Ô-CELLI enchants sell-out crowd

by Val Friesen

The Ô-CELLI concert Friday evening, March 29th in the Venables, was the perfect endpiece to this season’s South Okanagan Concert Society’s series of concerts. Excellent choice, and it enchanted the sold-out audience! The eight cellists come from major European orchestras and chamber groups, and have toured much of the world since their formation in Belgium in 2010.

Ô-CELLI are superb musicians, and the program they put together featured much joyful music. Each piece was given a brief, relaxed introduction with a few helpful words to set the mood for a musical journey through sunny Italy, Spain, Argentina and Mexico (with hints of Cuba). The music was arranged for cello octet to highlight all the wondrous sonorities of that beloved instrument. The tonal, rhythmic and percussive possibilities were fully explored by musicians who know what they’re doing, love what they’re doing, and know how to delight, move and entertain their audience. And really, that’s why we go to concerts, isn’t it? And maybe also to hear something or someone new, a fresh interpretation, or a work or artist that touches deeply. In the case of this concert, it was all of the above, much to the joy of the listeners.

The first piece, the overture to Verdi’s opera, The Forces of Destiny, is a dramatic piece predicting the treachery and doom in the opera it introduces, so if not exactly setting the mood for a joyous evening, it did provide the octet with the opportunity to display their ensemble playing—which was precise and sensitive. And there was no doom in the wondrous music which followed.

The next three pieces brought to life the essential rhythms, melodies, and warmth and passion that is the essence of Spanish music—you could nearly smell the olives and the Mediterranean air. How the composers (de Falla and Turina, and the Frenchman Chabrier) captured this essence in their delightful compositions is part of the magic of music, but equally impressive is how Ô-CELLI gave it life.

The program continued after the intermission with Nina Rota’s famous and touching “La Strada” from Fellini’s 1954 film of the same name, followed by three pieces composed by the king of tangos, Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla. The second of those, “Milonga del Angel,” was for me a personal highlight of the evening, so soulful and beautiful, played exquisitely by the octet.

The contemporary Barcelona composer, Oriol Cruxient’s modern piece, “Fa Do,” featured some fascinating drumming on the cello itself to accompany the melodies shifting about through the various players.

The last piece, “Danzon #2” (1994) by the Mexican composer, Arturo Marquez, was performed spectacularly bringing its Cuban dance rhythms to life. Simply charming.

And yes, the standing ovation required an encore. And what a surprise! Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to cap off an absolutely unforgettable musical evening.

What a wonderful concert. Thank you, Ô-CELLI! And thanks to the members of SOCS who spend many volunteer hours to enhance life in our community, and special thanks to the sponsors who make it all so affordable. Concerts such as this truly enrich our lives.

Ed.: The 2019 -20 SOCS season has just been announced: famed cellist Ofra Harnoy opens the series on Friday October 4. Season subscriptions are available now for the early bird subscribers at $76 per season pass until May 31. Call the theatre Tuesdays – Thursdays 10 – 3 p.m. at 250-498-1626 for details

Call to Music Teachers

The Oliver Community Arts Council will be presenting its Showcase of Talent on Wednesday May 1 (TENTATIVE) at 7 p.m. at the Venables Theatre Atrium, 6100 Gala Street, Oliver. Deserving local music students will perform their best pieces before an audience, preferably one they have prepared for a recital, the Kiwanis Festival or a conservatory exam. This is not a competition; this is simply an evening of delightful performance. Students will also be issued with a modest cheque, usually between $50 – $100 to assist them with their music studies.

We are accepting student names to fill a short evening’s programme, roughly an hour long. A grand piano is available, as is a small sound system for announcements, solo voices or instruments. Students are expected to provide their own music stand.

Preference will be given to students living in the Oliver region and / or taking lessons from an Oliver area music teacher. The teacher must be accredited with a music teaching association, have a degree in music, and / or completed an approved conservatory of music program.

Teachers are requested to supply the names of students they believe are the most deserving. We suggest teachers choose based on two or more of the following criteria:

  • Most advanced
  • Most skilled
  • Most improved
  • Students performing at a Kiwanis Festival
  • Students demonstrating the most financial need

When submitting a student’s name, please include their physical address (town), their instrument, their grade level, and a brief explanation of the criteria met. If time permits, students may be able to play two pieces. Please list pieces the student will be able to play. In the case of overlap, this gives us the opportunity to select pieces unique to the student, and fill the programme.

