With a programme that includes singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and a hilarious dramatic reading, the upcoming Community Christmas Concert promises to sparkle with the season. And that’s not even including the quizzes, prizes, and goodie bags! Hosted by the Oliver Community Arts Council, the fun begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday December 1 at the Oliver Alliance Church. Admission is by donation. Proceeds will go to the Oliver Food Bank.
The family-friendly concert celebrates both sacred and secular festivities associated with this time of year. The programme ranges from traditional carols, to modern compositions, to a rib-tickling seasonal narration, to ballet, tap, and jazz dance. Quizzes will test the audience’s knowledge of winter holidays and a variety of traditions around the world.
The opening act, the Oliver Handbell Ringers, will set a wintery mood with their pure, crystal tones. Each year, their skill literally makes the audience murmur and sigh with pleasure. What better music for this time of year than ethereal bells? If you have never heard their music, you will be surprised at the lovely, muted, uplifting sound. They truly sound otherworldly.
Nathan Linders, last seen starring in SOAP’s Twisted Tales, will be sure to get you chuckling as he describes a guy’s worst nightmare: having to cook the Christmas turkey by himself. “Dave Cooks the Turkey”, written by Stuart McLean, may be familiar to the CBC’s Vinyl Cafe fans, but like the best stories, never fades with retelling. Nathan’s pleasing baritone and dry delivery have already proved popular with local audiences.
Penticton’s Holy Cross Choir makes a special trip south to perform seven carols spanning 500 years and the globe. Students will also perform violin and percussion accompaniment.
Jeremy Cook has shared his talents on guitar at two public concerts this year. A talented composer and arranger in his own right, this time Jeremy will perform a familiar carol medley with both guitar and vocals. His quiet meditative style will provide a delightful contrast with the next performers:
The Oliver Dance Studio troupe will bound on stage with several dance numbers, both energetic and lyrical. The audience will be treated to solos, duets and group performances by youth in a number of dance styles, as well as a solo by their instructor Leah Moen-Garcia.
Rounding out the repertoire will be pianist Matthew Thomas, tickling the ivories and adding his vocals to three modern compositions that have already become favourites. Matthew has recorded three CDs of his own compositions, with a Christmas album on the way!
Between sets, MC Penelope Johnson will keep the audience guessing with fun quiz questions. Prizes for both adults and children have been generously donated by Your Dollar Store with More, Osoyoos. All children will receive a goodie bag, courtesy of The Bargain! Store in Oliver.
See you there – with bells on!
by Sue Morhun
“Wow! Wasn’t that wonderful?” This was the shared sentiment Friday evening at the end of an amazing choral performance by musica intima, an eight person a cappella vocal ensemble. It was an evening that wowed everyone, sending us home thrilled with what a well trained voice can do all on it’s own, unaccompanied.
It was a privilege to hear multi-talented musicians in an intimate setting doing what they love best; singing together simply, purely and with great joy. Their virtuoso performance offered up a diverse and musically complex program well beyond the formal choral tradition many expected. The ensemble humorously mixed musical notes with unexpected animal sounds in “Le Chant Des Oyseaux”, delighted us with “Punjabi Market”, an unusual blend of Celtic and Punjabi styles, and then nearly made us weep with the sweet sounds of “Goin’ Home” and “Loch Lomond”. Our feet tapped in time with lusty vocal Spanish guitar rhythms in “El Paisanito”, a piece in sharp contrast to a naughty and hugely funny Estonian “Vepsian Paths” where the word “goick” (“That’s all!”) punctuated the end of each set. Yes, they moved us in many different ways.
One has to remark on more than just the incredible quality of the ensemble’s voices, their superb breath control and confident way of singing complicated pieces. It was not easy music to perform and they left those of us who do sing in awe. Someone described it succinctly as “vocal gymnastics”. Complex rhythms had to be precise, discordant parts held firmly and pitch perfect and with all eight voices blended. When they layered their musical story telling with simple, effective choreography it could have been distracting. It wasn’t. It allowed us to hear – and see – voices
I loved it all but the real highlight for me were three pieces reminding us of Canada’s First Nations rich traditional music and their connection to the natural world. The “Salish Funeral Song” was especially haunting in its delivery, done effectively and well. Perhaps best of all were three short musical passages by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer who, inspired during a camping trip in Ontario, combined wolf howls, and buzzing bees with reminders of First Nations chants. It all came together in “Magic Songs” with subtle an exhortation to mankind to make nature’s magic work.individually as well as in different combinations within the whole. It was magic.
musica intima needed no inspiring chant to make their brand of songs work. What they do with their voices is, indeed, magical. Wow!
