Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lots to do on a winter weekend in Niagara and beyond

The last weekend of February is here, and if you are starting to feel a little bit of cabin fever this month, I have some worthwhile events you might want to attend this weekend, all of which are affordable and local.  Afterwards, you'll be primed and ready to crash on the couch for the Oscar telecast on Sunday night.

First off, the Niagara Symphony is set to sizzle this weekend with the third of their four Pops! concerts this season.  Tonight at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:30, Associate Conductor Laura Thomas leads the orchestra in a concert titled February Fiesta, featuring a programme of tangos, rumbas and other so-called "hot" favourite dances.  Don't know if the limbo is included, though...

In addition to the usual members of the percussion section, steel drums will be added for this weekend's concerts, and they are fiendishly deceptive instruments to play.  I once had an impromptu lesson on steel drums from a friend who played in one of the local steel drum ensembles, and it isn't as easy as it looks.

Guest artist for the concert is Lisa Lubin, born in St. Croix and a Canadian resident from a very young age.  Lisa began to play the steel drum as a way of staying connected to her culture, and now performs with her own band and even teaches the instrument in St. Catharines.

On Sunday afternoon, the Niagara Symphony Silent Auction winner from last November, Patrick Little, returns to the podium after conducting Offenbach's Can-Can last season.  He was the successful bidder again this year and we can only imagine what his wardrobe choices will be this season; hopefully no wardrobe malfunctions will occur!

I will be at both concerts this weekend, of course, with lots of great music available for purchase in the lobby before, after and at intermission tonight and tomorrow afternoon.  Tickets should be available, either at the door or through the Brock box office by calling 905-688-5550, ext. 3257.  I would imagine the Saturday night concert has better seating than Sunday afternoon, but you should be able to get into either one if you want to have some fun this weekend.

Elsewhere this weekend, the Chorus Niagara Children's Choir performs this Saturday evening at 7 at Silver Spire United Church on St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines.  The concert is titled Graced with Song and will highlight the young up and coming choral stars in the community.  For tickets, you should be able to pick them up at the door or go to

More choral music is available just a short drive down the QEW as well this weekend, as the acclaimed John Laing Singers with organist Christopher Dawes and Schulte Strings present Mystery and Majesty Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 3:30.  The Saturday concert is at Central Presbyterian Church in Hamilton; the Sunday afternoon concert is at St. Paul's United Church in Dundas.

Mystery and Majesty will explore contrasting sounds and musical ideas this weekend, from Handel's wonderful Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest to Haydn's jubilant Te Deum, from Mendelssohn's mighty Psalm 98 to Arvo Part's serene Berliner Messe.

Tickets for either concert are available at the door, or in advance by calling 905-628-5238 or going to

Finally, tonight is the final opportunity to catch neXt Company Theatre's fundraising production of the famous comedy horror musical, Rocky Horror Show, which was written by Richard O'Brien and was first staged back in 1973.  Personally, I have never seen the attraction of going to The Rocky Horror Show time after time, but people do and will continue to do so.  Who am I to question, then?  Besides, in addition to being a fundraiser for the company to help with future work for neXt Theatre Company, it will also feature a collaborative fundraising venture benefitting AIDS Niagara.  So it will help out in the community on several levels, and that's a good thing!

Performances wrap tonight at 8 and 11:30 pm, at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in downtown St. Catharines, and tickets are available at the door or through the Brock box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257.

So there you go, lots to do this weekend and none involves a huge amount of money but each provides a wealth of entertainment value for the money spent.

Enjoy the weekend!

February 25th, 2012.

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