Open house gets you warm and fuzzy

The Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers hold their annual spinning retreat at Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos on Saturday March 28. The public is welcome to attend their Open House, view spinners at work and purchase hand-dyed rovings and other fibre goods.

Vagabond at Firehall

Vagabond performs at the Firehall Brewery on Tuesday February 11th at 7 p.m. $15 ticket. 6077 Main Street, Oliver

Vagabond is a Penticton-based acoustic trio specializing in “rockabilly, blues, and country soul,” comprised of none other than veteran lead guitarist Lindsay Mitchell, founder and guitarist of renowned Canadian rock band, PRISM, with lead vocalist Leslie Thompson, and double bassman Stefan Bienz. Tickets are only $15, with only 40 seats in the house! Reserve yourself a seat for this intimate show while you can, tickets available in advance by clicking here: Vagabond Concert at the Firehall

Expect an eclectic repertoire of radio hits from the 1950s and 60s, plus original tunes penned by Lindsay Mitchell as founder and principal songwriter for the classic 1970s Canadian rock band PRiSM.

Lindsay Mitchell began his career in the mid 1960s as lead guitarist and songwriter with the notorious Vancouver-based rock band the Seeds of Time. His 1969 composition My Home Town (Coast Records) was a nationwide hit. In 1977 he formed the multiple Juno Award winning group PRiSM (GRT Capitol) for whom he composed numerous multi-gold and platinum hits including Armageddon, Young & Restless, and A Night to Remember. Along the way he has shared the stage with a host of rock celebrities: Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, the Byrds, Meatloaf, Heart, Roy Orbison, kd lang, and AC/DC just to name a few. He has also performed with many blues and R&R legends: T-Bone Walker, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Del Shannon, Willie Dixon, Pinetop Perkins, Big Joe Duskin, Albert Collins, and many more. But the musical memories he holds most dear involve old friends: the late Billy Cowsill and Long John Baldry, and celebrated BC bluesmen Kenny Wayne and Jim Byrnes.

Leslie Thompson, based in Okanagan Falls, began taking music lessons at age 5, and was soon playing drums in her parents’ country western band (mommy played bass, daddy lead guitar). After studying music at Capilano University in the late 80s, she took to the road in Western Canada with a number of country-rock acts, later returning to BC to reunite onstage with her parents. An Okanagan resident since 2000, she plays and sings in several local outfits.

“I saw her a few years ago playing drums for a Penticton country-rock group,” Mitchell explains, “and was so impressed by her voice (a cross between Bonnie Raitt and June Carter), that I resolved to call her up if I ever needed a singer in the Okanagan.”

Stefan Bienz of Summerland is the undisputed number one “go to” bassman in the South Okanagan. As such he has performed with a host of local and visiting musicians and singers. Accordingly, we are delighted to have him on board.

“When I first invited Stefan to play with us,” Mitchell says, “he asked what kind of bass playing was needed.”

“I’m looking for a Willie Dixon,” I answered, “simple, low down, with a deep groove.”

“I’m your man.” he replied.

The rest is history.

Christmas Fair seeks help

Do you enjoy the Christmas Craft Fair in November? Would you like to see it continue? Jen and Klaudia are two great gals, who have run this fair for decades, and who are now looking for some help to manage the fair so they can (eventually) put their feet up. . This is a great opportunity to learn from a very experienced and cheerful team.

Old-Fashioned Family Fun Day at Oliver Museum

Oliver, BC – Longing for the days when family time was separate from screen-time? We’re bringing back family fun, without the screens! This Family Day weekend, join us at the Oliver Museum for our Old-Fashioned Family Fun Day on Sunday, Feb. 16th, an afternoon of fun and creative activities from 1- 4 pm.

This free, family-oriented event includes opportunities for all ages to learn heritage skills such as leatherworking and weaving keepsakes to take home. Kids and parents can craft their leafiest family tree and decorate it with the names of loved ones. Teens and adults can try their luck at a number of different board games in the museum’s main gallery. Finally, join in and build mini catapults for our epic indoor snowball fight at 4 pm where you’ll have the chance to line up and launch pom-pom “snowballs.” The team who sends the most snowballs over the line wins! Free cookies, granola bars and juice boxes will be available throughout the day. Mark Family Day this year by making some memories. We can’t wait to see you there!

Made possible thanks to the support of the B.C. government.

Contact: Julianna Weisgarber, Executive Director, Oliver & District Heritage Society

250-498-4027 info

Let’s get jammin’ — allons-y!

Will Stroet of Will’s Jams is a JUNO, WCMA and CFMA nominated musician, CBC Kids, Universal Kids and Kidoodle TV star, educator and dad, well loved for his original rock, folk, and blues music with witty wordplay and catchy choruses.

