Valdy and Fjellgaard will entertain

Ken Smedley presents THE CONTENDERSGary Fjellgaard and Valdy on their 16th Annual Tour of the Okanagan Interior with special guests Blu & Kelly Hopkins.

Sunday November 5


Frank Venables Theatre,

6100 Gala Street, Oliver, BC



Over the past 16 years of touring and recording together THE CONTENDERS have delighted audiences across Canada with their distinct Western/Roots/Folk style of music that champions vanishing values and the frontier spirit. As Canadian as they come, they are all rolled into one unique brand of character, humour, authenticity and sincerity. Gary Fjellgaard was recently inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame.  Fjellgaard, who has been a Juno Award Winner and a Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer, is one half of the CONTENDERS (with side-kick, Valdy – also a Juno Award Winner and a member of the Order of Canada).

An evening with THE CONTENDERS will lift your spirit, touch your soul and leave you grinnin’ from ear to ear – guaranteed! Get your tickets early to this evening of laughter and songs to fill your hearts – with The Boys of Rhythm – THE CONTENDERS!

Special Guests Blu and Kelly Hopkins, on the 16th Annual Contenders Tour, are an award winning, songwriting, multi-instrumentalist duo. Focusing on original material, their extensive repertoire lets them blend traditional and contemporary tunes in to their show with a dash of humor to achieve an entertaining, exciting, yet mellow brew of good times, good tunes!

Handbell Ringers Open First Concert Series show

As if the talents of duelling pianists Matt Herskowitz and John Roney were not enough, pre-show entertainment for the first show of the South Okanagan Concert Society’s 2017-18 series will be provided by our own Oliver Handbell Ringers in the lobby of the Venables Theatre.

The Bell Ringers will be performing prior to the 7:30 pm start of the SOCS first concert of the season,”Piano Chameleons: Classics with a Jazzy Touch”, on Friday, November 10th. The Bell Ringers will entertain from 6:45 to 7:15 in the Theatre foyer.  Come early and enjoy!

Tickets for this crowd pleasing event can be obtained online or at the theatre box office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10 and 3 pm.  All four concerts of the season, bought in advance, cost $19 each.  Any 2 or 3 tickets in advance are $21/ticket.   A single ticket in advance is $23 and a single ticket at the door is $25.   Children and Youth can come and explore their wide ranging tastes and interests for only $2.50!

Back row L to R: Julie Thorp, Rosemary Pritchard, Patricia Landry, Shana Cachola, Nicole Thorp, Ginette Aubin   Front row L to R: Helen Wollf, Ruth Knippelberg, Devin Riley, Jorden Harty, Liam Riley.       There is one missing ringer,  Sue Gay.


MacNeill wins jury prize at SSNAP

Katherine MacNeill, a member of the Oliver Community Arts Council, is having a winning autumn. Skilled as a mixed media collage artist, Katherine recently took home a coveted jury prize at the biennial Salt Spring National Art Prize (SSNAP), organized by one of the premier arts communities in Canada. Her submission, “Offroad East of Oyama BC”  was among the 50 shortlisted by an independent jury over the summer, out of a huge field of 2,000 works of art from across the country.

Eight winners were announced at the Gala Awards Night on Salt Spring Island on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Five awards were selected by jurors, and MacNeill’s work was one of these.  Three other works were selected by public vote.

In her artist statement, MacNeill explains: “My collages involve the collection, assembly and gluing of torn or cut paper and other recycled materials to recreate, for the most part, close and personal images of landscapes on canvas. Reusing old calendars, discarded magazines and books gives new vitality to re-purposed consumer goods.”

Katherine MacNeill also took home “Best in Show” and first prize in Mixed/Other Media at the Fall Art Show and Sale on September 30.

Art for People with Special Abilities

It is my belief that everyone, of all ages and abilities, has the right to freedom of creative expression through the arts. Adults with disabilities in the South Okanagan up until now have had very little opportunity to express their individual creativity through community based arts programs.

