Sultans of String April 2 at the Venables

The Sultans of String, with all their incredible talent and explosiveness, are coming to our magnificent theatre on Sunday, April 2. This is a change from the original scheduled performance, because they’ve been asked to attend the Juno Awards!

(From their press release) “Canada’s genre bending string slingers SULTANS OF STRING garner a JUNO nomination for World Music Album of the Year at the celebratory JUNOs Press Conference for their feast of raucous reels ragas ‘n’ rumbas, Subcontinental Drift, featuring special guest/sitar master Anwar Khurshid (Oscar-winning Life of Pi).

“We are honoured to receive this JUNO nomination for our new album! We could not have made this recording without the support of the whole Canadian roots community, and our special collaboration with Anwar”, states bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. He adds, “there is something magical about joining world music rhythms that we often play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East.”

Yet Subcontinental Drift is more than a genre-hopping passport. It is a musical promise that embraces differences while finding common ground across culture, land, and time.

“Together we started writing songs about freedom and equality, and our hope of creating a better world. I feel in some way that these songs reflect our own personal hopes and journeys towards finding a world peace. This is a message that is needed more than ever at this time”.

The award nomination comes on the heels of the band’s whirlwind North American and UK Subcontinental Drifttours, including a special appearance organized by the High Commission at London’s Trafalgar Square. Distributed by Fontana North in Canada, the album hit #1 in Canada on Earshot’s international charts, top 10 on the American CMJ charts and top 15 on Billboard’s World Music charts in the U.S. It also got picked up for distribution in the U.S. by CEN/SONY and by Proper in Europe.

Sultans of String are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band, criss-crossing North America and performing at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, legendary jazz club Birdland in NYC, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. Sultans of String were recently filmed by MPBN’s Maine Arts! in a feature concert, and performed live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, World Cafe, and on SiriusXM in Washington. The band has been on the road non-stop, and will make their debut in The Netherlands and mainland Europe this summer. 

They are currently recording a festive world-music-inspired Christmas Caravan CD featuring Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Bruce Cockburn, Alanis Morissette, Emmylou Harris) and 5x Platinum selling Nikki Yanofsky, The Chieftains’ very own Paddy Moloney, JUNO winner Alex Cuba, Cameroon’s Richard Bona, Panamanian 7x Grammy/5x Latin Grammy winning Ruben Blades, and more.

Tickets are $40. Seating is assigned. This will be one of the most incredible music experiences of your life. You can afford the ticket and you cannot afford to miss this. Tickets are available on line at VenablesTheatre.ca, at the Frank Venables Theatre box office or at Medici’s at 522 Fairview Road in Oliver…250-498-2228

https://youtu.be/y8mKJL4SvpQ

https://youtu.be/OnMtwY93UjY…

https://youtu.be/wSgbRZVDa30

https://youtu.be/6tUM9ifOaQw

Colourful Concert February 24

When I first started reading the reviews for Duo Concertante, Canada’s premiere violin and piano ensemble, I wondered what I could be getting in for. “Vigorous, passionate, red-blooded” said one. “Ethereal textures, colorful sonorities” and “suspended between poetry and romance” said another. “Grace and fire…fury and repose” said another. Then a conclusion, “Two packages of musical dynamite that would credit any stage in any city in any continent on the planet!”

Wow!   Nancy Dahn, violin, and Timothy Steeves, piano, are coming to OUR stage at the Venables Theatre, Oliver, on Friday, February 24th . Performance starts at 7:30 pm and tickets for $22.50 are available on line at www.venablestheatre.ca, at the Venables box office open 10 to 3 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday or at the door.

Dahn and Steeves are partners in life as well as in music and their powerful musical instincts and flawless technique have been recognized throughout North America, Europe, and Asia where they maintain a busy touring schedule. Their tight quality of ensemble playing speaks to years of successful collaboration where the fluidity of the piano intertwines intimately with the poignancy of the violin. The inscription over Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” sonata reads, “in stilo molto concertante” with the implication that the performers are two equal and dynamic voices. This notion defines Duo Concertante’s artistic relationship.   The “Kreutzer” sonata was the first piece the duo played when, in 1997, they burst into the performance world.

