Call for performers to be “holly jolly”

We are inviting performers of all ages to join the “Holly Jolly Oliver!” community concert on Sunday November 25 at the Venables Theatre. Singers, dancers, musical groups, spoken word performers, magicians, clowns, and other entertainers are welcome to submit their request to enter. The concert is eclectic, celebrating the many aspects of the festival season from Diwali to New Year, whether sacred or winter-themed.

With all proceeds going to the Oliver Food Bank, and performers kept to an 8-minute (or 3 song) maximum, participants are asked to donate their time and talent. However, the concert provides terrific exposure for participants the arts council will advertise any upcoming gigs performers have scheduled.

To request a performance slot, submit the performer’s name, the title(s) of the selections, their performance length, and any staging requirements (e.g. sound, lighting, props, instruments or mp3), along with contact information to or contact 250-498-0183 for more information. Deadline is November 14 but avoid disappointment by entering early. Backup selections are recommended so there is no duplication of acts. Performers will be given an opportunity for a short stage and sound check.

Holly Jolly Oliver is being produced by arts council director Andrea Furlan. The programme’s final lineup and order of performances will be determined by the Holly Jolly Oliver committee, to maximize diversity and entertainment value.

Rev up your country engines!

Monday November 26 – 7:30
We Were That Song 2018 Tour – With special guest Dan Davidson
Brett Kissel – the CCMA Awards’ reigning Male Artist of the Year – brings Part 2 of his “We Were That Song” tour to Venables Theatre! The Juno award winning artist is joined by Country Newcomer Dan Davidson. Brett received the CIMA Road Gold Award for Part 1 of the Canadian tour earlier this year, which recognizes a high level of achievement during a touring period. Last month, Brett released his new single “Guitars and Gasoline” to country radio.

Where we all do our seasonal shopping

The season of wonders and good will

When the days getting shorter and one thinks of cozy evenings we’re getting ready to wow you out of your comfy couches and lazyboys to this awesome event!

We can hardly believe it that our Oliver community has supported and loves this pre Christmas event for the 42 years. You guessed right, it’s the Oliver Arts and Craft Show which starts Friday November 16th from 10 am till 6 pm and the next day Saturday from 10 am till 4 pm.

There is no entry fee but, like in years past, we do take donations for our local food bank, either cans or cash, thank you already.

We will be presenting a wide array of wares with quite a few new vendors, old favourites still have their spotlight too and lots in between. Remember that it’s all handmade by artisans in this region that sourced things locally. From Salsa and Chutney to handmade chocolate and rocks mined in the region to honey, pickles, hand carved spoons and baking! Also felted items(tea cosies, mittens or needle-felted ornaments) knitted socks, shawls, gloves and toques are on display. Vintage jewelry, handcrafted soaps, glass ornaments, iron dinner bells, pottery and, of course, Christmas decorations all found their way into this event.

Did we mentioned all that fantastic quilting and sewing that’s been done for this? Tree skirts,baby blankets,purses,and wall hangings or just a fancy little or big bag. Table runners and placemats are here as well.

Last but not least, the kitchen this year will be handled by the Oliver Eats Deli and it sounds already very delicious. One more stop to check out!

Wonderful live theatre for the holidays

SOAP Theatre, EZ Rock and a talented group of performers will be presenting a classic holiday story with a special twist thrown in later this fall.

It’s A Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry, will be presented at the Osoyoos Elks Hall on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver Dec. 7-9.

Rather than a play full of action, this version of Frank Capra’s classic film brings the ever-timely story of disaster, redemption and holiday magic to life on stage before your eyes and ears in the form of a radio broadcast. It’s Christmas Eve, 1946 in the Golden Age of radio. Five actors have gathered in the WBFR studios for the weekly instalment of Theatre of the Air, a live radio broadcast. The talented ensemble brings a few dozen characters to the stage to tell the memorable story.

It’s a Wonderful Life is about the life of George Bailey, a generous and well-meaning man who has become too downcast and tired to continue living. He considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve when his guardian angel, Clarence, shows George what his town of Bedford Falls would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years. Even the cynics among us will cheer as George Bailey, standing on the brink of despair, famously learns that “no man is a failure who has friends.”

The versatility of the cast — Vance Potter, Jeff Smith, Bertie Barens, Karen Hawitt and Curtis Boomhower – will be evident, right from the opening cue from Stage Manager Ritchie Kendrick. An interesting twist and fun part of this production will be having the “Foley artist”, or sound effects technician, namely Tom Szalay, live on stage, creating the necessary sounds using props, rather than relying on recordings played from the sound booth.

