Friday Night Live’s “Wine Festival Madness” lands on the eve of the Fall Art Show and Sale and Hester Creek’s Garlic Festival and two days before Festival of the Grape. Lots of great visiting talent here to stomp the grape and kick the music into high gear.

Last time around we had another amazing performance from Stef and Dan Laramie. Richard, Marcel, Neil and Bianca, James, Joe 50 and even me (sorry).

Come kick the doors down with your own vibe this Friday coming. The beer is cold and the music IS of course always sooooo HOT! Marcel Morneau and our crazy talented artists will fill the night. We crank up the music shortly after 7:00. The music is huge…Tons of talent…all we need is you!

We are licensed. We have beer, wine, coffees with a kick and our usual great gelato and snacks, sweet treats and of course…our great host Marcel. Medici’s this Friday Sept 30th at 7:00 PM. 522 Fairview Road. 250-498-2228.

Top-notch choir from University of Alberta to sing in Oliver

2013-choirJoin the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus in concert as it comes to Oliver on its 69th annual Spring Tour.

University of Alberta Mixed Chorus 69th Spring Tour

with the Faculty of Education Handbell Ringers

Oliver Alliance Church

May  2, 2013

 7:30 pm

Admission $5  Adults  

Students FREE!!

The UAMC is a student run choir that is based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB. It was founded in 1944 by Gordon Clark, a medical student, who wanted to bring together students who shared his love for music and singing. Sixty nine years later, that tradition continues.

Led by conductor Dr. Robert de Frece, the UAMC is pleased to present a delightful repertoire of choral works ranging from the Baroque to Broadway. Highlighted works include J. S. Bach’s ‘Bist du bei mir’, William Byrd’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium,’ and selections from the musical ‘The Music Man.’

Handbell-Ringers-2011-12Featured with the UAMC are the Faculty of Education Handbell Ringers, who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Founded by Dr. Robert de Frece in 1988, the Handbell Ringers have dazzled and entertained audiences with their quick hands and beautiful tones. This group plays one of largest collections of handbells and chimes in Canada. The Handbell Ringers will be playing “Syncopated Clock,” and a specially commissioned arrangement of “Belle of the Ball.” Both pieces were composed by Leroy Anderson whose works were often showcased by the Boston Pops Orchestra.

The UAMC is one of the University’s oldest groups. Each season, its members come together to share a love of music, under the inspirational leadership of Dr. Robert de Frece. For almost 70 years the UAMC has created beautiful music, and shared it with communities like Oliver in the spirit of those who founded the group in 1944.

The Oliver concert is sponsored by the South Okanagan Secondary School Enrichment Fund Society. The SOSS Enrichment Fund Society provides bursaries and scholarships to qualifying graduating students from SOSS going on to post-secondary education. The Society is sponsoring the event by finding billets for 65 performers, hosting a dinner before the concert and taking interested chorus members on a hike.

UPDATE from SOSS!!  

“We were able to arrange for Lisa Ante, the SOSS Music teacher, to involve her Music Futures class in the concert. They are going to sing with the chorus for the final two songs. They will rehearse with the choir in the afternoon and then be given a vocal workshop by the conductor. It should be a great experience for approx 25 students and their teacher. The Youth Ambassadors are going to assist in a coffee and dessert table at intermission.  Students of course will be given free admission.”  from Janet Shannon

For additional information, please reach the U of Alberta contact Nicola Gale at gale at ualberta dot ca or  SOSS Enrichment Fund contact Janet Shannon at larjanshannon at gmail dotcom

Come Swing!

Another great night of music at Medici’s in Oliver!

On Saturday October 6th, one of the hottest Okanagan Swing bands, Jazz Out West plays. David Esler will come up from Vancouver to join them with his virtuoso trumpet playing.Come listen, come sing, COME SWING.Tickets $20 at Medici’s and Beyond Bliss in Oliver and at Dolce’s in Osoyoos

Concert season opens with lyric soprano

Submitted by Marion Boyd, SOCS

Last year at this time the South Okanagan Concert Society was reassuring citizens they could look forward to world class concerts despite the massive fire that consumed the local high school and auditorium. Switching to the temporary venue of the Oliver Alliance Church, a concert series was specifically designed to take advantage of the acoustics in a smaller, more intimate setting. It was a huge success.

