Saturday, February 28, 2009

Who says there is nothing to do in Niagara?

Every now and then, I hear someone say "There's nothing to do around here!". If you are a patron of the arts locally, there's a wealth of concerts and other events coming up over the next few weeks that should take your mind off the last remnants of Ol' Man Winter. Here's a sampling of this week alone:

Last evening, I was in attendance at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at Brock University for the return of John Sherwood and The Jazz Nine, a presentation of the Department of Music in their ENCORE! Professional Concert Series. John quipped off the top of the show the return engagement only took ten years to happen, so the first performance ten years ago must have been a good one! Sherwood and his boys were in fine form last evening, and the near-capacity crowd gave them lots of encouragement. Many in the audience were students at Brock, taking a music appreciation course, I gather, and they generally seemed to be into it; they even shut off their I-Phones during the performance!

This evening, Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects, located at the old Courthouse opposite the market in downtown St. Catharines, opens their new show: David Mamet's American Buffalo, which promises to be an entertaining evening. Mamet's characters, especially here, are, shall we say, rather earthy, so if you do not enjoy coarse language on stage, you'd best stay away from this one. Starring Ric Reid, the show is directed by his wife, Artistic Director Kelly Daniels. I believe opening night tonight is all but sold out at the Sullivan Mahoney Theatre, but the play runs straight through to March 15th, so lots of time for you to catch this one. Tickets are available by calling 905-938-1222.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we have two afternoon performances that will be of interest to lovers of chamber music and choral music: The Gallery Players of Niagara present the Niagara Winds at 2 pm at the acoustically-perfect St. Barnabas Church on Queenston Street. Music for woodwind quintet will be featured, with compositions by Milhaud, Francaix, Barthe and Taffanel. Tickets are available by calling 905-468-1525. Meantime, Brock University's Department of Music Choral Series partners with Redeemer University College Choir, based in Ancaster, for an afternoon of choral music called Choral Glories. The performance takes place at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Ontario Street and gets underway at 3 pm. Music ranges from Canadian to international composers from the Renaissance to the present day. Composers represented include Purcell, Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn and many others. Harris Loewen will share the podium with Dr. Christiaan Teeuwsen of Redeemer University College; other performers include Lesley Kingham on piano and organ, and trumpeter Tim White.

That's all this weekend in Niagara! Looking ahead to next weekend, the big event will be the next performance of the season for Chorus Niagara, the 100-strong voice choir conducted by Robert Cooper. They are always a joy to watch, and next Saturday, March 7th, they perform Bach's B-Minor Mass at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria in downtown St. Catharines. This promises to be one of the highlights of the Lenten season, as we move ever closer to Easter in mid-April. Tickets are available through the Brock box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257. If you love great choral singing and choral masterpieces, next Saturday evening is a must-attend performance.

So there, now you know there is lots to do in Niagara this week alone to keep you warm and comfortable. Just think: you hear some great music, support our local arts organizations, and ignore Winter 2009. What better deal can be had in Niagara at this time of year?

February 28th, 2009.

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