Students will be expected to perform a competition level piece in front of a crowd, as well as introduce themselves, and give a short introduction to their piece. Backing tracks for vocalists may be accommodated. Students are expected to remain for the full concert in order to receive their bursary during the “curtain call” at the conclusion.

Please contact OliverCAC @ gmail.com with any questions or with names of students. All responses will be forwarded to our Showcase of Talent co-ordinator, Sally Franks.

It’s now or never for Elvis tribute

Darren Lee, crowned #1 Elvis tribute artist in the world at the Memphis Elvis Competition, is coming to town. On his rise up the Elvis ladder, Darren has received a ton of awards and accolades that undoubtedly fueled his rise to the top. Darren spent 11 consecutive years starring in the American Superstars show on the Vegas Strip. The Queen even awarded a Diamond Jubilee for excellence in his field. Darren is the first to perfectly re-create Elvis’ 1968 comeback special at the Queen Elizabeth and Michael J. Fox Theatres. Tri-Cities Entertainer of The Year & 5 years starring in his Burn’n Love dynamite show in Maui – Darren Lee IS Elvis!

Tickets are $35 and are available online at www.venablestheatre.ca
The Venables Theatre Box Office is located at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. We are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Purchases over the phone can also be made during these hours at ​250-498-1626

Presented by Sonic Flower Promotions, Blow any Elvis cobwebs away for good. Come spend a night with The King!​

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Inspirational storytelling plus dog

On September 11, 2001, a blind man escaped the World Trade Center by walking down 78 flights of stairs with his guide dog. Days later, America fell in love with Mike and Roselle and the special bond that helped them both survive one of the country’s darkest days. Since 9/11, Mike Hingson speaks to audiences about his experience on that day as well as to discuss his thoughts on life and dealing with change. He has become a recognized internationally acclaimed public speaker who captivates audiences with his personal and compelling story.  He also teaches his listeners new ways of looking at life and their worlds by helping them to visualize from his viewpoint how to live, function and thrive.

Now you too can be inspired by this 9/11 survivor on Thursday April 4 7:00 p.m. Tickets are only $12.50 and are available online at www.venablestheatre.ca

The Venables Theatre Box Office is located at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. We are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Purchases over the phone can also be made during these hours at ​250-498-1626.​

Hit After Hit tour comes to Oliver

On Saturday April 20, prepare for an evening of “hit after hit” sings from country stars
George Canyon, Charlie Major, and Doc Walker, with Manny Blu.

George Canyon rose to becoming one of Canada’s hottest Country Music stars in the early 2000’s and has won countless accolades and awards, including Juno Awards, CCMA Awards, and ECMA Awards to name a few. He has been inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame, recorded 12 albums, and was recently presented a certified Platinum Award for his debut album ‘One Good Friend’. With country hits like Just Like You, I Believe in Angels, Drinkin’ Thinkin’, Daughters of the Sun, I Got This, I Want You To Live, Slow Dance and many, many more. He is also highly regarded humanitarian, strong supporter of the military, and, most important, a proud father and devoted husband.

With over 20 Top 10 singles, Doc Walker is one of the most recognized Canadian country acts of the past two decades. The group has received multiple Canadian Country Music Awards, including Fans’ Choice, Group or Duo of the Year, CMT Video of the Year, Single of the Year, and Country Music Program or Special of the Year. In addition, Doc Walker has been nominated for several JUNO Awards for Country Album of the Year, including a win in 2009 for the album Beautiful Life.

Charlie Major is a true Canadian legend. He has sold nearly half a million records in Canada alone, and has been the recipient of 3 Juno Awards and 7 CCMA Awards. Rising to the forefront of the Canadian Music scene in the early to mid-nineties, Major holds the distinction of having six consecutive #1 hits (every single released) off his debut album.

Tickets are $57 and are available online at www.venablestheatre.ca

The Venables Theatre Box Office is located at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. We are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Purchases over the phone can also be made during these hours at ​250-498-1626.​


Valor for Veterans

In support of a nationwide initiative, the Double O Quilters (and friends) of Oliver, BC have recently completed 6 Quilts of Valor. Guild members are pictured here with 5 of the quilts.