A pilot program called “Art for People with Special Abilities” was held in August of 2017 involving adults from the Oliver Day program (part of the South Okanagan Association for Integrated Community Living; SOAICL). Three volunteer instructors and 9 adults and 5 staff members participated in the 3 hour morning program. The response to this trial program was overwhelmingly positive. Please see attached photos for some visual images from that day.

A proposal for monthly meetings and support for the program was presented to the Oliver Arts Council Board of Directors in September of 2017. The board approved a motion to sponsor and financially support the pilot program.

We are now seeking volunteer instructors for our scheduled Oct. 26, Nov. 16 and Dec. 14 2017 morning sessions at the Quail’s nest Studio space. Funds are available to pay for basic supplies and to pay instructors an hourly wage. For further information please contact J. Bednarczyk at:

This pilot program is FREE and open to anyone living in the South Okanagan who has mental or physical disabilities. The space is wheelchair accessible. Feel free to drop in and check us out. No pre-registration is required.

Janet Bednarczyk


Please note that all participants shown in these photographs have given written permission for use of these photographs to be shared.

First concert, four hands

On Friday, November 10th the South Okanagan Concert Society will stage electrifying duets when Matt Herskowitz and John Roney, each on separate grand pianos, duel with each other as they incorporate  jazz and world beat influences into classical masterpieces.   Recognized internationally for their daring integration of jazz and classical music, they call their performance “Classics with a Jazzy Touch”.   It will be held in the beautiful new Venables Theatre in Oliver at 7:30 pm.

Tickets for this crowd pleasing event can be obtained online or at the theatre box office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10 and 3 pm.  All four concerts of the season, bought in advance, cost $19 each.  Any 2 or 3 tickets in advance are $21/ticket.   A single ticket in advance is $23 and a single ticket at the door is $25.   Children and Youth can come and explore their wide ranging tastes and interests for only $2.50!

Matt and John are internationally recognized pianists who arrived at the intersection of two musical styles from opposing directions:  Matt came to jazz via a  classical background having studied at classical conservatories including the Juilliard School and learned jazz on the streets.  John came to classical via jazz.  He studied at jazz conservatories including McGill, Berklee and the Henry Mancini Institute and learned classical on the streets!  In addition to being pianists, both were experienced composers and arrangers and brought developed ‘voice’ to the due.   As Piano Cameleons, their combined talents have created a unique ensemble in its virtuosity and artistic vision.   They manage to truly balance a classic sensibility with the freedom of jazz improvisation.

Blessed with total technical command, each pianist is capable of remarkable keyboard prowess.  Every concert is like an emotional rollercoaster that can soar from quiet pools to ecstatic peaks of intensity in one magnificent ride.  These partners are in total synch with each other and provide a visual treat in the very way they exchange glances, cueing in each new twist with a twinkle in the eye.

You can hear their individual styles in the performances.  They speak of their own distinct harmonic, melodic and rhythmic language yet they love to blend and compliment each other.  The process is exciting especially as they leave space in the midst of their arrangements to improvise and exchange original ideas ‘on the fly’.

Expect a stimulating evening of sensational music with well known pieces, heard as if for the first time, in a new context.    November can be a bleak month.   This concert promises to be anything but bleak!   Come and treat yourself!!

The Oliver Handbell Ringers will perform in the theatre foyer prior to the concert (6:45 to 7:15).    Look for more information on this talented local group.

Join the covey!

Quail lay their eggs in the spring and summer, but we start “renewing” our covey in the fall and winter.

As December approaches, now is the time to fill out your membership form for 2018. Right click and save the image below or open the link to a PDF Membership Form 2018 and print off your form.

What do you get? A subscription to the Creative Minds newsletter (10 issues per year) delivered to your Inbox on the day of publication. For artists, there are discounts on entries to the Fall Art Show and Sale, and participation in the Wine Capital Art Walk. For arts lovers, there are occasional special offers and advance notices on upcoming events and projects. Rental of the Quail’s Nest Art Centre is also made available to members only. For art-loving non-profits and for-profits, we are media savvy, providing advertising and promotion across a number of platforms. 


