on Saturday night (Aug. 26), and they have nothing but great things to say about those who live near their Port Kells property.

“This is the second year we’re doing it, and we couldn’t believe how well it went last year,” Mark said.

“The neighbours in the area here, around Port Kells, have pitched in and it’s been amazing because it’s actually become a neighbourhood event, thanks to everybody around us,” added Beckie, Mark’s wife. “They’ve been really supportive.”

Guitar-playing Mark and his band, The Recollectors, headline the five-hour music festival, a by-donation event that will run from 5 to 10 p.m. at 8964 184th St., Surrey. Other artists on the bill are Richard Cummins, The Kwerks, Melody Lovejoy, Brander Raven and Cyprus Avenue (a Van Morrision tribute band).

“A number of years ago I wrote a song called ‘Under the Same Sun,’ and the song’s about inclusivity – basically about people wanting the same things as you and I – love, peace, freedom,” Mark explained. “And so I recorded the song a few years ago, along with another, and last year we thought, ‘Why don’t we bring that ideal to a small music festival?’ Beckie and I have always had people over to our house, thrown big parties.”

For Mark, this year’s concert celebrates a nomination for Best Blues Song (“Waiting for the Resurrection”) in the Canadian Gospel Music Awards. He co-wrote the tune – described on Soundcloud as “A story of hope. One man’s journey from death to life, finding strength, peace, laughter and beauty on the other side – with Beckie and fellow musician Richard Cummins.

“We’d never entered any kind of contest before, and we were really surprised to get nominated for that, and it really encouraged us in our songwriting,” Beckie said.

“An important thing to note is,” she added, “Mark was nominated for a gospel music award, but it’s kind of funny because he wouldn’t be asked to play in many churches, because churches wouldn’t consider him gospel enough. So finding a place to play has always been a bit tricky, because Mark is one of those guys it’s hard to put a label on. So this event allows us to invite anyone to come enjoy the music.”

Mark, who won a Royal Conservatory of Music silver medal while training in classical guitar, teaches music at several places, including Pacific Life Bible College, on 66A Avenue in Surrey.

“The last couple of years, I haven’t performed as much as I have in previous years, I’ve been concentrating more on songwriting and recording,” Mark said. “But my band does get out once in a while, including a fundraiser for Opportunities International, who will be at this event (at his home). I really believe in that charity, which gives small loans to women around the world in developing nations.”

For this Saturday’s concert, would-be attendees are encouraged to visit Hildebrand’s Facebook page for an “official” invitation.

“It’s by donation, and it’s by-invitation because it’s on private property,” Beckie said. “And we do serve alcohol, so there’s always that trick, right.

“We set up the stage under this giant willow tree that we’ll be covering in white Christmas lights. It looked gorgeous last year.… We’re reversing the floorplan this year and will put the stage under the tree, and then our yard has a huge grassy area where everybody can sit, and they can eat the restaurant food, drink the wine and beer, all that. At the end, we’ll do a jam with all bands.”

Mark Hildebrand’s website is markhildebrandmusic.com, or visit him at facebook.com/MarkHildebrandMusic.

tom.zillich@ surreynowleader.com