These quilts will be delivered to representatives of Veteran’s Affairs in Penticton and then given to veterans in the South Okanagan who are ill or injured as a result of their service to Canada. A worthy endeavour indeed !

Oliver Heritage AGM May 8

You are invited to attend the Oliver and District Heritage Society’s

2019 Annual General Meeting

Wednesday May 8, 2019

7 pm

Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, 5840 Airport St., Oliver

The business portion of the meeting will commence at 7 pm, followed by a presentation by our guest speaker (TBA).

To see the full meeting agenda, please visit our website at www.oliverheritage.ca

While all are welcome, only current members in good standing will be eligible to vote.

To renew your membership, stop by the Museum or Archives buildings, or renew on our website here.

Want to get in touch? Call the Archives at 250-498-4027 or email us at

Oliver Heritage News

The Oliver & District Heritage Society has some new and returning faces this year. Julianna Weisgarber was selected as the new Executive Director and began her new role on Jan. 2nd. Julianna previously worked as the ODHS Collections Manager, and spent four years training and supervising staff and interns, improving collections care, assisting the public, and developing events and programs. Julianna brings 7 years of museum experience to her role, and is a graduate of the University of Sydney’s Master of Museum Studies program and the University of Northern British Columbia‘s Anthropology program. Passionate about community engagement, Julianna is looking forward to building new opportunities for the Heritage Society to engage with Oliver residents.

Also joining the ODHS is Veronica Parkes, who started in her new role of Curator on March 4th. Veronica is a trained conservator and graduate of the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program at Fleming College and previously worked for the Kelowna Museums Society. She is the recipient of a degree in Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Medieval Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. Veronica will be maintaining the artifact and archival collections and developing programs, exhibits, and events that will increase the Heritage Society’s interactions with other organizations and with the general public.

The Society’s current goals are to expand services and engage with the community in new ways, which means sometimes leaving the confines of the buildings themselves. Plans include developing educational kits that can be used in classrooms, creating programs for people who cannot visit, and increasing the number and variety of special events. Julianna and Veronica will be hard at work on these objectives over the next year. Feel free to stop by and say hello to them when you next visit the Museum or Archives.

Julianna Weisgarber

Executive Director

Oliver and District Heritage Society Museum and Archives

www.oliverheritage.ca l 250.498.4027 l 430 Fairview Rd, Oliver BC

I acknowledge that my work place is within the unceded ancestral and traditional territory of the S’yilx-Okanagan Nation.

Irresistible Ô-Celli, March 29

SOCS FINAL CONCERT 2018-2019 SEASON –  Friday, March 29, 2019

South Okanagan Concert Society decided to blow the budget and bring in the irresistible Ô-Celli, cello octet, to complete the 2018-2019 concert season.  That translates into eight (yes 8!) musicians drawn from prominent European orchestras from Paris to Belgium to Britain.  This is a cosmopolitan  ensemble which is represented by five different nationalities.  Together they share a passion for the extraordinary richness of their instrument.  Their concerts are characterized by originality and dynamic presentation.

The concert you absolutely should not miss takes place at the beautiful new Venables theatre in Oliver at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 29, 2019.  Tickets are on sale at www.venablestheatre.ca or at the box office Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 to 3 pm.  Thanks to our generous sponsors, tickets are very affordable.  Two or more tickets in advance cost only $21/ticket.  A single ticket in advance is $23.  Single tickets at the door are $25.  Children and youth are encouraged to attend for $2.50.

Many of you fell in love with the cello when you experienced Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s  solo rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria at the wedding of Prince Harry.  The instrument, closest to the human voice is one of the few which carries being multiplied.  When played together with others, the beauties of this intrument add up, giving birth to a unique, full vibration and exceptional sound.

Prepare to be taken on a fabulous journey through a repertoire of both original and arranged pieces.  The cellists eagerly travel through a wide musical panel, ranging from Verdi to Piazzolla with sweeping nods to Nino Rota and Marquez.

If you come ¾ hour prior to the concert start, you can enjoy listening to talented young local pianists perform in the foyer as you meet with friends.  After the concert stay and enjoy a post concert no-host reception in the glittering foyer and meet the musicians in a relaxed atmosphere.  There will be a nominal fee for beverages.  Appetizers will be provided as a good will gesture.  This is where you can learn more about the upcoming concert series planned for next year and take advantage of some exciting economic incentives (bring cheque books or credit cards) when you order your tickets for next year.