Archives go green

Oliver, BC – A few building improvements at the Oliver Archives are helping the building to “go green.” Those projects are the installation of a number of solar panels on the Archives building roof and the replacement of the building’s furnace and air conditioner.

You may have noticed the solar last week as you drove along Fairview Road. The panels were installed February 1st by Argon Electrical and Solar Services, and they are going to do big things for the Oliver & District Heritage Society which operates the Archives.

“We are a non-profit society with a limited budget. This project will help us to reduce our energy costs over the next 25 years so that more of our resources can go towards serving the public,” said Julianna Weisgarber, Executive Director for the Heritage Society.

Following a similar move by the Oliver Food Bank, the Oliver & District Heritage Society decided to go solar in 2018 under the leadership of its Board of Directors headed by President Vance Potter and former Executive Director Manda Maggs. They had been approached by local solar advocates who evaluated the building and found it suitable based on orientation and surface area. The installation was made possible by a generous bequest gifted to the Heritage Society to be used for building improvements. The final determinant was the cost-savings. It is estimated that the panels will produce 90-95% of the building’s total electricity use in a year at a fixed cost of 9 cents/kilowatt-hour. With an expected return of nearly 7% in the first year, the panels should pay themselves off in approximately 12 years and last for another 13.

The new furnace and air conditioner are also having an impact on the building’s carbon footprint. The old HVAC system was almost 20 years old, and the Board had been planning to replace it for years. The new gas furnace is more energy efficient than the old model and will significantly reduce gas consumption and heating costs. The new air conditioner has more than doubled cooling efficiency, taking it from 6 to 14 percent. Guardian Plumbing and Heating completed the installation of both units over the last week.

The new systems will help ensure the preservation of the archival materials housed inside the building by providing more stable environmental conditions during warm and cold months and improved control over temperature and humidity changes, which can damage archival records.

Both upgrades offer the benefit of enhanced sustainability, both for the environment and for the Society. To the Heritage Society, it’s a win-win situation.

New theatre manager announced

The Oliver Community Theatre Society and Frank Venables Theatre are pleased to announce that Leah Foreman has been hired as Theatre Manager.

With over 20 years experience working in theatres and performance venues, Ms. Foreman is familiar with everything from large performance spaces such as Roger’s Arena in downtown Vancouver, to mid-size venues such as the Arts Club and very small companies like Green Thumb Theatre. She’s worked in numerous venues with professional artists in all disciplines from children’s entertainers, contemporary dance, dramatic arts and comedy, to all forms of musical presentations. At times in her career she’s held a range of positions from stage manager and production manager, to operations manager, venue manager and promoter’s representative for major artists agencies, tours, festivals, venues, parades and even rodeos.

Tom Szalay, president of the Board of Directors of the Society said “We are extremely pleased to have Leah join our team as her love of all the arts, but especially the performing arts is very strong, and she backs that up with solid experience working in many aspects of theatre operations, production and presentation. And there’s a bonus – she’s actually from the Okanagan.”

Leah Foreman grew up in the South Okanagan and graduated from Osoyoos Secondary School before going on to get her Diploma in Stagecraft from Douglas College. Leah is thrilled to be able to return to the Okanagan with her young family. Her new position as Theatre Manager at the Frank Venables Theatre begins April 1.

A souvenir of a memorable evening

Duo Fortin-Poirier
Concert Review by Anita Perry*

The South Okanagan Concert Society delivered a winner in their main concert series on Friday February 15 at the Venables Theatre in Oliver. The moment pianists Amelie Fortin and Marie-Christine Poirier stepped on stage as the effervescent Duo Fortin-Poirier, the atmosphere crackled with energy.

The evening opened with Edvard Grieg’s Valses Caprices. From the engaging sense of play to the subtleties of rubato, Duo Fortin-Poirier played with beautiful control and complete understanding of the character of these two waltzes. It was a perfect beginning to the evening

Next came two selections from Antonin Dvořák’s Legends. The composer’s intent was to encourage the listener to create their own legend of the imagination. Fortunately, the Duo Fortin-Poirier made this a delightful task in providing complete expressive control and effortless melodic voicing.

The program continued with Souvenirs by Samuel Barber. Here, the ability of the Duo Fortin-Poirier to reveal the essence of the music and the composer’s meaning really shone. The “Valse” was not only lilting, but the performers also swayed gracefully, their arms dancing in time to the music. They captured the boisterous and clownish character of “Schottische”, the precision required of “Galop”, and the comic essence of “Two Steps”. Unquestionably, the highlight of this set was “Pas de Deux”, a sensuous introspective melody with sinuous and melancholic lines. Thanks to the large screen projection of the players’ hands, the audience could see how sections of the music required the performers to cross hands over each other.