Oliver Grandmothers for Africa

A lively and upbeat meeting of the Oliver Grandmothers for Africa took place October 5th.   Two things led to high spirits.   The first was that Shirley Polk agreed to lead the group again for the coming year.   Her organizational skills and commitment have been a major factor in the success of the group.   The second was that treasurer, Leslie Marriott, announced $2000 had been raised by the group at the Festival of the grape and would be sent to the Stephen Lewis Foundation immediately to support grassroots assistance to African grandmothers facing the challenges of the AIDS pandemic on their families and communities. African Grandmothers, pressed by necessity, are taking multiple orphans into their homes, without any idea of how they will be able to feed so many mouths or heal so many broken hearts.

Money raised at FOG this year represents the single most financially successful fund raiser for the local group and speaks to the dedication of the members who sew and design items for sale as well as some high powered but friendly sales techniques. Oliverites and beyond now know about the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and are happy to make purchases that give them personal satisfaction as well as a sense of helping a very worthy cause.

The next important fund raiser will be the Fall Frenzy at Medici’s on Friday, October 20th from 10 to 3 pm.   (Watch for the familiar bright yellow posters around town.) Grab a few friends and come along to shop for beautiful bead and craft work done in Africa and for items also created locally.   It is a wonderful way to get a head start on your Christmas gift list, enjoy coffee or lunch with friends and know that every purchase helps open up new worlds of possibility for the people and communities who have been hit hardest by the HIV & AIDS pandemic.

The amazing Reveen will mesmerize you!

One of the most popular shows in the history of Canadian theatre is back! Reveen, the Superconscious Experience, on its Western Canadian BC Tour 2017.

Reveen was seen by over 6 million Canadians and now the legend continues as the son of the original Reveen, takes you to the inner and outer reaches of your imagination.

Since 1955, many people worldwide remember the Great Reveen, who entranced audiences for more than five decades with his mesmerizing and hilarious hypnotic shows, high-speed memory demonstrations, and mystical showmanship. Now son Tyrone Reveen is following in his father’s footsteps and continuing the family tradition. Ty learned his craft from the grand master himself – his father taught him everything he knew. The new Reveen show is playing in front of sold out audiences throughout Canada from British Columbia to St. John’s Newfoundland. The Superconscious Experience allows audience members to become the stars in one of the wildest and funniest shows that has left millions of people crying with laughter all over the world.

One-woman show will surprise & delight

Jake’s Gift, a beautifully written, critically acclaimed play is coming to the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver on Saturday October 21st at 7:30 p.m.

Canadian actress and playwright Julia Mackay delights audiences with Jake’s Gift, a surprisingly funny drama that tells the story of a Canadian WW2 veteran’s reluctant return to Normandy, France, for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. While roaming the shores of Juno Beach, Jake encounters Isabelle, a precocious ten-year-old from the local village whose inquisitive nature and charm challenge the old soldier to confront some long-ignored ghosts – most notably, the wartime death of his eldest brother, Chester, a once promising young musician.

Julia Mackay plays both roles: veteran Jake and precocious Isabelle. Mackay has won many awards for Jake’s Gift: outstanding performer, outstanding production, and best new play among them.

At its heart, Jake’s Gift is about the legacy of remembrance and makes personal the story behind one soldier’s grave. Since 2007, Juno Productions has toured this multi award-winning play to over 230 communities across Canada including international stops in Washington State, Tiverton & Birmingham, England, and to Normandy, France, for the 70th and 73rd Anniversary of D-Day.

Julia Mackay shares Jake’s Gift with us on Saturday October 21st at 7:30 at Frank Venables Theatre, 6100 Gala St, (corner of Fairview Rd) Oliver. Tickets are available online at and at the Theatre Box Office. For information, please visit our website or call (250) 498-1626.