Both Dahn and Steeves are based at Memorial University in St. John’s where they are energetic, experienced teachers who have given hundred of master classes and workshops throughout the world. Their commitment to working with young musicians gave rise to the annual Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, which they founded in 2000 to bring together young chamber music performers with world-class artists and ensembles for an intensive two weeks of learning and performance.

The couple have seven acclaimed CDs including Beethovens Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano, which received rave reviews from the international press and their recording of R. Murray Schafer’s Duo for Violin and Piano which won the 2011 Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year.

Tickets are on sale now for this concert which will close another very satisfying South Okanagan Concert Society season of music. Those requiring bus transportation from Osoyoos can call Maureen at 250 495 7978 to make arrangements.

 

Casting Call for next SOAP production

SOAP is looking for actors to perform in their Spring 2017 production of Since You Left Us, a comedy by Vancouver based Playwright Susinn McFarlen. Auditions will be held as follows:

  • Quails Nest Arts Centre;  5840 Airport Street; Oliver
  • Thursday February 9, 2017 from 6 pm to 8 pm; and
  • Friday February 10, 2017 from 6 pm to 8 pm

Since You Left Us calls for six cast members – three men and three women:

  • Fanny (F) – The sister who arrives at Denny’s in search of her son. She is uptight, nervous, and anxious.
  • Denny (F) – The dog-obsessed sister, Denny is the crazy glue that keeps the laughs coming.
  • Mike (M) – Denny and Fanny’s fireman brother, who, along with his friend Chuck, is always enjoying yet another beer.
  • Dolly (F) – Mother of Fanny, Denny and Mike — one sexy 70-year-old in a plunging leopard-skin patterned blouse, cinch belt, tight pants and spike heels.
  • Chuck (M) – Dolly’s much younger, alcoholic boyfriend.
  • Danno (M) – Fanny’s missing son, late teens.

People with all levels of acting experience (or lack of experience) are welcome to attend. Even if you are not sure of wanting a part, grab a friend and come out for an evening of laughs, reading parts from this great script.

​RUN DATES: April 28 – May 6, 2017
Also planned to be part of the Okanagan Zone ​Theatre Festival in late May 2017 in Salmon Arm

Synopsis
There’s dysfunctional and there’s really, really dysfunctional. The family in Since You Left Us is one of the latter: shot through with alcoholism, bad parenting, sibling rivalry and unhealthy co-dependency (with a Jack Russell terrier named … Jack).

Since You Left Us is laugh-out-loud funny until the end when something is revealed that suddenly makes the play profoundly poignant.

The dog-obsessed Denny is the crazy glue that keeps the laughs coming in this production. Mouth-to-mouth on a mutt? Diapers on a dog? Cooing and baby-talking to Jack Denny is hysterically funny but can turn an evil eye on her mother, brother and sister that stops them dead in their tracks. Denny is a ‘don’t mess with me’ sort of gal – and who would mess with her? She’s big and tough and strong.

But the story is really Fanny’s, the sister who arrives at Denny’s in search of her AWOL son, Danno. Fanny can be uptight, nervous, and anxious but she is able to loosen up and, in doing so, is pulled back into this flawed family that is, nevertheless, a family.

It’s Dolly’s 70th birthday but she’s one sexy septuagenarian in a plunging leopard-skin patterned blouse, cinch belt, tight pants and spike heels. She’s got herself a much younger boyfriend – married, alcoholic Chuck, with whom she’s about to move in.

Mike is Denny and Fanny’s fireman brother who, along with his friend Chuck, is always enjoying yet another beer with the toast, “first one of the day”. These people, with the exception of reformed alcoholic Fanny, really drink.

There’s a lot of fighting, bitching, arguing and yelling so if your own family dynamic finds itself in the same position, Since You Left Us might not be for you. On the other hand it will make your family appear positively happy. It’s funny, the dialogue crackles with wit, these are people you might know (and love).