Next up with South Okanagan Concert Society: Khac Chi: Vietnamese Bamboo Music. Friday January 17, Oliver Alliance Church at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at Beyond Bliss (Oliver), Imperial Office Pro (Osoyoos) and at the door., $60 4-way flex pass, $20 per single ticket. Students 17 and under FREE admission.
What better instrument calls to mind at this time of year the cold pure night of stars, the fresh crunch of twinkling snow, the singing, ringing of a merry heart? Nothing but bells of course! Let your soul lift with the lovely clear tones of the Oliver Handbell Ringers.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light ….
Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow….
(by Alfred, Lord Tennyson).
Dress warmly for an old-fashioned celebration around the campfire. Enjoy hot food and drink and a lively sing-along. Step inside the Quail’s Roost Gallery and Rustico Winery for some great gift ideas.
The arts council acknowledges the generous donation of prizes from Your Dollar Store with More in Osoyoos: your one-stop shop for stocking stuffers, Christmas decorations, gifts, festive houseware and decor items. #5-9143 Main Street Osoyoos 250-495-0404
by Marion Boyd
Saturday, December 7th at 7 pm and Sunday, Dec. 8th at 2:30 pm are the big dates for this years performance by the Sage Valley Voices. The concert, “When Christmas Comes” will be performed at the Oliver United Church. It is a wonderful way to share the Christmas spirit with the entire family.
This year we have a new conductor, Lori Martine, and she is bringing along the Oliver Elementary School Chorus to add to the fun. Christmas isn’t Christmas without children!
Lori works hand in hand with pianist, Sandy Andres. Both are enjoying the pleasure of a new keyboard that can create sounds like a pipe organ or a flute.
There has been a lot of laughter learning music with our new conductor. Lori is cryptic in her instructions: “I don’t want those little pecking things to happen. Now THAT’S better!” She is also very honest: “The beginning of that one was a scary mess. Try this…” Our intrepid men are often in Lori’s sights: “Guys, it’s a G like in GOLF” and “Don’t sing until I point to you!”
Lori has never failing optimism: “We all know the dings and the fal lah lahs” and excellent advice “Some people can breath before they need to breath”. When we catch on she is lavish with praise: “I see a lot of light bulbs go on!”
The members of this choir sing because they love to sing and the atmosphere at rehearsals lifts the spirits. We start by learning to relax and Lori’s relaxation exercises would put anyone at ease. Before you know it, sedate adults are flapping their arms and burbling bubbles with pursed lips. Who wouldn’t like that?
The program includes a wide variety of music from ‘Carol Singers Carol’ to ‘Sleigh Song’ to ‘Christmas Gloria’. Lori has instructed “Keep marching. It’s silly to stop” for Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. We all hope she is right when she tells us, “We’re going to get a groove on. We are really going to feel it!” Why not bring your own good spirits, come to the concerts and find out! Tickets available at the door for $10. Refreshments follow the concerts where you can mingle with friends and with the choir members.
Kurt Hutterli, Oliver 3-D artist and member of the RipOff Artists, has a few other artistic talents up his sleeve. In act, in his home country of Switzerland, he is perhaps better known as a playwright and an author. His new book was recently launched in Bern with the title: When the Wine God Comes to Aurora, and subtitled “The Records of Cafe Owner Roberto (Bob) Sotto“. The dust cover summary hints that Kurt might be infusing his novel with some sly references to a certain rural town in BC.
Retired SOSS languages teacher Brita Park translates the dust jacket for us:
Roberto (Bob) Sotto, has made a mess of his life in Toronto, where his two marriages as well as his career as radio announcer have failed. His 84 year-old mother is thrilled to learn that her son has decided to return home, to the small town of Aurora, in rural British Columbia, which had become the safe haven for her and her husband when they immigrated to Canada from war-torn Italy after World War Two, more than half a century earlier. Roberto moves in with mom, becomes the manager of Aurora’s “Black Ink Cafeteria”, makes new friends, and even starts a new romantic relationship.
A particular joy for Roberto is reconnecting with childhood buddy Andy, with whom he shares many memories of growing up in the former gold-mining town turned agricultural gem, now surrounded by lush vineyards on all the valley slopes. The two of them hit upon the idea to write a play in honour of their home town. The working title is : “Dionysius, God of Wine, Arrives in Aurora”.
