Four hands, two heads, all heart

Young, spirited and beautiful, pianists Amelie Fortin and Marie-Christine Poirier, have distinguished themselves with fiery four-hand interpretations, remarkable for their vitality and wit.  Referring to what is happening with their quite spectacular career success under the name Duo Fortin-Poirier, they like to joke that if  ten fingers are good then twenty fingers are better.

When they arrive on stage at Venables Theatre at 7:30 pm Friday, February 15th, be prepared to see one grand piano on stage with two pianist and four hands showing off the close affinity between their playing styles and a keen shared sensitivity fueling their ensemble playing.

Of special note, is a new presentation device where a camera captures the pianists fingers on the keyboard and projects it onto a screen at the back of the stage.  No matter where you sit in the audience you can see every nuance on the keyboard and marvel at the speed and dexterity with which all 20 fingers create a blend of hard driving rhythm that has made waves in performance in Quebec and Canada and, more recently, internationally.

The program, entitled “Memoires”  includes piano duo selections from Grieg, Dvorak, Piazzolla, Rachmaninoff and others.

Tickets are on sale at or at the box office Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 to 3 pm.  Thanks to our very generous sponsors, tickets are affordable.  Two or more tickets in advance cost $21/ticket.  A single ticket in advance is $23.  Single tickets at the door are $25.  Children and youth are $2.50.

Amelie and Marie-Christine are also doing a Master Class at the Shatford Centre in Penticton and will have three local duos performing for instruction from 10 am to 12:30 on concert day.  The Master Class is open to the public for auditing.   Also, if you arrive at 6:15 at Venables these local duos will be entertaining on the grand piano in the theatre foyer prior to the concert.

Since their inception in 2005, Duo Fortin-Poirier have garnered many distinctions.  (1st prize in the Canadian Music Competition;  2nd prize at the 2013 Concorso Pianistico Internazional Roma;  finalist in 2011 Liszt 200 Chicago International Duo Piano Competition and many more).   Recently the Duo have toured the Maritimes, enjoyed a Prairie debut and toured the western USA.

Do come and enjoy the beautiful new Venables Theatre complete with a fine grand piano and acoustics to warm the soul.

“First Friday” artwork at gallery

First Friday at the Okanagan Art Gallery
by Michele Weisz, Osoyoos Times

The Okanagan Art Gallery is tucked away at the end of Main Street and one might walk right by without ever knowing that behind the non-descript storefront lies what gallery advertising director Diane Carter calls “a hidden gem” in Osoyoos.

However, the gallery’s First Friday receptions will give patrons a chance to see what the space is all about.

The gallery originated in Oliver with six painters and one photographer who wanted a permanent space to exhibit their work. It was moved to Osoyoos four years ago and now includes over 25 artists. The gallery has no owner and is run by an executive committee.

The turnover for new artists is slow because space is limited and the artists seldom leave. It’s a rare occurrence when a spot opens up for a new artist and in order to be featured at the gallery, an artist must be invited and voted in by the committee.

The space that houses the gallery used to be an office before it was renovated to showcase the art. Each artist’s work encompasses a wall within one of the many rooms. The rooms are small but bright and inviting and colourful artwork is all around. The mediums employed by the artists vary from photography to oil to acrylic and even fiber pieces. The style of the pieces are eclectic and range from impressionism to mid-century modern.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the gallery are the portraits of each artist. Unlike most galleries which have a small photographic head-shot located below their work, the artists at the Okanagan Art Gallery have each painted their own self-portraits on small canvases which hang beside their work. The artist’s style and personality are expressed in the way that they have chosen to portray themselves and the self-portraits are art themselves.

Gallery advertising director Diane Carter stands in front of one artist’s work at the Okanagan Art Gallery. The gallery is having its second First Friday Reception on Feb. 1. The reception is a chance for the community to meet the artists whose work is exhibited in the gallery, while the artists get the opportunity to answer questions and explain the concept behind their work. (Michele Weisz photo)

Carter said that a lot of people are unaware about the gallery’s existence while others are too intimidated to step inside. She said that throughout the years she has seen many people who look through the glass without entering and decline the invitation to come in, saying that they do not know anything about art.