More information at www.soplayers.ca/since-you-left-us.html

Jewel of a piano in Venables Theatre lobby

The Frank Venables Theatre lobby now provides the shimmering setting for a jewel of a piano: a Petrof grand. The glossy black instrument has been donated to the Venables theatre society as a memorial to piano teacher, Agnes Sutherland, who passed away in March 2016. A “baby sister” to the Yamaha used onstage at the Venables, the Petrof will provide entertainment at small recitals, receptions, weddings, exhibits and gala events in the theatre lobby. The fundraising campaign achieved its goal in a matter of months, raising $10,000 for this “lovingly used” instrument.  Giving added meaning to the memorial, the piano was purchased from Jeanne Crawford, whose daughter had been a piano student of Sutherland’s many years ago. The family had kept the piano in pristine condition.

As proven at a donor reception on Saturday January 28, the piano holds its own in the large lobby. Despite a lofty two-storey ceiling, the instrument’s smooth tones easily filled the space. The reception featured several pianists, chosen for their musical variety. Fourteen-year old Chase Alaric amazed the donors with his boogie-woogie blues workout. Jim Wyse tickled the keys with some jazz arrangements, with loudest applause for Oscar Peterson’s moving Hymn to Freedom. Piano students Kendra and Mataya Leinor and Kelan Harty (above) added sophistication with some classical pieces. One of Sutherland’s former pupils, Lisa Elgert, performed Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago. In a fitting tribute, Ginette Aubin (below) lent her powerful pipes to a performance of I Believe, accompanying herself on the piano.

Interspersing the musical numbers were several reflections on Agnes’ contributions to the Oliver community. Several members of Agnes’ family were on hand to reminisce, including speeches by her brother Dave Evans and daughter Sally Franks. Penelope Johnson of the Oliver Community Arts Council, announced the society had made an additional $5000 in memorial donations to local schools for capital expenditures in both music and fine arts departments. She also recalled Agnes’ connection to the original Venables Theatre, as an accompanist for many SOAP musicals and student recitals.  Venables Theatre manager, Deb Martin, expressed her amazement and gratitude for the outpouring of support for the memorial piano.

A total of $10,000 was raised with the support of many organizations, including those of which Agnes was a member (the Oliver Sagebrushers and the Oliver Community Arts Council), as well as the South Okanagan Concert Society, Women of Oliver for Women, and the Oliver Community Theatre Society. Roughly sixty individuals also donated generously to the memorial fund. In addition, several of Agnes’ paintings were sold to raise money for the piano. The memorial campaign was co-chaired by Marion Trimble and Sally Franks.

The funds required to pay for a brass plaque will be raised with a raffle. Prizes are three paintings by professional artist Robert E. Wood, of Calgary. Prize winners will be announced on May 11 during the Wine Capital Art Walk. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the Venables Theatre.

Photo credit: Penelope Johnson

Concert enthralls with Brubeck tribute

by Anneke Le Roux
How lucky can our little town of Oliver be!?  We have a phenomenal theatre that brings incredible acts like the Montreal-based Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble performance hosted by the South Okanagan Concert Society January 27th.   I could not believe my good fortune and did not stop smiling.  The Dave Brubeck Tribute concert was World Class!

The set-up was plain and simple, no gimmicks or distractions, just pure, enthralling, mind-blowing craftsmanship. Rémi Bolduc brought together musicians that not only understand their instruments and the music of Brubeck, but that lose themselves in the dynamics of ‘telling the story’ to the audience. It is the dynamics that pull you in and make you part of this world that is pure with utter brilliance. We all know jazz is not every one’s cup of tea, but when presented to you in this way, one can not help but stand in awe. And they do this without a single piece of sheet music!

Rémi plays a 60 year old Selmer alto saxophone (the very first one he bought for himself in the 80’s) with a tone quality of velvet. His understanding and portrayal of Brubeck’s music is the exact balance of beautiful tonal themes and lightning fast arpeggios and scale dissections  that leave one astounded when he lets loose. But he does not leave you behind. The audience could not agree more when the intro started to ‘Take Five’. That can only be done with years of impressive experience.
I was a bit worried or disappointed at first when the pianist sat with his back to us because it was not just any pianist, it was François Bourassa, and I wanted to see him interact with the other musicians.  He did this but now I did not see his face, but his hands. Oh those hands…! And his feet – which had a whole conversation all on their own. He made the piano sing with the lightest touch and a more controversial contemporary approach when he started “Bluette” on the piano’s anatomy (the insides of the piano). He plucked and played together, which caused great delight in the audience.