This year, while construction of the new auditorium is underway, the concert society has again shaped a series to bring delight to a community rising above its grievous loss. Flex pass tickets are on sale now at Beyond Bliss (Oliver) and at Imperial Office Pro (Osoyoos). The four admission pass costs only $60. The four admissions are entirely flexible and can be used together or in any combination. Single admission is $20. Young people 17 and under are welcome to attend the concerts free. All the concerts will begin at the new start time of 7:30 pm.

Here’s what we have in store for you! On Friday, November 2 the stunning soprano, Tracy Fehr (pictured above), will offer a programme to showcase her classically trained lyric voice. Expect operatic arias, German lieder, arrangements of African-American spirituals and musical theatre hits. Dennis Nordlund will provide the piano accompaniment.

Friday, November 30th a complete change of pace will occur when the 2011 Canadian Grand Master Fiddle champion, Daniel Gervais, performs. He has been playing violin since age 5 and moves comfortably from fiddle styles to classical violin. No wonder one of his CDs has the title “Endless Possibilities”.



Some familiar faces appear for the Friday, February 8th concert, Duo Rendezvous. Jasper Wood, violinist, has enthralled the audience before and when he joins with the charismatic Daniel Bolshoy on classical guitar the outcome will undoubtedly be musical magic. Last year Daniel’s virtuosity and his charming ability to communicate with the audience created a coterie of new local fans.




The series will conclude on Thursday, March 7th , when the Concert Society takes a firm step out onto a limb. This concert is like no other. Woody Holler and his Orchestra are purveyors of western swing. They love to explore the crossover between jazz and western and produce “gypsy jazz from the saddle”. Raised on cowboy songs and later trained in classical voice and opera, Woody’s voice plus violin, guitar and bass create arrangements rich with virtuosity and style.

This is a series guaranteed to chase away any winter blues with music, music, music!

Sage Valley Voices celebrate the 70s

by Heather Fink

The Sage Valley Voices is a 45 to 50-member adult choir based at the United Church in Oliver.  Alice DeRoche has fearlessly, and with much patience and good humor, led the Voices for the past eleven years, selecting the music, writing scripts, sewing costumes, and she has even had a hand in designing sets for the choir’s performances.  A busy lady indeed!

The Sage Valley Voices will present their 2012 spring concerts, “GOLDEN DECADE OF THE 70s“, featuring a variety of cool music from the 1970’s – think ABBA, McCartney, Cash, Denver, Broadway show tunes and more! – on Saturday May 5 at 7:00 pm and Sunday May 6 at 2:30 pm at the Oliver United Church.  Admission is $10 at the door and includes sweet treats following the concerts.

The choir is a non-profit organization and proceeds from the concerts support local community outreach programs such as the church’s soup kitchen and the Oliver Food Bank.  Donations of non-perishable food for the food bank are always welcome at the concerts.

The choir usually performs four concerts per year, two in December and two in April or May, and welcomes new members – no audition required.  Rehearsals are on Monday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Oliver United Church. If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a part of this fun-loving show choir, or for more information, please contact Lois Bzdel at 250-497-7966, or Alice DeRoche at 250-492-4159.

Sage Valley Voices sing the 70s

The Sage Valley Voices are hard at work practicing for their upcoming concert “The Golden Decade of the Seventies”. This concert has something for everyone – a little country, theatre songs, movie music, and those great songs you heard on the radio – so don’t miss it !

Saturday May 5 
7:00 p.m.
Sunday May 6 
2:30 p.m.
$10 at the door
Oliver United Church
Admission includes refreshments
Donations to the Oliver Food Bank welcome!

Arts Council receives performance award

On March 14 the Oliver Commmunity Arts Council was approved for an annual grant from the BC Arts Council totalling $7923.00 to assist with 2012-13 operating costs.

The British Columbia Arts Council (BCAC) is an independent agency that supports arts and cultural activity in communities across BC: not only arts councils, but also dance and drama companies, art galleries, local museums and music festivals. The BC Arts Council receives funding from the Province of BC to disburse through grants, community initiatives, training and scholarships. The Council also acts as an advocate for the Arts in B.C., provides public education, and conducts research that helps inform provincial arts policies.

The Oliver Community Arts Council completes a set of essays and questionnaires each September in order to qualify for BCAC funding. Anyone wishing to see the complete application from September 2011 is welcome to contact the OCAC at OliverCAC@

The award is divided into three components:

1) Basic Assistance ($1423.00): This is determined by community population size and distance from the Lower Mainland. This year’s figure was similar to previous years’ amounts at $1423.00

2) Local Government Matching ($3500) :  The BC Arts Council agrees to pay up to $4000 when proof is supplied that local government will match the amount. Oliver Parks and Recreation Society budgets $3500 annually for the Oliver Community Arts Council, and this figure has been matched by the provincial arts body.