After intermission, the concert continued with a lovely work by Astor Piazzolla entitled Adios Nonino. Written upon the death of the composer’s father, the music is heartfelt and anguished. Given its complexity and use of rubato, there were times the pulse was completely obscured, yet Duo Fortin-Poirier’s entries were uniformly clean. A dramatic and passionate performance.

The following composition, Chroniques d’une coupe a blanc, (Chronicles of a Clear Cut) was a new work written especially for Duo Fortin-Poirier by Quebec composer Vanessa Marcoux. This three-part work describes the lifespan of a tree, from the moment it springs into being until machines arrive to cut it down. The score required the use of experimental techniques such as tapping on the keyboard cover and dampening strings inside the piano to create an evocative and moving work.

It was during Vocalise by Serge Rachmaninoff that being able to watch the performers’ movements on the large screen was especially fascinating. While continuing to pass beautiful melodic lines effortlessly and seamlessly one to the other, the two pianists were often playing on top of each others’ hands. Amazing and exquisite.

The evening finished with William Bolcom’s, “The Serpent’s Kiss” from The Garden of Eden. (See attached video.) This rag-time number was full of humour and drama, complete with foot stomping, tongue clicking and even some whistling. Altogether a delightful romp which brought the audience to its feet in a well-deserved standing ovation.

Amelie Fortin (L) and Marie-Christine Poirier (R) of Duo Fortin-Poirier. pose with young piano students David Cai and Christian Manz. Cai and Manz performed together in the foyer of Venables Theatre prior to the concert and delighted the audience with their talent. They had been encouraged and instructed in a Master Class by Fortin and Poirier earlier in the day along with two other impressive young duos who also provided pre-concert entertainment.

It is clear Duo Fortin-Poirier understands the inherent drama of music, the subtext of each musical thought and the essence of the composer’s message. Thanks to the South Okanagan Concert Society and its many sponsors for providing this inspiring evening of music.

*Anita Perry is a Summerland music teacher, composer and reviewer.

Who just won best in BC?

Munday Media & Design Wins Premier’s People’s Choice Award at the The 2019 Small Business BC Awards Gala

OLIVER, BC, CANADA – February 22, 2019 – Last night at the Vancouver Convention Centre the best and brightest entrepreneurs gathered to celebrate each other at the BC Small Business Awards. Tony Munday of Munday Media & Design was the successful winner of the Premiers’ People‘s Choice Category sponsored the Government of BC.

The Premier’s People’s Choice Award celebrates BC’s amazing entrepreneurs by recognizing a small business that is at the heart of their community. The Premier’s People’s Choice Award is presented to a BC small business that can demonstrate that they have the unwavering and loyal support of their community. This award is for a small business that can show that their community thinks they go above and beyond.

Minister Bruce Ralston, BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology tweeted, “It was my pleasure to present this year’s Premier’s People’s Choice Award to @TonyMunday of Munday Media & Design of #OliverBC. Congratulations to all of @SmallBusinessBC Award winners and nominees that work hard to make BC successful for people. #SBBCAwards”.

At the beginning of his acceptance speech Tony made sure the represent his community with a proud, “Greetings from Oliver BC, Canada’s Wine Capital!” Tony went on to say, “This has been very humbling experience. The staff at Munday Media nominated our business for the award as a surprise to me, and our fantastic community of Oliver supported us during the voting process helping us win this award. Thank you!”

About the Small Business BC Awards
The Small Business BC Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of BC’s entrepreneurs. These awards are a celebration of the contributions small business owners make to their local communities and to the global economy. The Small Business BC Awards are presented by Small Business BC with Canada Post as the
Title Sponsor.

About Munday Media & Design
Munday Media & Design oers custom design, print and sign services to businesses and organizations who want to engage, captivate and leave a long-lasting impression on their clients and customers. Whether it’s branding, logo creation, print or digital, their team of experts is ready to assist. Thanks to a strong background in the BC Wine and Tourism industries, Munday Media & Design’s work can be found throughout the province.
Media Contact:
Tony Munday
info @

Go Public workshops

The Oliver Community Arts Council (OCAC) invites representatives of societies, clubs, charities and other non-profit groups to GO PUBLIC! Learn more about organizing and promoting your group and publicizing your events.