The double bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer David Laing’s solid performances were ever impressive and not to be underestimated. They made the transitions between aTempo and double time seem effortless, and they are the reason for every foot that tapped along.

Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble is beyond fantastic! They are so aware of each other and what will happen next, they know the best ways to bring enhancement so the music stands out. What a privilege to see these professional musicians in action. They promised to return to the Okanagan, but if there’s a chance that they are near you, go! Their traveling schedule is available at www.stationbleue.com.

On this note, I have to say that so often the sound engineer is left behind. But Dave Mai (sound and lights) has done the outstanding by knowing the acoustics of the theatre so well and giving each individual instrumentalist the best balance, in order to give us the best performance. Thank you.

Frank Venables Theatre gives us another reason to be proud, and that is to anyone with an Orace Hearing System. On the 12th and 24th February, there will be two separate performances. 150 MOVES, Ballet Kelowna’s Celebration of Canadian Dance and DUO CONCERTANTE, and both performances’ sound will be paired with the Orace System. In other words, the music will be played directly in your ears!

DUO CONCERTANTE will be the next SOCS concert on 24 February at 7:30 at the Venables Theatre. Canadian partners in life and music, Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves perform on Violin and Piano. They have been praised by critics for over fifteen years for their ‘artistry, poetry and impeccable technique’. Tickets will be on sale at the theatre during new office hours. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10:00 – 3:00. Make sure you don’t miss any of the shows!

Grandmothers for Africa Bridge Event February 16th

Thursday, February 16th, is the date to mark on your calendar for the annual Grandmothers for Africa BRIDGE EVENT from 10 to 2:30 at Fairview Mountain Golf Club.   Preregistration by Feb. 14th is necessary so email bridgesocialnews @ gmail.com or call Leslie at 250 498 2282. For only $20 you get the entire bridge social including lunch and you also are contributing to the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work with unsung heroines, African grandmothers.

Recent global events have had women all over the world marching for social justice. The recognition that we are all connected as human beings is front and center.   That is why women in Oliver have gathered to support the empowerment of grandmothers in Africa.   The depth of love, tenacity, intelligence and hope at community level in Africa is absolutely compelling. Most African grandmothers live in under-resourced communities and face the brunt of the effect of HIV/AIDS and poverty as they bear the load of caring for families, financially, emotionally and physically.   With their strong sense of responsibility they quite literally make the impossible happen. They are the greatest hope for kids growing up orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.

Grassroots support groups, funded and encouraged by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, carry particular meaning for African grandmothers.   They are greeted with love, warmth and open arms and they find in their groups a place to share their life experiences and to learn new coping strategies.

When you come to play bridge on February 16th, you will have the opportunity to see and buy goods made by both African and Canadian grandmothers.   It is a day to come together, have fun and support other women carrying burdens greater than our own.   Don’t forget the preregistation deadline of February 14th!

Photo: Shirley Polk, President of Oliver Grandmothers for Africa and African Grandmother, Mariam Mulindwa

Friday Night Live at Medici’s

The Season IV Kick-Off of the great Friday Night Live was incredible. We had so many great artists and bands that the amazing Marcel could barely hang on to them all. New bands, new performers, even a sneaky karaoke performance. Episode II (I’m pretending we’re an HBO series now) promises to be even bigger and better…how could that be? 

We always have some familiar stars and new bright lights to amaze and hypnotize you. Sound master Stephane made everyone sound soooo good. His sweet Corrie is back from Mexico, so maybe!!! (Floyd the dog only nibbled on his guitar).

FNL stars from all over are making the pilgrimage home. Lean and Rod are holding court on their big table. Lean is threatening to return to the stage: yeah!! So is Rod: Booo!

Marcel is on fire and his beautiful daughter Jazz has begun what promises to be a remarkable singing journey.

Come kick the doors down with your own vibe. We are gonna be packed comme toujours.. The music is gonna blow the doors off. The beer is cold and the music IS of course always sooooo HOT! We crank it up shortly after 7:00, all we need is you! Bring your music!! Bring your fun!! Get in here!!

We are licensed. We have beer, wine, coffees with a kick and our usual great gelato and snacks, sweet treats. Medici’s this Friday, Feb 3rd at 7:00 PM. 522 Fairview Road. 250-498-2228.