3) Annual Performance Award ($3000): For the last two years, the Oliver Community Arts Council has written an additional essay to demonstrate meritorious programming, events, and administration that meets the “core values” of the BC Arts Council.  These core values include: artistic excellence, a vibrant arts and cultural community, inclusiveness and cultural diversity, encouragement of artistic activity, transparent, fair, and accountable administrative and adjudicative processes, and clear operational goals.  The arts council asked for and received $3000 this year, up from last year’s figure of $2000.

The Oliver Community Arts Council is grateful for the financial support of the Province of BC, the BC Arts Council, and local government (Town of Oliver and RDOS through the support of Oliver Parks and Recreation) to provide much needed operational funding.

Trio wows Oliver audience

by Sue Morhun

Three women in perfect and effortless harmony, all with glorious voices, all capable of covering a diverse repertoire and all equally capable of sharing undeniable musical abilities in a way that keeps an entire audience in their thrall. That was the gift the extraordinarily talented a cappella group, The Kallisto Trio, gave South Okanagan Concert Society goers last week. It was evening not have been missed!

From the first intriguing moment at the start when the light tinkle of a temple bell filled a darkened candlelight room until the last notes of “Auld Lang Syne” faded away at the end, the audience was in awe. It was a very special evening. Not surprisingly, words fail to do justice. It was all about hearing and an evening filled with glorious sounds. The artistry, the presentation, the music choices, the Trio’s own obvious enjoyment with the music and each other filled the room. It often left us in awe. Many times as the last clear notes of a piece faded away, the audience was utterly silent before the room filled with audible sighs and then enthusiastic applause. Comments like “amazing and joyous voices”, “they were born to sing”,“what a treat!” “they sparkle, ” filled the room at the Oliver Alliance Church both at intermission and when the evening closed. No one wanted it to end.

Lead soprano Catherine Laub, soprano Karen Mang and mezzo soprano Fabiano Katz all bring extensive and formal training to their craft. They are writers, composers, conductors, teachers and soloists as well. What is not so easily acquired, however, is the passion, good humour, friendship and musical curiosity that underlines what they do so well. Their varied program demonstrated those rarer qualities, ones that result in true audience engagement. It was also inspirational.

One could go on forever about their technical capabilities, perfect balance and blend, excellent diction, controlled phrasing and more. I will focus rather on their ability to have the audience go beyond just hearing a well presented note but going one step further enabling us to “feel” that note and the story behind it. We heard the ice crack in “Frobisher Bay”. We shared the emotion underscoring “Love Is Not All”. We struggled to stay in our seats with the rollicking French Canadian “Reel a Bouche”. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t note the extra dimension provided by their instrumentation. It brought more delicious sounds into their vocal mix – singing bowls, temple bells, a child’s xylophone, a celtic drum, recorders, clarinet, guitar and, best of all, the kazoo. As kazoo players they are unparalleled! Equally interesting is that fully one half of their program featured Canadian content including premiering two touching pieces by Vancouver born cellist Stefan Hintersteininger.

One particular piece continues to resonate with this reviewer. Titled “Remember” with words by late Victoria poet Christina Rosetti and lyrics by Canadian Stephen Chatman, the song entreated the listener to “remember me”. Ladies of the Kallisto Trio, be assured we certainly will remember you. Thank you for truly lovely evening.

Concert Season ready? Yes Yes Yes!

submitted by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

When the recent massive fire consumed the Oliver Venables Auditorium, citizens felt bereft. So much was destroyed and many wondered if the South Okanagan Concert Society would be able to bring world class concerts to the community this year. The answer to that question is YES! YES! YES!

The Concert Society knew that the renovations started at the auditorium before the fire would not be completed for this season. There was time to plan and to arrange for a temporary new venue at the Oliver Alliance Church. A concert series was designed specifically to take advantage of the acoustics in a smaller, more intimate setting . As the series took shape we knew we had a winner to bring delight to a community suffering a grievous loss.

Flex pass tickets are on sale now at Beyond Bliss in Oliver and at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos. A four admission pass costs only $60. The four admissions are entirely flexible and can be used together or in combination. Single admission is $20. Young people 17 and under are welcome to attend the concerts free. All the concerts will begin at the new start time of 7:30 pm.