Under the direction of Trevor Leigh and producer Patrick Turner all the components are coming together in the twice weekly rehearsals that started in early September.

“Bringing this classic to life with this lovely and talented artistic team has been a dream,” says Leigh. “It’s a great way to bring in the Christmas season and it’s fun for all ages!”

Patrons will be able to take part in some Christmas carolling prior to the performances, starting about 30 minutes before curtain time.

The play will be presented in Osoyoos as part of the Osoyoos Lite-up Festival Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Performances begin at 7:30 pm at the Osoyoos Elks Hall, which is another break from SOAP tradition.

Three performances are scheduled at Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver the following weekend with 7:30 pm performances on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. The popular Sunday matinee returns with a 2 pm curtain on Sunday, Dec. 9.

More information on this show and other SOAP Theatre productions this seasons is available at Tickets are available on the Venables Theatre website at as well as at Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos. Tickets are $23 in advance or $25 on the day of the show. Special rates are available for students and for groups of 10 or more. Contact the Venables box office for details at 250-498-1626.


This double-double hot, sweet & smooth

Double Double DUO is a ‘double threat’ when classically trained international soloists, Dr. Kornel Wolak (clarinet/piano) and Michael Bridge (accordions/piano) join forces on the Venables Theatre stage Friday, November 16th. They succeed in giving classical music a modern voice through dynamic performances and eclectic instrumentation. Comedy, vituosity and musical sensitivity are used to bring their broad repertoire to life.

Collaborating since 2011, the pair have been actively touring in Poland, France and Ecuador and perform across Canada for arts organizations as diverse as the music they play – from the Ontario Philharmonic to the Calgary Stampede. Expect all-original arrangements of classical showpieces, sensitive jazz ballads and fiery folk music from around the world.

The South Okanagan Concert Society urges you to get your tickets and bring a friend. Our first concert of the season, the Marc Atkinson Trio, had the audience on their feet hammering hands together and calling for more. So often, locals hear about the fantastic concert they missed and since each group only performs here once, a miss is a miss. Don’t let that happen to you. Encourage some friends who perhaps have not been introduced to the high quality SOCS performances and get your reserved seats now!

Tickets are on sale at or at the theatre box office Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 to 3 pm. Thanks to our generous sponsors, tickets are affordable.

Two or more tickets in advance are $21 each. A single ticket in advanced is $23. Single tickets at the door are $25. Children and youth are only $2.50. All concerts in the series start at 7:30 pm.

So who are these ‘double threat’ musicians? Of Polish origin, Dr. Kornel Wolak performs on clarinet and piano. “Control and a smooth expressivity are what make Wolak shine” (Toronto Star). He is currently pioneering collaborative research in oral articulators with the Department of Speech Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. He is an internationally renowned soloist, teacher and touring chamber musician.

Originally from Alberta, Michael Bridge (accordions and piano) was named one of CBC’s

“30 Hot Classical Musicians under 30” in 2016. He is a winner of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Medal and the Canadian Digital Accordion Championships. Active in new music, he has over 30 world premieres to his credit. He is a graduate student in accordion performance at the University of Toronto studying with Joseph Macerollo.

Arrive early at Venables Theatre for the extra treat of hearing Helen Wolfe and her handbell choir perform pre-concert in the foyer.

Marc Atkinson Trio “a wild ride”

Marc Atkinson Trio with Cam Wilson,

Concert Review, Oct.12, 2018
by Bob Park

This was the second time this year that the South Okanagan Concert Society has had both Marc Atkinson as well as Cameron Wilson on stage at the Frank Venables Theatre. Last winter, we heard Atkinson as accompanist to the lovely gypsy cabaret singer, Cari Burdett. Listening to Atkinson as a side man is a bit like seeing a Ferrari idling in a parking lot.

Last night, as many in the audience had hoped, the Ferrari was going around the corners at high speed, with its pedal to the metal. Cam Wilson the dazzling, versatile classical violinist—whom we heard in March as part of the Joe Trio — was a perfect match for this tour de force.

There’s something magical about seeing a group of musicians with 30’s era Selmer jazz guitars, and upright bass and a violin. It immediately conjures up images of jazz clubs in the 1930’s in Paris . It evokes the music of the ultimate gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, whose legacy is so influential that these days, — almost a century later— there are countless festivals worldwide and legions of guitarists dedicated to  preserving his music.