Will’s Jams is a power trio who perform high-energy songs in English and French with fun actions and sing-along choruses. Kids and their parents will be cheering for libraries, loving their bikes and rallying for vegetables – all while they’re on their feet and dancing away. Will’s educational rock, pop and blues songs ignite imaginations and motivate movement for the young and young at heart.

For more than a decade, Will’s been entertaining kids through his bilingual music, inspiring them to be active, healthy, creative and engaged in the world. Part of the Family ShowTime Series:

Friday February 21 – Will’s Jams
Saturday April 18 – Uzume Taiko

Arts at the trade show

Visit the arts council booth to find out all the latest arts information: upcoming events, entry forms, and memberships. Ask about the Annual General Meeting and other arts council Board initiatives.

The arts council is offering prizes to be won by entering the free draw at their booth. On offer are tickets to Born Yesterday (produced by SOAP Theatre) and tickets to Will’s Jams, part of the Venables Theatre’s children’s showcase.

Exhibits, trades, and sales in show

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

The 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.  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.

Colour TV coming in April

Sage Valley Voices Community Choir, along with President, Lois Bzdel, presented cheques to representatives of the Oliver United Church and the Sumac Ladies Auxillary respectively.

Proceeds from their 2019 Christmas Concert were in support of the local community outreach programs and soup kitchen.

Sage Valley Voices Choir would like to express their thanks to the Oliver Elementary School Choir for their performance and the communities of Oliver and Osoyoos for their continued support of their concerts.

Their upcoming spring concert is entitled TV in TECHNICOLOUR, Lori Martine conductong. Saturday April 25th at 7pm and Sunday April 26th at  2:30pm at the Oliver United Church. Tickets at the door $12.00, children under 12 admission is free.

Hoyt enchants with song and story

review by Bob Park

The South Okanagan Concert Society did it again! The choice of Lizzy Hoyt for the third concert of the 2019-20 series was spot on. Her angelic voice, her virtuosic Celtic fiddle and harp playing, the wide range of songs and styles, and her engaging way of connecting with fellow musicians and the audience all proved to be exactly what the nearly full house at the Venables was craving on a winter’s evening. 

Here in the Okanagan valley, Winnipeg-based Lizzy Hoyt may have been a relatively unknown singer/fiddler come to perform her original Canadian and family history-based songs as well as much-loved favorites in Celtic/Folk style, but after this delightful concert she is “unknown” no more! More than 300 people can’t stop talking about her. The joy, enthusiasm, humour, reflection and memories which Lizzy generated, backed expertly by both Keith Rempel on string bass and Chris Tabbert on guitar and mandolin, are sure to continue to resonate with audience members.

Every song came with a story. The much-loved familiar songs, such as Star of the County Down, Jolene, Loch Lomond, St.Anne’s Reel and V’la Le Bon Vent, all were given a fresh interpretation. The musical rapport between the three performers was evident, with lots of scope for Chris and Keith to cut loose and add interesting solos and arranging to the tunes. You might have heard these songs before, but not the inventive way they played them.

Lizzy draws inspiration in her song writing from her family’s roots and her own experiences. “New Lady on the Prairie” tells of an Irish immigrant woman’s first experience on an intimidating Canadian prairie. The horrors of the First World War appear in “The White Feather” and “Vimy Ridge”.

Lizzy, Keith and Chris are so skilled that they seemed to be effortlessly producing such lovely music for everyone. They were obviously enjoying themselves, and when Lizzy invited the audience to sing along with the refrains of several of the familiar songs, it even felt effortless for the rest of us to join in.

The standing ovation was spontaneous, and we were rewarded with Lizzy singing a most beautiful, heart-wrenching rendition of “Danny Boy”. Many an eye was moist, and every heart was moved.

The Venables theatre has the new feature of wine being served in the lobby, and the SOCS has the new feature of serving plates of snacks for a reception after the concerts. This made for all kinds of wonderful conversations and reactions to Lizzy Hoyt’s concert. Here’s a sample of what we overheard:

“Her storytelling put war and its consequences in a real light.”
“We were there” (at Vimy Ridge memorial)
“I love the way I could hear all the words of her songs.”
“I’ve listened to Celtic music on CDs, but hearing it live tonight was a whole new experience.”
“I don’t actually like Celtic music, but this was amazing!”
“What a fabulous voice!”
“We loved the cooperation among the musicians.”
“She can really communicate with the audience.”
“This concert adds to the rich diversity of SOCS concerts.”