GO PUBLIC! is a set of independent workshops running from January to April. We welcome both our own OCAC members and also anyone representing a non-profit group. All workshops are FREE. Pre-registration is encouraged to secure your seat.

February 23: Get NOTICED! Publicity Design & Writing. Held an event and nobody came? Targeted the wrong audience? Need some impact in your ads? Did you just take the old and tired “grip and grin” photo — again? Where should you direct your advertising dollars? What are the most effective media for advertising? Learn how to make an eye-catching poster or ad, write effective copy, and take an exciting photo to get your event noticed.

March 16: Get ONLINE!: Easy Website Design. Don’t stop with an ad. Get your name out there year-round. Basic tools to create your website using simple platforms. How to manage a site, whether static or updated.

April 27: Get SOCIAL! Social Media Marketing. The trend in publicity is social networking. How do you get the most of Facebook and Instagram. What social platforms do you need? What are less effective? Tips and tricks to boost, extend your reach, engage your targeted audience.

All workshops are Saturdays from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Oliver Regional Library (ORL). Choose any or all to attend. Select different representatives for each if you prefer.
Laptops and tablets are welcome but not required. Opportunity for hands-on learning on site, but a large screen will be used for teaching. Handouts and website links will be provided.

Pre-register for one or more workshops at Click on the “view events in calendar format” link near the bottom of the page to register. Or use these handy live links:

February 23: Publicity Design and Writing:

March 16: Easy Website Design:

April 27: Social Media Marketing:

Need assistance to register? Call 250-498-2242 (ORL).

Facilitators Penelope Johnson and JoAnn Turner, both OCAC executive members, have decades of non-profit experience between them:

  • Non-profit administration
  • Event planning
  • Website design and management
  • Social media
  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Writing for media

Have specific interests or questions? Contact olivercac @

Topics covered can be geared to participant’s interests and questions.  Give us some advance notice and we’ll either include your topics or direct you to an appropriate source. 

As space may become limited, we ask that you restrict your attendance to one or two reps per session.

Choir donates to CreateAbility music workshops

The Oliver Community Arts Council says THANK YOU to the Sage Valley Voices Community Choir for their generous donation of $1276.74 to our CreateAbility program. These monthly workshops provide art instruction to developmentally and physically challenged adults. The program is in its second full year of workshops, and has proven to be popular and fulfilling for clients, caregivers and instructors alike.

Above, the Sage Valley Voices present the cheque at their Christmas Concert. CreateAbility chair Janet Bednarczyk (left) accepts the cheque from Sue Morhun (right).

With these funds, CreateAbility will run a series of music workshops (“MusicAbility”). Adults with mental and physical disabilities will engage in music, rhythm, and sound as a creative outlet. Joint instruction from staff and students at Oliver Elementary School is planned. This program will be the first of its kind in the south Okanagan. Thanks to the leadership of Lori Martine, choir director and music teacher at OES, the grade 4 students will become the instructors for this special group of adults and their caregivers.

Below, Janet Bednarczyk is shown with Donna Biedler, a supporter of the choir and active participant in the CreateAbility program.

Funds for this project came from proceeds at the mass choir Extravaganza concert in Penticton last November, hosted by the Sage Valley Voices. The choir voted to donate the proceeds to two local charities: Highway to Healing and the Oliver Community Arts Council.

AGM coming for arts council

All Oliver Community Arts Council members and visitors are welcome to the OCAC’s Annual General Meeting on Monday February 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, 5840 Airport Road.  Memberships may be renewed and purchased at the meeting. Coffee, teas, and refreshments are provided.

The AGM focuses on two main items: a year-end review, including the Treasurer’s report and financial statements for 2018, and the election of the 2019 officers and directors. We appreciate the services of Addventive Bookkeeping for the thorough external review of our books.

Thanks to all members of the departing Board who served during the past year: officers Penelope Johnson (President), Janice Goodman (Vice President), JoAnn Turner (Secretary), Diane Gludovatz (Treasurer), and directors Roberta Barens, Tiffany Beckedorf, Janet Bednarczyk, Andrea Gunnlaugson Furlan, Adrienne Herbert, Bernice Myllyniemi, and Caroline Whyte.

With one exception, all officers and directors have offered to let their names stand for another year. The Board says a fond farewell to Andrea G. Furlan, who is stepping down after her term, in order to focus on a new artistic venture. 