Marc Atkinson and Cameron Wilson are among Canada’s best known practitioners of the Gypsy Jazz art. Along with rhythm guitarist, Chris Fry, and bassist, Scott White, it was apparent that they were going to take things to a “further-out” direction. Instead of being a “What did Django do?” this program was more a “What would Django do today?”

What we got was a wild ride through , for the most part, original compositions by Atkinson that showed all kinds of influences from Bach chorales to Piazzolla Tangos, as well as Chet Atkins style “chicken pickin’“ Listening to jazz , it’s always interesting to try to get a sense of the balance between “worked out” material and improvisation. On this night the group was tight, with lots of interesting “worked out” arrangements, but there was also plenty of spontaneity happening. “All of Me” becomes “Five Foot Two” which turns into “The Street where You Live” and “When you’re Smiling”. As the tunes went by, we could recognize “A-train”, “ Mood Indigo” , et cetera! (Did they really plan to go into the A&W Root Beer commercial, or did that just happen in the joyful spirit of the moment?)

Judging by the laughter, the smiles, the eye contact, the cues, the asides, it was clear these four musicians were having fun. They were enjoying each others’ playing and the surprising twists and turns the music was taking as much as we, the spellbound audience, were enjoying it all. Of course, to be able to improvise at that level takes superb musicianship, and do these guys ever have it!  (How does ANYBODY get that good?—Maybe you start with “She’ll be Comin’ around the Mountain” and imagine you’re Paganini to produce the most virtuosic version in existence)

After all this high energy it seemed a fitting finish when, as an encore, we were treated to Django’s hauntingly beautiful “Nuages” (Clouds). With this hymn to French resistance during their darkest days (the “clouds” of occupation,) a bit of “40’s Paris” came to us in Oliver. From start to finish, this concert was a gift to us of an authentic version of gypsy jazz. To each of the musicians: Merci Beaucoup!

Next month, on November 16th, at 7:30 pm, the South Okanagan Concert Society is bringing yet another set of lively musicians to the Frank Venables stage. Don’t miss “Double Double Duo”. With clarinet , accordion, and piano, the duo will bring us good cheer during any November chill. They come with a sense of humour, virtuosity and musical sensitivity. (Oh,don’t forget: to enhance the heart-warming experience, SOCS serves both coffee and decaf coffee during the intermission, plus fresh baked goodies from local establishments!)
For tickets , go to the Frank Venables theatre Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 -3, or to for online ticketing.

Sale to be a frenzy of fun

Come for gelato, coffee or lunch 10 am to 2 pm, Friday, October 19th at Medici’s. You will find yourself at the local Grandmothers for Africa Fall Frenzy. These hard working women like to have fun. They like to be part of the solution and not the problem . The unique and handcrafted items that will be displayed and on sale represent many ‘woman hours’ both here and in Africa as part of their creation. You will find intricate bead work, wirework animals, pashminas, jewellry, handbags, aprons, bowl buddies, new Little Traveller pins and much more. The money earned from their sale will all go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation for grassroots programs in the under resourced communities of Africa facing the brunt of an ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic.

When you and your friends come out to enjoy getting a head start on your Christmas list, you support women thousands of miles away who carry stories of healing. The identity they form from being part of a network like Grandmothers for Africa has deep meaning for them. They come into the organization with a loss of hope and dignity but they grow because they are welcomed with love, warmth and open arms and given a place to share their life experiences. It isn’t just that the grassroots organization helps break the silence and isolation of grandmothers and kids immersed in their own grief. It is that they come together to deepen their collective understanding and develop community approaches and strategies to address the panoply of crises created by AIDS. And like women everywhere, they soon find room for laughter, for hugs, for songs and dance, for connection and the energy to move forward.

So grab a friend and come on down to Medici’s. Together we can make a difference.
If you want to join the local group, talk to any of the women in the distinctive bright yellow t-shirts with the Grandmother insignia at the event. We’d love to have you with us!

Medici’s welcomes “their” band back again

They Are Back. They began with us and now for a third time this incredible band is back. They are Our Band. They blew the roof off in the summers of 2016 & 2017. Each one an artist and entertainer: a super talented force when banded together.
Folk Road Show in this theatre will feel like your living room. They are anything but a conventional band: more a traveling folk variety show that could have been put together by PT Barnum and Bob Dylan, with Jack Kerouac consulting.

