Saturday, June 2, 2012

Events happening this weekend in St. Catharines

As I prepare to start another week away from work and perhaps even the internet if I can, just a few words here about the myriad of things going on this weekend in St. Catharines in the arts, all of which are worth your time and easy on the budget.

First off, let me apologize for not mentioning last week about the final concert of the season for Primavera Concerts, the ambitious little arts organization that could here in St. Catharines.  Last night at St. Barnabas Church on Queenston Street, Primavera presented Alain Trudel on trombone and Patrick Wedd on organ in a program that included duets and solo pieces by the likes of Host, Walton, Schnittke, Genzmer and Liszt, among others.  It was a varied and sometimes challenging programme, but those in attendance appreciated the consummate artistry of the two performers and their informative introductions to each piece.  I was invited to attend last evening, and was thrilled to be there.  I know of both musicians, of course, but didn't realize Patrick Wedd got some of his early experience here in St. Catharines when he was appointed to St. Barnabas at the tender age of 16!  Great concert last night, so thanks to Anne McPherson and the rest of the Primavera Concerts group for inviting me to attend the concert.

Now, this evening and tomorrow afternoon at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at the Centre for the Arts, Brock University, Chorus Niagara concludes their current season with a concert of operetta highlights, opera arias and choruses titled Deep in My Heart.  Music will be drawn from Lehar's The Merry Widow, Stauss' The Gypsy Baron, Herbert's Naughty Marietta and many others.  Artistic Director Robert Cooper has assembled a huge ensemble for these performances, including of course the 100-voice Chorus Niagara, along with the Side-By-Side High School Chorale and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra.  Featured soloists include Leslie Ann Bradley, soprano; Christopher Enns, tenor; and Benjamin Covey, baritone.

Performance times are Saturday evening at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 3 pm.  For tickets, call the Brock box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257.

Incidentally, two other notes about Chorus Niagara:  they performed last weekend with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bach-Elgar Choir at Hamilton Place in a performance of the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 that I understand was very well received; and Artistic Director Robert Cooper has been invited to the World Choir Games in Cincinnati in July, to act as an international adjudicator.  This event is commonly referred to as the "Olympics of Choral Music" so Mr. Cooper is in for an exciting time come July!

Meantime, Niagara Dance Company continues with performances this weekend at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in downtown St. Catharines, Saturday evening at 8 and Sunday afternoon at 2.  The final main stage performance of the current season presents choreography by two local choreographers, Artistic Director Mary Jo Mullins and veteran interdisciplinary artist Elizabeth Chitty, as well as an opportunity to see work by Toronto modern dance legend Peter Randazzo.  That in itself make the performance special:  I remember seeing him back in the 70s in Toronto - he really is a national treasure.

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

Finally, what's better on a Sunday than a free family event?  That's what's in store tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon from 1 to 4 pm at the Market Square in downtown St. Catharines when Carousel Players celebrate their 40th birthday with a big party for everyone who wants to attend.  Featured entertainment will be by Puppetmongers and The Drumming Fools, and there will be lots of activities to keep the kids happy too.  Oh, and free ice cream, which for us big kids is a big draw as well!

It's hard to believe it has been 40 years for Carousel Players; they began in 1972 and since then, an impressive 2.7 million students, teachers and families have seen their productions.  They have also produced over 10,000 school performances.  If you have not experienced Carousel Players yet, this is a perfect opportunity to see and hear what they are all about.

Enjoy your weekend!

June 2nd, 2012.

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