New stage for Community Christmas Concert

Oliver Dance StudioLocal dancers, carollers, and bell ringers usher in the season at the Community Christmas Concert on Sunday November 29 at 2:30 p.m. at the Frank Venables Theatre, 6100 Gala Street. The annual musical revue is a family–friendly event with quizzes and prizes to be won throughout the show and goody bags for children at the end of the concert. Admission is by donation, and goods for the Oliver Food Bank are also welcome. The new venue for the concert is made possible through a co-presentation between the Oliver Community Arts Council and the Oliver Community Theatre Society.

Sage Valley VoicesThe Oliver Dance Studio (pictured above) bound onstage with a spritely opening featuring a young troupe of dancers under the direction of Leah Moen. Next, crowd-pleasers Mikie Spillett and Ken Repkow return. They are sure to delight the audience with their country-rock carols. Several choirs give a sneak preview of their December programmes: the Sage Valley Voices  (pictured left), the Oliver Elementary School Chorus, and the Holy Cross School Choir will each tantalize with a few selections.  A flute and clarinet duo, Lori Martine and Brian Mapplebeck, will set a wintery mood with pure crystal tones. Also chiming in the season will be the Oliver Elementary Handbells Team. Two local songstresses with powerful pipes, Aimee Grice and Dawn MacRae, will each perform some seasonal numbers. Winding up the afternoon will be more little lords leaping and little ladies dancing to send the audience on its merry way.

Between sets, MC Penelope Johnson will keep the audience guessing with festive-themed quizzes from holiday traditions around the world, to winter activities, to knowledge of seasonal songs and carols. Who knows, perhaps prizes will also be awarded for high-spirited folks who dress in seasonal costume and colours! Prizes have been generously donated by Your Dollar Store with More and include two larger gift certificates in addition to the small prizes awarded. Goody bags have been provided by The Bargain Shop and members of the Oliver Community Arts Council. Sponsored in part by Oliver Daily News — visit  them here!

Many thanks to Brian Mapplebeck, program organizer and stage manager, to Tom Szalay and Nathan Linders on sound and lights, to stage crew Diane Gludovatz, Terry and Janice Goodman, greeters Shirley Corley-Rourke and Brita Park, the Oliver Ambassadors, and the Oliver Community Theatre Society.

Don’t miss Daniel

Three years ago the Daniel Gervais Trio performed here and anyone at that concert will be rushing back for more.   High spirits and fun are guaranteed when the trio hits the Venables Theatre stage Friday, December 4th, at 7:30 pm.  Daniel is Canada’s Grand Master Fiddle Champion and he is joined by guitarist Clinton Pelletier and Keith Rempel on Bass for a eclectic and entertaining mix of jazz, classical, bluegrass, country, old time, ragtime and Celtic music.   Three years ago they had the South Okanagan Concert Society audience on their feet clamoring for more.  Full command of the music combined with spontaniety and high energy appeals to all ages and musical tastes.  Daniel is also a master at engaging everyone prior to each piece with fascinating bits of history of the genres and styles.

Flex tickets are on sale at Beyond Bliss in Oliver, Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and at the door.   The four admission pass is entirely flexible and admissions can be used together or in any combination. Single admissions are $20 and those 17 and under are welcome to attend concerts free.   The venue is wheelchair accessible and those in the Oliver/Osoyoos area requiring transportation can call Maureen at 250 495 7978.

Daniel’s ability as a classical violinist was broadly recognized in 2002 when he attained the highest mark in Canada from the Royal Conservatory for his Gr. 8 Strings exam.  A little older now, he has a Masters degree in Music and an active portfolio of performance, recording and teaching.   His talents are not one dimensional.   He moves from traditional fiddle music to classical violin and to entertaining, story telling and composing.   He has toured North America and France.

Clinton PelletierClint Pelletier (pictured left)  is and outstanding free lance guitarist not content with just playing chords in the background.  He has the skills to put the guitar on an even footing with the violin and together with Daniel their Gypsy Jazz explorations are reminisent of Belgian guitar virtuoso, Django Rheinhardt and French violinist Stephane Grappelli.   Clint has initiated several bands, released many recordings, and is tracing his French Canadian roots through stories and music.

Keith RempelPerhaps the most amazing musician in the trio is Keith Rempel, a professional electric and upright bassist, currently residing in Edmonton.   Blind since birth, Keith has never seen the notes on a sheet of music.  He is a graduate from the Grant MacEwan College of Music and is known for his perfect pitch and talent with vocal harmonies.  He says,  “In one way, blindness can be an advantage because I have to pick things up by hearing it and then memorize it.  When you know something from memory, you perform a lot better.”  Indeed. This is exactly what he does!