Four singer-songwriters from three continents: Dominique Fricot (CAN), Benjamin James Caldwell (AUS), Olaf Caarls (NL), Pieter van Vliet (NL). The band has toured worldwide and played hundreds of venues and festivals. Folk Road Show constantly rotates lead singers, showcasing each member while swapping instruments and supporting with soothing four-part harmonies.

Saturday October 27th. This is our huge fall finale band … ….Tickets go for $30 and we’ve already got a reserve list. Seating is assigned. Doors at 6:30 and The Folk Road Show takes the stage at 7:30…Medici’s at 522 Fairview Road in Oliver…250-498-2228

Children’s entertainer performs soon


part of the ​Family ShowTime Series

Friday October 26

6:30 p.m.

Frank Venables Theatre

More than the music, the four-time Juno winner for Best Children’s Album Sing with Fred and eight-time nominee’s body of work is about energy and emotional connection. The guy who crawled magically out of that hollow log for 12 seasons and nearly 900 episodes in the hit CBC TV show “Fred Penner’s Place” receives fan mail to this day from some of the 55 million American viewers where the show ran for four years on the U.S.’s Nickelodeon. Always building on a common theme rooted in integrity and a “belief in what I can do” he has created a lasting impact that crosses the generations and continues to grow.

Canada’s beloved children’s entertainer, Fred Penner kicks off the “Family ShowTime” children’s series at Venables Theatre this October. Millennials will fondly remember Penner crawling through a log to the enchanting land where his CBC television show took place. A gentle giant with kind eyes and an undeniable ability to make you feel good about yourself, this musical master brings 45 years of commitment, consistency and depth to a career that skillfully blends the many genres of performing and communication.

Penner’s diverse repertoire includes a prolific 12 Children’s Albums, countless energetically packed live shows for throngs of eager audiences across North America, composing the music for APTN/YTV’s Tipi Tales, and writing the score and hosting the TV documentary The Simple Way (focused on the relevant, world-wide topic of voluntary simplicity). He has, without a doubt, established himself as a fundamental part of the North American family entertainment scene. And whether it’s through CDs, videos, books or television, his cornerstone philosophy remains the same: absolute trust that his work can make a difference.

Joined by long-time cohort Paul O’Neill, Penner headlines the inaugural “Family ShowTime” series which includes Alex Zerbe: The Professional Zaniac, DuffleBag Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty and Axé Capoeira. “Family ShowTime” is presented by Venables Theatre with the support of the Community Presenters Assistance program (of the BC Arts Council and BC Touring Council) along with Tinhorn Creek and the Coast Oliver Hotel.

Fred Penner will warm our hearts on the Venables stage Friday October 26 at 6:30. Series tickets are only $40 for all four shows or individual show tickets can be purchased for $12.50. Tickets and more information can be found at



Penner is joined by long-time cohort Paul O’Neill on bass and back-up guitar.

Family ShowTime Series on sale now!
All four shows for only $40
Fred Penner- Friday October 26
Alex Zerbe- Friday January 25
Sleeping Beauty: Dufflebag Theatre- March 1
Axé Capoeira- May 10
​Individual tickets $12.50


Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winning A Streetcar Names Desire tells the story of two sisters – one clinging to a bygone era, the other embracing the reality of post-WW2 life in America.

Now the Venables Theatre welcomes Ballet Kelowna back to the South Okanagan this fall as they bring the classic to life with their first full-length ballet, an adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Dancing between present and past, between real-time New Orleans and old-world Mississippi, the work’s dreamlike transitions are particularly well-suited to balletic interpretation.

In 2006, Simone Orlando inspired and danced the role of the sister Blanche Dubois for Ballet BC. Today, as Ballet Kelowna’s Artistic Director, she revisits the work for a new generation.

Considered Williams’ greatest drama, A Streetcar Named Desire explores poignant themes that echo today’s headlines: shifting social mores; power and dominance; gender stereotyping; and politics.

This timeless adaptation by choreographer John Alleyne, Ballet BC’s former Artistic Director, aligns with Ballet Kelowna’s mandate to encourage and promote the work of Canadian choreographers.

“John Alleyne is one of Canada’s most established and renowned choreographers. By presenting the monumental ballet, A Streetcar Named Desire, we are acknowledging his significant contribution to dance in Canada, while honouring his enormous legacy to the art form,” said Orlando.