Living with his elderly mother is not all sweetness and light for Roberto, however, as tensions arise over a potential move out of the old family home. While tidying up the neglected basement, Roberto stumbles upon an old suitcase containing three blue notebooks. They turn out to be journals written by his mother when she was sixteen years old and still living in the Italian border city of Domodossola in 1944. Secretly reading her personal diary, Roberto finds himself growing closer to his mother than ever before–all the while struggling with how to broach with her the sensitive topics that are contained within those pages.
This work of fiction has the reader looking through multiple frames and multiple lenses at how life in present day small-town, rural B.C. intersects with a complex past in the final years of a devastating war in Domodossola.
Now, if only the whole book could be translated into English so we living in Oliver — ummm… ”Aurora”– could read about our fictionalized town and people.
Photo Credit: Penelope Johnson
When Musica Intima performed at a recent choral competition, the following summed up the performance: “In a concert full of gorgeous choral moments, the most exquisite was by the 12 voice conductor-less choir, Music Intima. Its relaxed sonic purity…was breathtaking.”
Internationally renowned for their warm and engaging stage presence, Musica Intima’s small size allows for the flexibility and agility that makes them so exciting.
They will be performing Friday, November 22nd at 7:30 as part of the South Okanagan Concert Society’s annual series. The performance takes place at the temporary venue of Oliver Alliance Church where the acoustics are excellent for this size ensemble.
Four admission flex passes for only $60 are available at Beyond Bliss, Oliver, Imperial Office Pro, Osoyoos, or at the door. The pass is entirely flexible. One person can attend 4 concerts, 2 people can attend 2 concerts or 4 people can attend one concert with it. There is also a single entrance for $20. Students 17 and under are admitted free. For transport by van from Osoyoos call Maureen 250 495 7978.
Founded in 1992, the thing that makes Musica Intima truly unique is that the singers rehearse, perform and function as a collective. In rehearsal they self-direct, exchanging ideas freely while exploring their own musical creativity. In performance, they engage the audience with a spontaneity and directness all their own.
This season Musica Intima’s program is entitled “Voices Rise”. Some exceptional music explores humankind’s connection to the natural world: “not just love for it but our need for it – our uneasy dependence.” Salish Song and Magic Songs are a tribute to the Earth’s power to heal and restore. These pieces remind us of the fundamental threads that link us to our natural surroundings.
The programme also reveals a wide variety of music from Dvorak’s “Goin’ Home” to traditional pieces like “Down to the River to Pray” and “Loch Lomond” and modern Billy Joel and Lennon-McCartney favourites.
Musica Intima has both a Canadian and an international presence. They have performed at the Polyfollia Festival in France, Cork International Choral Festival in Ireland and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Denmark. Frequently heard on national and international radio broadcasts, the ensemble has released seven commercial recordings. Their all-Canadian album “Into Light” (2010) won a Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Album.
Musica Intima has become a much loved and integral part of Vancouver’s cultural fabric and is sure to delight our local audience on Friday, November 22nd.
More information about the ensemble can be found at their website: www.musicaintima.org
“Amazing”…“fabulous concert”…“so glad I came”… were just a sampling of the enthusiastic comments overheard in the lobby at last night’s season opener for the South Okanagan Concert Society. The Bergmann Piano Duo presented a delightfully diverse program which began with classical masterworks and progressed to arrangements from Broadway, favourite jazz standards and spirited South American tangos.
The concert was not only a delight musically, but visually too. On stage were two magnificent grand pianos which Marcel and Elizabeth Bergmann brought with them on the first leg of their 2013/14 concert tour which includes stops all through BC’s Island communities, the Kootenays, and the Okanagan, before returning home for concerts in the Lower Mainland.
The Bergmann Piano Duo’s performance for Oliver began with Mozart’s Overture to the Magic Flute which set the stage for the musical magic in store for the evening. A work by Brahms followed with its smooth flowing andante and playful vicace and con moto variations. The Bergmanns demonstrated the amazingly full, almost orchestral sound, which can be achieved with two pianos.
Marcel Bergmann’s own arrangement of West Side Story completed the first half of the concert. It was a lively romp through Bernstein’s most popular work and at times held the sensitivity of a love duet, and at others, the raw passion of a duel.
The second half of the program opened with Brubeck’s Blue Rondo à la Turk which not only showed the Bergmanns’ talent for having fun on stage, but the back and forth of the music created an almost stereo sound effect. Having set the tone, their eclectic program included compositions by the famed contemporary tango nuevo voice of Astor Piazzolla, renowned jazz pianist Chick Corea, and Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti.