So this is what we have in store for you! On Friday, October 28th, Alexander Sevastian, who hails from Belarus and became a Canadian citizen in 2005, will make you believe his accordion is a whole orchestra in one instrument. His dexterity is worthy of a concert pianist. It is hardly a surprise that he has captured first prize three times at the International Accordion Competition.

On Friday, November 25, 2011, the Kallisto Trio of Fabiana Katz, Catherine Laub and Karen Mang will perform a cappella with flawlessly tuned voices blending into one. They are known for classical mastery, Pop personality and Latin spice. Kallisto draws inspiration from every era of music history. The trio brings music from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods to life and then shifts effortlessly to jazz standards, pop hits, world music and gospel.

Solo guitarist, Daniel Bolshoy, will be on stage Friday, January 27, 2012. He has been a mega hit with his charismatic stage presence, a charming ability to communicate with the audience, and the ability to coax utter magic from his guitar.

The critics say this young man “immerses himself in his music, physically projecting the depth of its emotion while his virtuosity flows as if it were an instinctive force.”

He has recently been appointed to head the guitar department at the newly created Vancouver Symphony School of Music.

The series will conclude on Friday, February 24, 2012 with a performance by the Penderecki String Quartet. In the second decade of an extrordinary career, this celebrated chamber ensemble’s performing schedule takes them annually to the great concert stages of North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Making up this prestigious quartet are Jeremy Bell, violin, Jerzy Kaplanek, violin, Christine Vlajk, viola and Paul Pulford, cello.

This is a series with the transformational power to turn the grief of a community into joy through music.

Opera student delights crowd with stories and song

Oliver’s Jenavieve Moore, an opera student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London entertained a standing-room only crowd at a fundraising concert on Sunday August 14. The concert was supported by Oliver Word of Life church and members of the Oliver Community Arts Council.

The lyric soprano performed a generous set of nine pieces, interspersed with some lively entertaining chat about her music studies. Arts council member Stephanie Salsnek acted as mistress of ceremonies, with Val Friesen working hard behind the scenes as producer.

Opening the concert unannounced, Jena sang the Bach-Gounod arrangement of Ave Maria, accompanied by her mother Dorothy Moore on piano. Her final number was to be the equally famous arrangement of the same text by Franz Schubert. Her singing voice was unaffected, warm, and surprisingly rich given her youth and light speaking voice.

Pastor Henry Wiebe, who has known the soprano from childhood, asked a series of questions about Jena’s musical beginnings. She shared some delightful anecdotes from her lessons in piano, flute and voice. She revealed that, far from finding music practice a chore as most children do, music was used as a reward for completing her schoolwork.

In an inspired bit of Friesen’s programming, Jena treated the audience to a behind-the-scenes look at the rehearsal process between soprano and accompanist. Oliver piano students Hanna and Paul Ellis took turns accompanying Jena (pictured). First was the delicate Si mes vers avaient des ailes (“If my verses had wings”) by Reynaldo Hahn followed by the dramatic Zueignung (“Dedication”) by Richard Strauss.

Jena explained how difficult it is to accompany solo voice. “Unlike most instruments, the human voice must breathe. And the singer has the job of conveying the text, as well as music. An accompanist is normally expected to have not only rehearsed the music, but also studied the text. They need to know the breath marks, the translation of the words, their context in the opera, the history of how that piece is performed by that voice.” While the Ellis siblings were not expected to have prepared the texts, it was clear from Moore’s reaction that she was impressed with their piano technique.

After each performance Jena chatted with the Ellises about how to better phrase the music to match her voice and style. At times, she needed a measure to slow down, or a pause inserted, or the volume changed, or a note delayed until she had sung a particular consonant. After listening in on this dialogue between vocalist and accompanist the audience was treated to sections of each song once more. Judging from the gasps, murmurs and nods in the crowd, the audience could well appreciate the improvements in performance when piano and voice collaborated.

“When the pianist understands my voice and the music, I feel incredibly supported, and my performance can improve dramatically,” Jena explained. It was a unique and insightful moment for the audience.

MC Stephanie Salsnek continued the interview asking questions about Jena’s gruelling class schedule at Guildhall. The audience was intrigued to learn that the instructional format focuses almost exclusively on performance, not study. Instructors prepare the students for the rigorous life as a professional artist by surprising them daily with changes to their class schedule, unannounced performances, sight readings, and other stress-inducing challenges. Students must be ready at a moment’s notice to sing on demand in a foreign language, give an interview, conduct a seminar on some operatic topic, and so on, all with a calm professional demeanour. The process is designed to weed out students who cannot handle the typical pressures of a performance artist.