Nine Ballet Kelowna dancers are supported by emerging artists from the Victoria Academy of Ballet to perform this stunning work. Produced with the generous support of Ballet BC, A Streetcar Named Desire is performed to the original jazz score by award winning B.C.-based composer Tobin Stokes.

A Streetcar Named Desire is presented by Venables Theatre with the support of the Community Presenters Assistance program (of the BC Arts Council and BC Touring Council) along with the Coast Oliver Hotel.

Ballet Kelowna brings their artistry to Venables Theatre October 27 at 7:30 p.m. at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for students. For more information visit

Marc Atkinson Trio performs

Friday, October 12th marks the first concert of this season’s South Okanagan Concert Society’s program. The Marc Atkinson Trio, a group described as “melodically captivating, sensually charged and ferociously, technically awe inspiring” will be the catalyst for high spirits at the Frank Venables Theatre.

Juno-nominated Marc Atkinson, on guitar, is backed by Scott White on acoustic bass and Brett Martens on rhythm guitar as well as guest artist Cameron Wilson on violin.

Marc is known for his ability to spin out seemingly impossible–to-play, breathtaking lines at will. The emotional nuance and sense of humour he brings to his work has engaged audiences for more than two decades. He draws on classical, jazz, roots, and even some rock traditions to delight his audience with new takes on old tunes and sensitive renderings of his own highly melodic compositions.

Brett Martens, pulls from his knowledge of soul, jazz, reggae and latin music. His percussive guitar feel is sensitive, yet lively and infectious. He leads and performs with many bands of his own.

Scott White is a multi-faceted bassist and music therapist currently residing in Berlin. He has performed with many of Canada’s most renowned musicians and toured the world. He manages to practice music therapy in various hospitals, compose and teach while acting as a music director for a Cirque du Soleil show in Germany.

Take all the Trio has to offer after four award winning CDs and decades of touring and then add the sounds of Cameron Wilson’s sweet and playful violin! Versatile and talented, his work showcases many genres of music. It comes as no surprise that he has performed with the CBC Radio orchestra, the Vancouver Bach choir and also with Bryan Adams, Spirit of the West and Raffi.

Tickets are on sale now at or at the theatre box office Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 to 3 pm. 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. All concerts in the series start at 7:30 pm.

Art overflows at upcoming show

Overflowing with creativity, Oliver’s 35th annual Fall Art Show and Sale welcomes art lovers this coming weekend. The multimedia arts event includes photography, fibre art, three-dimensional art, watercolours, oils, acrylics, mixed / other media, and two categories for youth. In the competitive portion, a flood of 113 works have been entered. This year, the theme is “Go with the Flow”. In addition, three special exhibits are featured.

The Fall Art Show and Sale spans two days, Saturday September 29 (3 – 9 p.m.) and Sunday September 30 (12 – 5 p.m.), at the Oliver Community Centre, 6359 Park Drive. The event shares the same weekend at the same venue as the Cask and Keg and Festival of the Grape. Admission is by donation, with a draw to win a tempting wine fridge or a work of art.

Saturday’s visitors can vote for their favourite in each media category, and for overall “Best Interpretation of the Theme”. As excitement bubbles up for the awards show, the classy quartet Jazz Out West keeps the evening flowing smoothly. The live music and dessert reception begin at 7 p.m.

Twenty-eight winners will be presented with their quail trophies beginning at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Honorable mentions will also recognize meritorious work.

Sunday’s admission is through a Festival of the Grape ticket only. Patrons of the grape who visit the Community Centre will discover artistic creativity flowing, not just wine. The popular wine fridge draw continues. Stroll the exhibit and find the award-winning artwork, marked with rosettes.

Many works of art are for sale both days. The show attracts participation from established professionals and gifted newcomers alike. It is also a chance to meet the artists, and learn a little about their work.

In addition to the art competition, both days also feature special displays by local artists. CreateAbility, a program dedicated to making art accessible, will exhibit work by diversely-abled adults. The RipOff Artists are ten talented artists, each working in their own medium, dedicated to “ripping off” a dead artist’s work in their own style. This year, the RipOffs recreate the colourful “Three People Singing” by indigenous Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. A tribute to John Salsnek, a renowned Willowbrook painter who passed away last year, will also be mounted.

The Fall Art Show and Sale is an annual presentation by the Oliver Community Arts Council.