It’s an impressive and all too rare treat to hear two such fine musicians playing on two grand pianos on the concert stage. Thanks not only to the Bergmanns for a fabulous concert but also to the generous loan of the pianos by Vancouver’s Showcase Pianos and to Salmon Transfer who for decades have generously been the piano moving specialists for symphony, small concert halls and festivals throughout the province.
The Bergmann Piano Duo’s spirited and invigorating concert earned bravos and a standing ovation. They rewarded the audience with an energetic four-hand encore by Brahms. If you missed them last night in Oliver you can still catch them Saturday night in Penticton.
Next up for the Concert Society is a group the National Post called “the most exciting small choir in the land.” Musica Intima vocal ensemble will perform in Oliver on Friday November 22nd. Series tickets are still available and single tickets can be purchased at the door. Don’t miss it!
for Thea Haubrich:
Sunday, December 1, 2013
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM (PST)
Shatford Centre – Okanagan School of the Arts
760 Main Street, Penticton, BC V2A 5E3 CANADA
On Sunday December 1st, friends family and fans can celebrate the life of encaustic artist, Thea Haubrich, at the Shatford Centre – Okanagan School of the Arts in Penticton.
Thea passed away on September 25th after a long courageous battle following a stroke. There will be an opportunity to say a few words and Thea’s artwork will be on display.
The doors will be open at 1:30 in the afternoon. There is ample parking at the backside of the building at the Pen-High parking lot.
We are planning to create a fund in Thea’s name to support Encaustic Art in the Okanagan and BC. Details will be announced at the event.
Please RSVP so organizers have an idea of the numbers coming for set up and refreshments. RSVP here: theahaubrich.eventbrite.com
Portrait by Bill Hibbard
Medici’s is back on November 16th with a great fall concert that highlights some of the finest musicians that you can find in the valley. Four great acts in one great night. From the Press to the pulpit! From the Winery to the brewery! Marie-Eve & Sid Ruhland (The Intents), the steel string acoustic guitar work of Jeremy Cook, the versatile and highly talented cover-man, Brian Highley and that very hard working valley band,The Gala Vanters.
You’ll get some folk sounds, great vocal renditions, beautiful guitar work and The Intents cover everything else from French Canadian folk, 90′s punk rock, classic folk rock to ska and reggae.
This is The South Okanagan Music Revue. The talent of th valley! You’ll get tunes to move ya, groove ya’ and soothe ya’ Saturday, November 16th at Medici’s, 522 Fairview Road in Oliver. Doors open at 6:30 and the music is on stage at 7:30. Tickets $20. Limited seating! Get them now Medici’s 250-498-2228
Sam Spade. Philip Marlowe. Mike Hammer. Joe Friday. Humphrey Bogart. Dick Tracy….. and then there’s … Justin Thyme. Hard-boiled. Rugged. Scotch-soaked baritone voice. Chick magnet. And a private eye to boot. Make that a fictional detective. You know, the go-to guy when you’ve got a “classic” case of murder.
The SOAP Players present Twisted Tales, two Justin Thyme mysteries by Bruce Kane : “The Case of the Tale Told by an Idiot” and “The Big Snooze”. Whether he’s interviewing the red-hot Red Riding Hood, or hot on the trail of vampish Rapunzel or voluptuous Lady Macbeth, Justin Thyme is in an armful of trouble.
Good thing he has his dependable secretary Effie by his side. She may be underdeveloped on the typing skills, but she is overdeveloped in … other ways … that make the long hours in the gumshoe business worthwhile.
The production runs Friday October 25 and Saturday October 26 at the OSS Theatre, in Osoyoos. The following Friday November 1 and Saturday November 2 are at the Oliver Senior Centre on Airport Street. All performances 8 p.m.
Tickets available at Sundance Video (Oliver), Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos) and at the door. $18 Adults, $15 Seniors and students. Concession available at both venues courtesy of The Goat Ladies.
Photo credits: Penelope Johnson
1. Red Riding Hood (Robin Stille) spells trouble for Justin Thyme (Nathan Linders) in “The Big Snooze” by Bruce Kane.
2. Rapunzel (Carrie Lyle) may just let down her hair for the brawny detective, Justin Thyme.
3. Lady MacBeth (Christina Rothwell) lures the investigator into her Scottish castle. Is she willing to trade in MacBeth for a newer model?
4. Effie (Leslee Hatherly) backs up her boss on every case.