Don’t Dress For Dinner in Oliver

Don’t Dress for Dinner opened this past weekend to enthusiastic Osoyoos crowds. Attendance both evenings was among the highest for any SOAP production at the OSS Theatre. The cast and crew look forward re-tuning for the larger stage at the Frank Venables Theatre and welcoming crowds from Oliver to Penticton this Friday and Saturday, February 3-4, at 7:30 both evenings. Of course, we also expect a sizeable Osoyoos contingent who heard about this great show from their friends that attended this past weekend!

 

Don’t Dress for Dinner is Mr. Camoletti’s “saucy” sequel to last fall’s bedroom romp, and will be staged by SOAP Theatre Society at the OSS Theatre in Osoyoos on January 27-28 before moving to the Frank Venables theatre in Oliver on February 3-4. Curtain time for all shows is 7:30 pm.

Several years have passed since Bernard (Trevor Leigh) married his “favourite” fiancee, Jaqueline (Jackie Brockholm) and moved to a converted farmhouse outside Paris. With Jacqueline off to visit her mother, Bernard is salivating over the idea of a weekend romp with his mistress, Suzanne (Louise Szalay). It’s foolproof; what could possibly go wrong?

Well, Bernard’s old pal Robert (Craig Bjornsen) is also invited to supply an alibi. But unbeknownst to Bernard, Robert is having an affair with Jacqueline, who swiftly cancels on mother when she gets wind of her paramour’s arrival.

The prime source of the play’s accelerating confusion is Suzette (Angela Stuart), a Cordon Bleu chef hired by Bernard for the evening. Given Suzanne and Suzette’s similar names, Robert initially assumes Suzette is Bernard’s mistress and passes her off as his date to cover for his friend. By the time he wises up, it’s too late to correct the mistake without exposing either his own hanky-panky or his buddy’s.

Unfazed by the eccentricities of her clients, Suzette is happy to play along and pose as Robert’s girlfriend, niece or whatever, extorting additional payments from both men for each fresh layer of deception, including having to pretend to be the mistress while the mistress is unable to cook.

​An evening of hilarious confusion ensues as Bernard and Robert improvise at breakneck speed, to be interrupted only by arrival of a gruff and suspicious George (Bryan Sykes), to pick up his wife, Suzette at the end of her evening catering engagement.

Nathan Linders is back to direct his third performance for SOAP. “I have been most fortunate to work with this great cast … a lively mix of seasoned professional and amateur actors (Mr. Leigh, Mr. Bjornsen), recent SOAP additions (Ms Brockholm , Ms Szalay) and newcomers (Ms Stuart , Mr. Sykes).”

 Frank Venables Theatre uses assigned seating, so get your tickets early for best selection and to save money on at-the-door prices. They can be purchased at:

Sundance Video in Oliver (cash only please)·        

On-line ticket office (www.venablestheatre.ca … Visa/MasterCard… 24 hours/day)

Venables Box Office in person (6100 Gala Street Oliver … Tue-Wed-Thu 10:00 to 3:00…cash, credit, debit)

Buy by phone (250-498-1626 … Tue-Wed-Thu 10:00 to 3:00…Visa, MasterCard)

If you miss our office hours, you can email with your phone number and they’ll call you back.

Advance tickets through all outlets are $22.50 for adults and $15.00 for students (includes all fees).Adult prices at the door increase to $25.00 

With your advance, assigned seat ticket in hand, enjoy an offering from our licensed concession before the show. The theatre lobby opens at 6:30 pm on show nights.

 

Friday Night Live is Live January 20!

The Season IV Kick-Off of the great Friday Night Live at Medici’s is gonna bust out this Friday, January 20th. with a killer night of live music featuring a brand new band, Lulu and The Lazy Boys, out of Keremeos. 

Stef and Dan Laramie have put this great new band together and we are gonna give them their 3 song shot in the line-up and then have them back to close. Acoustic Noire is coming back from Summerland. We hear our wonderful friend Stephane is back from Mexico (apparently Floyd, the dog, was threatening to eat his new guitar if left by himself any longer). 