Here is one more comment:
“How can a performer this good not be more famous?”
Well, that can still change. Here at the Venables, a corner has been turned.

The South Okanagan Concert Society is bringing its final concert of the season to the Venables on March 20. The Montreal Guitar Trio is coming. It will be a joy to welcome them back to Oliver, after about a ten year stretch. That particular evening, the SOCS will make early bird tickets for the upcoming season available at their traditional reduced price. Advance ticket – $23, Door – $25, and Student – $2.50

See you there!

Romance + tart political humour

Just when politics has lost its sense of humour, in rides Billie Dawn on a breath of fresh air. Her smarts are buried under layers of satin and showgirl sass but are highly combustible. When her powerful and shady boyfriend, Harry Brock, sets out to buy a senator, he decides Billie needs a bit more class and he hires journalist, Paul Verrall, to make her appear more intelligent. But a little education can go a long way, and Billie may be smarter than the men in her life give her credit for.

​Born Yesterday is a sparkling 1946 romantic and political comedy as relevant today as it was 70 years ago! Personal and political oppression are exposed and outwitted in the intellectual rebirth of the iconic “dumb blonde”, who stands up to corruption & intimidation.​ Suitable for ages 13 and older.

More information on plot, cast, and tons of commentary here:

Fri-Sat February 7 – 8
7:00 p.m.
Sunday February 9
2:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat February 14 – 15
7:00 p.m.
Frank Venables Theatre

Single Show Ticket Prices
Adults Day-of-the-Show $25/person
Adults in Advance $23/person
Group of 10 or more Adults $19/person (use promo code GROUP)
Students Day-of-the-Show $15/person
Students in Advance $13/person

In line for a smile

The amazing Ryan McMahon, the “Fox” of Lion Bear Fox, returns to Oliver! Ryan has slipped away from BC’s best band, Lion Bear Fox, to come back to the Firehall Brewery to light up the night again. If you saw LBF then, you know their performances as individual and combined vocalists are delicious. Ryan has been lured back for another One Night Only special show on Thursday, Jan 30th.

As a co-founder of Lion Bear Fox, Ryan fills not only the stage but the whole house wherever he plays. He has released five full-length albums, and seen his music licensed nationally and abroad. 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 his single “I’ll Be Damned”. In 2017, Ryan released an EP titled “Song Shelter Recordings,” created entirely at his home studio in Ladysmith, BC. Legendary Canadian TV/Radio personality Terry David Mulligan may have summed up Ryan best: “The complete package. Singer. Songwriter. Performer. Troublemaker. Passionate human being. For me… priceless.”

The Firehall Brewery is offering limited tickets to this incredible musician. Hear him in person on Thursday, Jan 30th at $20 per person. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Come enjoy our great space and intimate atmosphere for an immersive experience. Tickets will fly quickly for this one! Get yours at the Brewery, or at:

Ryan McMahon Tix

Famous red-head dances in Oliver

Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is a playful, colourful and evocative production that will transport audiences to early 20th century Atlantic Canada. Based on the beloved Canadian novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables follows the adventures of Anne Shirley, an orphan girl sent to live on a farm in the fictional town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. It tells the story of the adventures of 11-year-old Anne, who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.

Anne is highly imaginative, eager to please and, at times, quite a dramatic individual. However, she is defensive about her appearance, despising her red hair and pale, thin frame. She is often quite talkative, especially when it comes to describing her fantasies and dreams. At first, stern and sharp Marilla says Anne must return to the orphanage, but after much observation and considering, along with Matthew’s strong liking to Anne, she decides to let her stay.

Over the last 28 years, Canada’s Ballet Jӧrgen has produced a total of 216 original creations by 80 choreographers, including eight full-length ballets and five works created especially for children.

Canada’s Ballet Jorgen’s presents
Tuesday January 28
7:30 p.m.
Venables Theatre
TICKETS: Adult $45, Students $20 250-498-1626

You be the rhythm!

Rythmo 2 is an interactive musical show. ALL participants become musicians by playing with several musical instruments during the performance. It’s impossible to stand by and watch! As a warm-up and to familiarize themselves with the rhythm, audience members discover body percussion by tapping on different parts of their bodies. Drum sticks and musical tubes are then distributed to everyone to give them a unique, rhythmic, powerful and energizing experience! With SAMAJAM’s Rythmo 2, you are the show!

Venables Theatre presents
Samajam – Rythmo 2
Family ShowTime Series
Friday January 24
6:30 p.m.
Venables Theatre
Single show tickets $12.50 250-498-1626
Will’s Jams (CBC Kids): Friday February 21
Uzume Taiko: Saturday April 18