Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lots to see and do in Niagara this weekend!

Now that spring appears to have officially arrived in Niagara, what with the buds appearing on the trees and my lawn already getting very green from all the rain of the past week, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to keep us occupied this weekend. However, once you're done and ready for some entertainment, I have a couple of suggestions for you this weekend.

Last evening I was at the opening of Lakeside Players' latest show at the Port Mansion Dinner Theatre in Port Dalhousie, Neil Simon's Plaza Suite, which runs to May 16th. It's a great show, with fine acting by locals including Mike Ceci, and directed by Paul Wintemute, one of the original founders of Lakeside Players. Plaza Suite, though written in 1968, still holds up well today, and the ensemble does the script credit with generally strong performances all around. With limited budgets and a tiny theatre space in which to work, it is next to impossible to re-create the elegance of the Plaza, but they do their best and it comes off fine thanks to the strong cast. Lots of opportunity to see this show before it closes, but call ahead for tickets at 905-934-0575. There are also dinner show and Sunday brunch show packages available.

After this season, Lakeside Players will have to find a new home, due to the planned redevelopment of old Port Dalhousie which appears to be a go on all fronts at this point. Let's hope this theatre group, founded only five years ago, finds a new home somewhere in the peninsula if not right in St. Catharines.

On Sunday afternoon, the final Masters concert with the Niagara Symphony takes place at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at the Centre for the Arts, Brock University. This will be the final audition appearance by Toronto-born conductor Bradley Thachuk, as he is one of the three remaining candidates vying to assume the post of Music Director of the Niagara Symphony next season. It promises to be an interesting concert, leading off with the ubiquitous Chase the Sun by T. Patrick Carrabre, and this will be the final performance of the work this season. Also on the programme is Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, the 'Emperor', featuring young Canadian pianist David Louie, and the Symphony No. 2 in D Major by Sibelius.

Last time out for the Pops performance, I found the orchestra sounded somewhat ragged and disorganized under Thachuk's baton, so it will be interesting to see how they do with some weighty orchestral works in the final Masters concert of the season. I am particularly looking forward to hearing the Sibelius, as this will be a real test of how the conductor interacts with the orchestra.

I will be there as always, with my customary table set up in the lobby with a great selection of music available to buy, including well-priced recordings of both the Sibelius and Beethoven works. Lots of other great recordings available for purchase as well, so be sure to stop by and say hello before, after or during intermission at the concert tomorrow. You can also order through my website, A Web of Fine Music, at, or simply email me directly at

There are still tickets available through the Brock box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257.

See you on Sunday!

April 10th, 2010.

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