While Andrea’s departure leaves a vacancy, ALL positions are open for nomination. Please consider standing for election. No artistic talent is required. Some familiarity with the arts council and experience on a non-profit board would be helpful. Orientation and training is provided, along with a Board manual.  All those elected will be required to sign their Consent to Act as a Director. For information about nominations, or to nominate someone, email OliverCAC @

Linger longer! After the AGM, everyone is welcome to stay for refreshments and to share local arts news and views. What OCAC events and projects are planned? What’s buzzing about our business members? What art groups are getting creative? Group and business reps, please bring your latest updates!

Dresses for Africa

Oliver’s Grandmothers for Africa gathered recently at the home of Christina Ruddiman to enjoy a meal together and to hear about Hilary Drummond’s recent trip to Africa. 

Hilary was given a number of pillow case dresses, socks and some shorts for boys to distribute wherever they might be needed.  Although the Stephen Lewis Foundation we support is focused on grass roots community development and not ‘give away’ programs, we do occasionally ask friends going to Africa to distribute these cute dresses made with love locally by women in our community.

Hilary told of her experience.  “We drove down a long, red dust road in the middle of Benin, West Africa, looking for the small village where we were to observe a voodoo celebration.  Our bus parked outside the village as the roads were not meant for driving.  As we approached, curious children gathered and we could hear drumming.

Soon we saw different groups gathered.  Some were on the drums, some were talking and some were involved in ceremony.   As the voodoo ceremony started, our guide approached me and suggested this was a good place to give some dresses.”

“We went into a small building and there were about eight little girls between the ages of 5 and 8 waiting with excitement.  We were able to give each girl a dress and pair of socks,”  Hilary told us.   She added,  “I wasn’t sure what they would do with the socks since none of them had shoes to wear but they were happy to receive them.  They put the dresses on over their shorts and t-shirts and smiled for the camera.”

Hilary told us that she distributed similar clothing in several sites in both Benin and Togo.  Mothers and children clamoured to have them.  The new clothes gave the children something to wear besides simple school uniforms at play time.  School uniforms are treasured and handed down to others in each family.

Hilary and the local Grandmothers found they were soon engrossed in discussions of effective community development work in Africa.   What is the best way to support local institutions and initiates when we want to help? Hilary had some good tips for other travellers.  She recommended that in future donated items such as clothing and school supplies be given to local organizations like the school or an orphanage rather than to individuals. 

The evening ended with camaraderie and stimulating conversation.  If you are interested in the Oliver Grandmothers for Africa and learning more about the 140 community-level organizations and projects in 15 sub-Saharan African countries we help support, give Eunice a call at 250 498-6840 and join us at our monthly meeting.

Firehall Brewery hosts Desert Arms

The Desert Arms band had its inception in April 2015 when guitarists Wes and Ben started working on building a rock band of original music. Harry and Derek joined soon after. Together they bring high energy beats, melodic vocals and heavy riffs that at times remind us of punk rock, prog, metal and blues. In March 2017, Desert Arms released their 3 track self-titled demo.

See them live at the Firehall Brewery this coming Friday February 15 at 7:00 p.m. Entry by donation. Great beer on tap!

3 – 7 Tuesday – Thursday
2 – 9 Friday & Saturday
Closed Sunday & Monday
We will always stay open later if there are events happening!
6077 Main Street, Lower Level, Oliver, BC

Oral history workshop for families

Family Day Celebration Planned

It’s time to celebrate family at the Oliver Museum. On Friday, Feb. 15th from 2 – 6 pm, the Museum will be hosting a free, all-ages Family Day Celebration. This is a one-day event featuring a free half-hour workshop on recording family oral histories, a child-friendly family tree craft and colouring, activities and snacks! Come use our Selfie Station to take some old-fashioned family photos, mark your family’s origins on our world map, and celebrate your family!

Recording the stories of older family members is an important way to preserve memories and experiences for the next generation. Want to learn how it’s done? Come join our family oral history workshop, offered in two separate sessions at 3:30 and 5:00 pm.

Workshop participants will learn how to collect and preserve their family histories using equipment like voice recorders and cameras and will learn how to sign out equipment from our new oral history lending library after the event. Participants in this hands-on session will learn how to set up and run the equipment, how to brainstorm lists of questions and topics, and how to encourage candid and flowing conversation.

Workshops are led by Collections Intern and experienced oral history practitioner Cassandra Colman. Both sessions are child-friendly and include time to practice. Plus these make great family projects and are an excellent way to get quality time with your loved ones. So come out to the Museum on Feb. 15th and have some fun!

This event is supported by the Province of British Columbia. Our thanks to the Province and the BC Museums Association for helping to make the event possible.

info @

1 Piano, 2 Pianists, 4 Hands

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 accoustics to warm the soul.