Many of our great FNL stars are jetting in from all over but, But, BUT, the true icing on the cake: our beloved host, leader and musical guru, Marcel Morneau is returning. We thought he had joined up,been captured by or ransomed to some international conflict…..But no! He’s been on retreat for several months to find his inner self only to realize there wasn’t one…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnddddd….He’s BACK!!! 


Come kick the doors down with your own vibe. We are gonna be packed. The music is gonna blow the doors off. The beer is cold and the music IS of course always sooooo HOT! We crank it up shortly after 7:00, all we need is you! Bring your music!! Bring your fun!! Get in here!!


We are licensed. We have beer, wine, coffees with a kick and our usual great gelato and snacks, sweet treats. Medici’s this Friday January 20th at 7:00 PM. 522 Fairview Road. 250-498-2228.

WOW Trade Show February 18

shopping-coupleThe Trade Show began in 1993 as a fundraiser for Soroptimists International of Oliver. When that group disbanded in 2003, the Trade Show continued through the work of the WOW Club.

The Trade show title “Mainly for Women” reflects our mission statement, with the funds raised going to support our projects which focus mainly on women and children within our community.

Trade show displays feature everything from beautifully handcrafted jewelry to pottery, wood crafts, fibre art, health products and services, real estate and investments, home improvement, fashion, food, and many more themes.

The ‘Mainly for Women’ Trade Show occurs every February, on the third Saturday of that month.  Forty to sixty individual vendors showcase their wares in the Oliver Community Centre, where there is free parking for patrons.  A lunch and snack area is available.

If you would like to be part of the next Trade Show, please download

WOW Trade Show Entry Form 2017

WOW Trade Show Info Sheet 2017

Women's Oliver Trade Show Poster

Christmas Concert donates food, cash

The arts council hosted the annual Community Christmas Concert (held on November 27) as admission by donation with proceeds going to the Oliver Food Bank. Entertained by dancers, choirs, soloists, and humorous narration, the audience once again opened their hearts and pocketbooks to people in need. Proceeds of $500 and bags of groceries were presented to the food bank. Pictured are Brian Mapplebeck (right) presenting Jim Ouellette of the Oliver Food Bank with monies and food collected. Thank you to our audience for their generosity! The arts council board is already brainstorming ideas for next year’s revue!CCC Donation to OFB 2016

 

“A Tribute to Dave Brubeck” January 27

IMG_9657hWhen the Remi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble performs “A Tribute to Dave Brubeck” words like “dazzling virtuosity and stunning maturity” come to mind. Bolduc, one of Canada’s best jazz saxophonists will be on stage at the beautiful Venables Theatre, Oliver, at 7:30 on Friday, January 27 as the third concert in the South Okanagan Concert Society’s 2016-17 season.

Remi Bolduc brings with him guest artist Montreal jazz pianist, Francois Bourassa, as well as Fraser Hollins on double bass and Dave Laing on drums. Together they will be performing the music of Dave Brubeck who in 1950 to 1960 reigned with his celebrated band as the most influential and popular American jazz ensemble. Brubeck created the album Time Out, one of the most famous and best-selling albums in the history of jazz to this day. Take Five, Blue Rondo a la Turk and several other compositions from the album are on the program.

Remi plays sax with intensity and control, breathtaking precision and a magnetic stage presence. He is acclaimed at venues from New York to Paris by way of Geneva, Tokyo and Beijing. With his band he composes and plays numbers that “convey his formidable energy and spontaneity, allowing his organic sound to breathe freely.”

Teacher and head of the McGill University jazz department, Remi has won awards for the best jazz album of 2011 and the Opus prize for Jazz Concert of the Year in 2013.

On his latest album recorded in collaboration with Francois Bourassa and released to much acclaim, the joy these two musicians share in playing together is palpable.

Pianist and composer, Francois Bourassa, is the son of Robert Bourassa, Premier of Quebec from 1970–1976 and 1985–1994. Francois, as a side project, has recently finished his first concerto for orchestra and percussion while maintaining an international concert tour on three continents with his jazz quartet.

Fraser Hollins, Remi’s man on double bass, studied music at Ottawa University and later in Montreal at Concordia.   He regularly plays with groups of national and international artists.   He lives in Montreal and teaches at McGill.