Chase the winter blues and come out Friday, Dec. 4th, for an evening of lively upbeat music.   The Daniel Gervais Trio, devoted to excellence,  loves what they do best.   It shows and the feeling is contagious!SOCS_Poster_DanielGervais

Rollicking good time

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without attending a Sage Valley Voices concert.  People of all ages turn out each year to hear some spirit-lifting music, raise their voices in some sing along numbers and then visit afterwards.   A ‘cuppa tea’ and delicious Christmas baking shared with choir members in Victorian garb put closure to another annual Christmas tradition.

This year the choir will be performing at the Oliver United Church at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 5th, and again on Sunday afternoon, December 6th, at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for the events are available at the door for $10.00 and proceeds, after expenses, go to support the winter Soup Kitchen at the church.

Music from around the world creates some beautiful moments. “Celtic Noel”, “A Japanese Christmas”, the “Ukranian Bell Carol”, “Christmas in Killarney” and an “African Celebration” link us to traditions in other countries.  Other numbers bring back memories from our own culture.   “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Ave Maria” are but two of these with a rollicking “Partridge in a Pear Tree” always a favourite.

Lori Martine is the choir conductor and Sandy Andres provides piano accompaniment.   Other instrumentalists share their talents too.   Do come, sit back and enjoy.   It’s Christmas time!


Locarno treats audience to Mexican vacation

locarno-641x750by Val Friesen

There were eight musicians and they sang sixteen songs—but there’s no way to put a number to the amount of joy that wonderful performance brought to those who attended the opening concert of the South Okanagan Concert Society last Friday evening in the Venables Auditorium. Locarno, from Vancouver, is quite simply a gift to any audience lucky enough to see and hear them.

Locarno’s music is nearly all their own, often based on son jarocho music from Vera Cruz, Mexico, with a lot of Cuban colours and flavours thrown in.

Never heard of it? Well, yes you have, because the most famous piece of that genre is that incredibly joyous, rhythmic blockbuster known around the world as La Bamba—a high octane piece which they performed near the end of their program. So if you weren’t there, you have a pretty good idea of the adrenalin stomp this concert was.

The fountain of creative talent behind Locarno is the Juno award winning Tom Landa. Mexican born but with a Canadian mom, Landa infuses his sunny music with the energy and rhythms that reflect his Latin roots, and it’s fresh, modern, inventive—and simply terrific. He’s got a great voice, plays the guitar-like jarana jarocho marvelously, and has stage presence he was seemingly born with.

The music came alive thanks to the work of Landa’s fellow musicians, including the sole woman, his wife, Kalissa Landa, who plays a red hot fiddle. Malcolm Aiken- trumpet, and Kevin Tang- trombone, added mariachi-like colours, but it was Robin Layne (Vancouver Island fella) whose marimba and congas seemed to be an extension of his internal perpetual motion that added incredible enjoyment to the program. Go, man! Steady work, too, from drummer Liam MacDonald and bassist Ronnie Swirl.

The eighth musician arrived only after the intermission when Pedro Mota joined the group, and later performed the only solo of the evening. This guitarist from Mexico City has a spectacular high tenor voice that at times goes stratospheric, and as well, he’s a jazz guitarist to be reckoned with. Very impressive, as were Landa’s songs with their complex rhythms, and Mexican themes derived not only from Vera Cruz, but from Oaxaca and Chiapas as well—dancing under the sun, sunshine on water, a bullfrog, a snake, and even a touching one about his son, Joah, sung by both parents here.

And the concert had it all—not just wonderful, joyous music, with enough variety to keep interest high, but also all the welcome extras of live performance: interaction between the performers that was real fun for the audience; brief, interesting intros to the songs; explanations of the instruments; and lots of invitations from Landa for the audience to participate in some of the singing—and all delivered with fun, warmth, and professional polish and style. Thanks for all of that, Locarno. You very much deserved the standing ovation the audience awarded you. And thank you, Tom and Kalissa, for your beautiful encore, sung with your acoustic accompaniment to show off the quality of sound in our fine auditorium.

Bottom line of any concert is the question: but would I like to see them again? A five star yes to that one! Festival of the Grape, get on the phone! Thanks, South Okanagan Concert Society —and your generous sponsors. You’ve whetted the appetite for whatever follows in your 2015-16 season.

Arts Jamming Monday Nov 2

Arts Jam! is back for the cooler months after a summer hiatus. Relocated to the first Monday of the month since last year, the “news and views” gathering is an opportunity for member groups and businesses, individual members, visitors and board members, to share what’s going on in the local arts community. It is not a business meeting! Come to share and hear what art is happening in the area. It’s a great time to plan your season around exciting arts events and workshops. It’s also a great time to reflect on wider artistic issues: bring your views on arts in the current media.

There is always coffee, tea, and refreshments. For visitors, it’s a fun way to become immersed in the local art scene and meet some great people.

Next up at Arts Jam!: “Our Colourful Language”, a presentation by Marianne Parsons and hosted by the Friends of the Oliver Library.