Artist Wendy Wells Bailey blamed what she calls “snobby” gallery workers for creating “an air that is not encouraging” and perpetuating the myth that only experts can appreciate art.

Carter said the only thing one is required to know about art is whether they “feel an inner connection” with a piece and knowing what they like is “everything there is to know about art.”

In order to bring awareness to the community about the gallery and its artists, and to discredit myths around art, the First Friday receptions event was started. Carter said she and the artists were thrilled at the amazing turnout in November and they hope to replicate the success in February.

“We have some of the best artists in Canada,” she said, and she hopes that people will come meet the talented, professional artists and ask them about their work.

“People always want to know what’s behind the ideas of the artist,” Carter said, and this is their opportunity to find out.

It is also an opportunity for the artists to interact with the community. Bailey said that she loves talking to people about her work. She said that there is a story behind every painting she creates and “understanding the story has more meaning for the painting.”

The Okanagan Art Gallery show Wonderful Winter Paintings and Art begins Feb. 1 and the First Fridays reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. Wine will be provided by Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery and its proprietor Maria Ferreira will be on hand to answer questions.

Although the gallery is a business like any other, Carter said she and the artists would be delighted for people to come, whether they intend to make a purchase or not.

Quilts of Valour

The mission of QUILTS OF VALOUR – CANADA is to present quilts to ill or injured military members, past and present. At this time, Canada has over 45,000 injured veterans (average age 45). To date, Quilts of Valour – Canada has presented close to 12,000 quilts. The goal is 20,000 by 2020. To support this project, the DOUBLE O QUILTERS GUILD of Oliver will be holding a work bee to create several quilts. The event will take place on Wednesday, January 30 from 9:00 am until noon at the Oliver Community Centre. We will be creating blocks, assembling blocks into quilt tops and layering tops, batting and backing. The Guild has members that come from Penticton to Osoyoos. We are hopeful that these quilts will be given to ill or injured servicemen and women in the South Okanagan.
We would like to take this opportunity to invite the public and Service Organizations in the area to attend. You could view and visit OR you might want to help out. We look forward to seeing you there.

Joyful art at CreateAbility

CreateAbility is an arts council program that offers monthly art workshops  to adults with special needs. Each session has 4 – 5 volunteer instructors and 10 – 20 clients with their care givers.  Most are local, some from as far away as Penticton, some in sheltered housing, some employed in sheltered work environments, all enjoying some creative energy! Every workshop has 3 – 5 different art stations with various media available, to keep everyone’s interest high.

We are always on the lookout for a variety of art instructors. The cost of supplies is reimbursed and instructors receive an honorarium. Mentorship is available for all new instructors. Request a visit, a tour, or a discussion with a member of the CreateAbility committee who will provide helpful guidance. A criminal record check is required to work with vulnerable adults, but the arts council provides a link to the form and there is no cost.  Contact OliverCAC @ 

The program is very rewarding and beneficial to clients , aides and instructors alike.. Here are what some clients and care aides have to say:

” My residents love coming to the program when it is offered and happily give up other activities they love in order to attend the program. This says a lot about how much they enjoy this program.”

“I feel so empowered; I feel like I can do things, like this is one place where I can be independent. I surprise myself with what I can do on my own. I did not think I would be able to do this.”

“I am so impressed with the wonderful instructors in the CreateAbility program. They give their time and expertise so willingly to both care staff and participants. They make us feel like we all can be artists; like we all have hidden talents. I love the variety of art work they present each
time. There is not much talking – just doing which I like.”

“I love the people. They are so friendly and nice. They make me feel
good. I like the aft too. I like that I can choose where to go. If I want to spend more tirne on one station I can. If I want to come back and do more in one place and skip another I can.”

“Many of my clients are unable to express verbally how they think or how they feel. The art work gives them a canvas to show their emotions – joy, anger, sadness, wonder. Their art work shows me a different side of them. I can see and feel what they are thinking about through their art.”

“I love the colors. Pink is my favorite color and the teachers always have lots of pink. There are different things to try and have fun with but my most fun thing is to make cards which I can send to my boyfriend or family.”

“As a support worker I seldom have any personal time. I love the fact that when I attend the CreateAbility sessions even though I am working I feel like I am doing something good for myself. It feels like fun for me and I leave feeling happy and encouraged.”