David Laing, on drums, grew up in a musical family, studied at McGill and began his professional career shortly after. In the past fifteen years he has recorded, toured, and performed with national and international stars. He currently resides in Montreal where he also teaches at McGill.

Those requiring bus transportation from Osoyoos can call Maureen at 250 495 7978 to make arrangements.

Assigned seating tickets for the event on January 27th can be obtained online at www.venablestheatre.ca, at the theatre box office now open from Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or at the Door. Single entrance is $22.50 and students under 17 are free.

 

Remi Bolduc SOCS

Review: Saratovsky Brothers at the Venables

by Jan Nelson

In anticipation of Sergei and Nikolai Saratovsky’s piano duo concert in December, I was brought back to my own childhood piano concerts. Under the tutelage of Agnes Sutherland, I spent many years sharing the piano bench with friend and classmate Eryn Moore. Aggie repeatedly stressed how the success of a piano duet was reliant upon an implicit trust between the two performers, and how their unspoken communication and ability to share the joy of making music together was key to a good performance. Nikolai and Sergei have managed to put aside any sibling rivalries and have perfected this combination; a blind trust in the other’s ability to perform, a deep respect of the other’s skills, and a true sense of joy in sharing the stage together.

The Saratovsky brothers, originally hailing from Russia, are masters of their trade. Both display world-class technical skills, a deep sense of expression, a true understanding of the pieces they perform, and a great sense of humour to boot. Sergei, the more vocal and physically expressive of the duo (he definitely lets the audience know when a piece is finished!), guided the audience through a programme featuring some of the best piano duets written. From Mozart to Brahms to Gershwin, their performance tested the limits of the genre and shared with the audience the awesome advantage of having twice as many hands at the keyboard. Sergei enjoys a successful and award-filled career in Canada as a classical performer, having received a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of British Columbia where he studied with Canadian great Jane Coop.

I remember Coop’s performance in Oliver at a SOCS concert in the 1980s, before which she was kind enough to share a meal at my family’s dinner table. We had a few albums of her recordings to which we frequently listened, and as a budding performer myself, I noticed we had one piece of music in common. During her stay, I snuck off to the piano and played the piece in hopes of her noticing my hidden musical brilliance, but I failed to receive the fanfare my 12 or 13 year old brain expected. To be honest, she probably did not even notice my performance as she had a concert of her own to prepare for that evening, but now I was just as happy to have this connection with Sergei even before meeting him. But I digress…

Nikolai is the steady base of the duo, creating an amazing and expressive base for Sergei’s more dramatic performance. As they played, my mind wandered wondering how they managed to divide the tasks of their performance; Sergei dominated the microphone and played the more flowery treble while Nikolai was alloted the role of ‘support’ playing bass. How sibling dynamics must make this simple decision so much more difficult! To our surprise, after the intermission Nikolai appeared alone at the microphone only to apologize for his brother’s mindlessness in forgetting the sheet music for the next piece, offering a jab that only an older brother can. Nikolai then sat down in the treble position and showed us all how fantastic and expressive he could be.

There were some pieces in particular that stood out; their encore of Brahms’ No. 4 for four hands, the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, the Fantasy in F Minor for Piano Four Hands by Schubert, and the Rhapsody in Blue for four hands was brilliant. But more than the awesome spectacle of witnessing these two world-class performers share their gift with the audience on our humble stage was the honour I felt in watching them perform in Oliver.  Having lived in many places around the world, some more ‘cosmopolitan’ than our small town, I am still in awe at the dedication the South Okanagan Concert Society has shown over many decades bringing some of the world’s most gifted performers to the Venables Auditorium. From the first concerts I experienced as a restless elementary school student, to the unforgettable performers I now have the pleasure of enjoying as a parent myself, we are so lucky to have this dedicated group of volunteers who work tirelessly to bring a little more joy to our small community.

The next SOCS presentation is the Remi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble, performing a tribute to jazz great Dave Brubeck. As an ex-saxophonist myself, I am looking forward to enjoying an evening with one of Canada’s best jazz sax performers on Friday, January 27th at the Frank Venables Theatre. The concert starts at 7:30pm, and tickets are available online (www.venablestheatre.ca) and at the Venables Theatre box office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10am to 3pm.

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