Arts Jam

Monday November 2

9:30 a.m.

Quail’s Nest Arts Centre

5840 Airport Street

Arts Jam  begins with news from attending member groups and businesses. Tell us about your fall / winter event. Flyers welcome! Some news from the Board is included. Take a look at the new Memorial Bench and concrete pad now in place.

Following 45 minutes of regular Arts Jam and a refreshment break, Marianne Parsons will inform and delight you with a slideshow presentation entitled “Our Colourful Language” based on recent exhibitions by The Fabricators, a highly regarded group of regional fabric artists.Poster2

Upcoming Arts Jams: February (together with the AGM mid-month) , then back to first Mondays in March, April, and May.

Curious minds want to know

ORLOkanagan Regional Library Board Envision Library of the Future and Approve 2016 Budget

October 22, 2015

At the Okanagan Regional Library Board meeting on Wednesday, directors continued a strategic planning process to transform the public library system over the next few years. Recognizing the leaps in technology and access to information in the past decade, the Board considered how to prioritize the library’s traditional roles with emerging opportunities in such areas as teaching digital literacy, educational and cultural partnerships, and revitalization of library spaces.

The next step in strategic planning involves public consultations to be held in Revelstoke, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Keremeos, and Salmon Arm.  Board directors will be seeking feedback from both library members and non-members on how they envision the library to look in the future and what kind of services are important.

“We are hearing from people with all kinds of needs – for example, many want help with learning about technology and some want us to support their creativity through things such as workshops on e-publishing, access to 3-D printers, laser cutters, video or sound recording equipment”, explains ORL CEO Stephanie Hall. “Some would like us to expand our work in supporting learning and literacy with more author readings, and partnering with schools and post-secondary institutions.”

At the meeting, directors approved a total budget for 2016 of $18,247,446. This represents a 1.98% increase, or $351,818, over the 2015 budget. Half of the increase will fund negotiated wage increases for staff, while other increases are related to higher rents and utilities, and higher book and eResource costs based on inflation and the effect of the lower Canadian dollar.

The budget increase also covers the cost of moving furnishing purchases into the regular ORL levy, rather than the current practice of making requests to local governments in a separate process.

Hall added, “We are fortunate to have a very engaged Board looking to the future of library services and now we will be inviting the public to add their voices to the dialogue.”

Media Inquiries:

Marla O’Brien

Public Relations/Fundraising Manager

Okanagan Regional Library

Office: 250-860-4033, Ext. 2456

Mobile: 250-878-5814

Email: mobrien @

Artists welcome at Roots & Fruits 2016

rootsby Leann Parrent

Oliver Tourism Board is going to be starting an annual event primarily as their main fundraiser.  The event has been named Roots and Fruits Faire.

The first event will be in August 2016.  They want to promote our heritage, culture, agriculture, and viticulture .  They have asked me to be the representative for Oliver’s art community. They are inviting all local artists to participate at the Faire.  Our participation  can be live demonstration of craft, displays, or sales of products. The window is wide open for opportunity for your group to reach many locals and visitors.

As an example, the Oliver Sagebrushers art club plans to be a demonstrating their artwork at the event. We will have a display table draped with bounty of the season in the centre. We will surround it with working  covered tables, with four artists N/S/E/W painting in different media their view of the still life display. Between the artists there will be work tables laden with supplies for faire goers to try their hand. We hope to have local art for sales also as this will be great opportunity for sales.

Please feel  free to discuss this with your respective groups and if you would like to participate please contact Leann Parrent c/o olivercac @


Mini me, mini you?

Front Street GalleryFront Street Gallery is holding a Miniature Art Show on October 30 – November 26 at Front Street Gallery. Entries are due by October 23rd and there are still a few spots available. This is a great opportunity to have your work hang in a gallery for a month for just $10. People often come to the gallery looking for miniature work. Come and join the fun at Front Street! A poster with more information is attached.

Front Street Gallery

52-60 Front Street

Penticton, BC V2A 1H1

(778) 476 0016


PLUS Upcoming:

Tuc el Nuit Elementary School presents 

Missoula Theatre’s  

Sleeping Beauty         

Friday November 20th  – 7:00 pm

Students at Oliver’s Tuc el Nuit Elementary will spend the week with artists from Missoula Children’s Theatre.  They’ll begin with auditions on Monday and for the rest of the week the students rehearse their parts to be ready to present this original adaptation of the classic fairy tale on Friday afternoon for  students and in the evening for parents and the community.Tickets available through the school and at the door.

Desert Valley Hospice Society Fundraiser 

Celebration of Caring Hands

Saturday November 21st – 7:00pm

Enjoy parings of local wines and cheeses throughout this fundraising evening which will showcase a wide variety of silent auction items as well as the ever-popular home baked table.  A live auction of selected items will be the highlight of the evening.