The audience also had an opportunity to question Jena about her voice and education. The young student remained poised and eloquent, already displaying her Guildhall training. In response to a question about caring for her voice, Jena explained that excellent voice coaching in childhood prevented strain and injury. “Common sense” keeps her voice in shape: plenty of sleep, balanced diet, exercise, prompt medical care — and no vices!

She dispelled the stereotype about “fat opera singers standing and singing on stage” by sharing anecdotes about her stage movement classes. Being an opera singer is physically demanding. She must learn a variety of dance styles from stately Renaissance to hip hop. “Many operas are updated to modern settings, so we must be prepared for anything.” She is scheduled to learn stage fighting next year, including hand to hand combat and swordplay. With a shy smile she admitted that opera singers must be prepared to act with passion, not only fight scenes but mad scenes and love scenes as well.

Jena demonstrated the differences in interpretation between two composers who use the same text. Robert Schumann, using the text Du bist wie eine Blume (“You are like the flower”), created a passionate score that reflected a lover’s restrained desire. The ascetic Franz Liszt took the same text but gave it a sacred musical treatment, complete with bell-like chords. The resulting interpretation was a prayer for a young girl’s innocence.

President Penelope Johnson, on behalf of the Oliver Community Arts Council, presented a cheque for $1000 towards Jena’s second-year tuition. She encouraged others to meet that challenge, explaining that expenses continue to skyrocket after graduation. “Between gigs a struggling artist must still pay for rent in high-priced cities, travel, fancy frocks, and fees for voice coaching, accompanists, publicity agent and photographer,” explained Johnson, adding wryly, “and there’s more ‘between’ than ‘gig’”. Many talented hopefuls quit while waiting for their first big break.

To date, Jena has received sponsorship for half of her staggering $26,000 tuition. A free-will collection was held while Jena played John Denver’s Annie’s Song on flute, netting another $1250. In addition, some audience members picked up forms for monthly donations to Jena’s bank account.

Despite the heat of the afternoon, the audience was reluctant to leave, and more than willing to be treated to one final selection. As an encore, Moore displayed her multi-tasking abilities by accompanying herself on the piano while singing the lush Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém (Song to the Moon) from the fairy-tale opera Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak.

The audience recognized Jenavieve’s talent with a standing ovation, and many lingered to speak with her at a reception in the church hall.

For more information about contributing to Jena’s tuition, contact the arts council at olivercac

Photo Credits: Val Friesen (encore Rusalka photo) and Heather Fink

Go – go – go Gospel at Music in the Park










Music in the Park goes Gospel this Thursday night! Come on out for some upbeat joyful music with these talented local musicians.

Music in the Park
Thursday August 11
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Oliver Visitors Centre “Riverside Patio”
$3 donation minimum suggested
Rain Venue: Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, 34274 – 95th St.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Bring a picnic! Dessert vendor on site.

What’s up next time at Music in the Park? It’s the magical Celtic and Classical Harp with Ingrid Schellenberg on Thursday August 18 and we close the summer with the cool stylings of  Jazz Out West on Thursday August 25.

We gratefully ackowledge our sponsor Valley First Credit Union and their “Feed the Valley” program. Donations to the Oliver Food Bank are welcome at the concert or at the credit union office.

Naden Band of the Maritime Forces Pacific Thursday August 4














At-ten—TION! Everyone on deck for what’s sure to be an amazing concert at Music in the Park on Thursday August 4. The popular Naden Band of the Maritime Forces Pacific performs at the Oliver Visitors Centre riverside patio from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

They will be playing a variety of music ranging from show tunes, to big band to dixieland jazz. Great music and terrific showmanship sure to please the whole family.  

We suggest a minimum $3 donation to support this arts council program. Items for the Oliver Food Bank are also encouraged. The arts council is grateful for the sponsorship of Valley First Credit Union. You can show  your appreciation for thier community spirit by bringing a non-perishable item for their Feed the Valley program. Your donation works locally. Or drop your food donation off at the the credit union office in Oliver Place Mall, and thank them for supporting a great concert series!

What’s on this Thursday, you ask? None other than Shindigger Rick Wood with an evening of classic rock-n-roll! Same time and place. Scroll down for the full Music in the Park schedule for August.

Rain venue: Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, 34274 – 95th Street.