CreateAbility art cards are available for sale at Maker Place, 101 6272 Station Street, Oliver, BC. Tues – Fri 10 – 5 and Saturday 12 – 5. They cost $5.00/single card or $15.00 for 4. Proceeds go towards purchasing art supplies to maintain this program.

Thank you to Munday Media and Design for their support of the Art Card project!

WOW! Trade show seeks vendors

Women of Oliver for Women host

Mainly for Women Trade Show

Saturday February 16

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Oliver Community Centre

Lunches, Refreshments, Door Prizes Book your Table ! – $50

Entry Deadline: February 6

Entry Forms: or below


The Trade Show began in 1993 as a fundraiser for Soroptimist 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 this Trade Show, please download the information package and the entry form.

WOW Trade Show INfo Sheet 2019

WOW Trade Show Entry Form 2019

The mic is yours at Medici’s

Friday Night Open Mic night is on Friday January 18 at Medici’s Gelateria and Coffeehouse. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.  522 Fairview Road  250-498-2228.  Bring your music, bring your songs and join us for a relaxing evening of music with friends. 


Plass Studio opens with dancing

Doulandie presents
Dancing for Birth
from preconception to postpartum!
Tuesdays: January 22 – February 26
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

a new community space for movement, education, art & expression
6570 Park Drive, Oliver
(upstairs from Park Drive Church)
$75 for 6 classes in a session, or $15 drop in
(604) 842-5050 or Email:  Doulandie

Visioning the new year

Maker Place hosts

2019 Vision Board Workshop

Set our intentions for the coming year

Jan 19 and Jan 23

7 – 10 p.m.

Maker Place

101 – 6272 Station Street, Oliver

Register and Info: (250) 498-6696  or Email:  Maker Place

Maker Place on FaceBook

Bring any mixed media, be it magazines, notes, photo’s to add to a board. A board can be cardboard, picture frame, corkboard or anything you want to create with. We will supply glue, scissors, modge podge, tea, coffee and a great table to work at. Last year we had a packed house full of laughter and sharing. We will kick off the night with smudging and a prayer to the goddess.

Start the dreaming of how you want your best year to be!

Laughter is the best therapy

Beyond Therapy
by Christopher Durang
Directed by Nathan Linders
February 1, 2, 8 and 9
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday February 3
Sunday matinee 2:00 p.m.
Venables Theatre, Oliver

Adults: $23 in advance; $25 day of the show
Students (with ID): $14 in advance; $15 day of the show



Things are getting a little crazy in Oliver. In an old highways shed on Airport Street that members of community theatre troupe, SOAP Theatre, affectionately refer to as “Big Blue”, the cast and crew of Beyond Therapy are working hard putting on the finishing touches for opening night on February 1. In rehearsal since late 2018, they are almost ready to present a bold and controversial story of a strange, double love triangle.

Beyond Therapy was written by Christopher Durang in the late seventies and remains one of Durang’s most frequently-produced plays to this day. It opened off-Broadway with big names like Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Collins. The success of the off-Broadway presentation led to a second run in the late spring of 1982, where David Hyde-Pierce made his stage debut.

The cast seem undaunted by the very big shoes they need to fill, and the air is alive with laughter and excitement on rehearsal nights as they are closing in on opening night. The story is set in 1977 New York, when therapist Charlotte Wallace (Diane Gludovatz) has encouraged her patient Bruce (Joel Browne,) despite being in a monogamous relationship, to place a personal ad which is answered by Prudence (Jenn MacNeil). Prudence is nonplussed by Bruce’s plan to keep his current lover, Bob (Craig Bjornson), in the garage while they marry and have children. The encounter is ill-fated and ends disastrously due to the couple’s incompatibility and Bruce’s rush to seek a premature commitment from the date he just met.

Bruce’s rush to commitment isn’t the only aspect of the story where we can apply the term ‘premature’. We soon learn of the dysfunctional relationship between Prudence and her therapist, Stewart (Trevor Leigh), whose shortcomings are exacerbated by his own insecurities and deep-seated jealousy of Prudence’s attention to Bruce.

With the table set, Bruce and Prudence meet again in a strange twist of fate. Their relationship warms, but what good can come of therapy when the therapists need more help than their patients? Can Bruce learn to find balance and reconcile his two lovers? Can Prudence learn to assert herself and escape the madness, or are they all Beyond Therapy?

Things come to a head in The Restaurant where the waiter Andrew (Tristan Duursma) never seems to show up.

Five performances are scheduled at Venables Theatre at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. Curtain time is 7:30 pm on February 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th, and a Sunday matinee will commence at 2 pm on February 3rd. Reserved tickets are available online at If you prefer to buy in person, the ticket office, located at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver, is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. You can also buy by phone at 250-498-1626 during the same office hours. Some tickets are also available at Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos. Purchase early for best selection and a discount from day-of-show prices.

Warning: Adult themes and strong language.

Zerbe is a “zaniac”

When was the last time you laughed as hard as your kids?

Alex Zerbe: The Professional Zaniac bounces on to the Venables Theatre stage Friday January 25th. A self-described “human cartoon,” his show isnʼt only for the young ones in the family.

See his many talents on display in this promo video:

With the energy of 1,000 suns, Alex moves like a rubber band from one end of the stage to the other. Beatboxing, juggling, dancing and magic!

The “Professional Zaniac” zigzags between physical stunts and non-stop comedy. During the show vegetables are sliced in half by flying playing cards, bowling balls are juggled with ease and every audience volunteer leaves the stage in triumph.

Zerbe is a Hacky Sack World Champion, was voted The Pacific Northwest’s Funniest Prop Comic and is a two-time Guinness World Record holder. Heʼs performed everywhere from cruise ships and comedy clubs to prime-time television in three countries, including “Americaʼs Got Talent!” and “Last Comic Standing”.

Alex Zerbe: The Professional Zaniac shares his wacky comedy Friday January 25th at 6:30. Series tickets are only $30 for the remaining three shows or individual show tickets can be purchased for $12.50. Tickets and more information can be found at

Robbie Burns celebrated at brewery

The Firehall Brewery honours Robbie Burns Day in fine, traditional style.

Robbie Burns Day

Friday January 25

Soup 4:30 p.m.

Haggis 5:30 p.m.

Firehall Brewery “Beer Shop & Social”

6077 Main Street, Downstairs (Alley Access), Oliver, BC

(778) 439-2337

Haggis, stew, kilts, poetry, perhaps some keg throwing. We will be having a night for the Scots and those who love them. Don’t miss the Address to the Haggis. We will have some amazing stew made by our Beer Department members of the month and there will be Scotch available for a wee dram. There is no charge for entry so come and enjoy the pipes and the great company.
NEW WINTER HOURS at the Firehall Brewery:

3 – 7 Tuesday – Thursday

2 – 9 Friday & Saturday

Closed Sunday & Monday

We will always stay open later if there are events happening.

Fox at the Firehall

The Fox Returns… Oliver BC was fortunate to have Lion Bear Fox come and play in March. We have lured Ryan McMahon, The Fox, back for another special show on Thursday January 24.

Advance ticket sales at the Firehall Brewery Beer Shop & Social, and limited in quantity at $20 per person. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. but the doors open at 6:30 p.m. for beer sipping and schmoozing!

Firehall Brewery (lower level) 6077 Main St. in Oliver. 778-439-2337.

Ryan McMahon is an incredibly talented vocalist, musician and entertainer. He fills not only the stage but the whole house wherever he plays. Lion Bear Fox is most likely the best band in BC. Ryan McMahon has and has had a huge impact on the band’s success.

Ryan has carved out a 17-year career as an independent artist in Canada’s vibrant music scene. A genre fence sitter, hanging out on the edges of country just enough to say he isn’t. He has toured Canada countless times, released four full-length albums. He has garnered 3 wins (Male Vocalist, Record & Artist of the Year) at the Vancouver Island Music Awards.

In April of 2014, Showtime’s original series, “Californication” featured the single “I’ll Be Damned”.

Canadian TV/Radio personality Terry David Mulligan summed up Ryan best: “The complete package. Singer. Songwriter. Performer. Troublemaker. Passionate human being. For me… priceless.”