Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love music? Lots to see and hear this coming week in Niagara post-Valentine's Day

So here we are, Valentine's Day drawing to a close for another year, and you feel the need for some love and cultural edification to help pull you through the remainder of the month of February, right?

Well, I can't do much about the love part, although I found it rather interesting today the number of men I found about 4 pm scanning the remaining cards and gifts at Food Basics before heading home for the night.  Tip to the gentlemen out there:  don't leave it until 4 pm on February 14th!  Wherever you choose to go to get your sweetie something, this day comes every year just like birthdays do, so can we plan a bit ahead, guys?

I am not being smug here.  Actually I am very lucky in this regard, as my life companion disdains all that Valentine's Day stuff anyways, and even though I dutifully try to surprise her every year with a little something, reciprocation has not happened yet.  Not that I am complaining; if we start doing that I have to try harder myself, and right now I can get by with the bare essentials and that's fine with me.

Today for example, I picked up a bottle of wine and a couple of luscious doughnuts at Beechwood Doughnuts for this evening after dinner, and as of this writing, the wine was divine.  The doughnuts will have to wait until snooze-time ends...

I was happy, though, to see the crowds still lining up at Beechwood today as they do most every day.  My plan to pick two of our favourites was thwarted when the person ahead of me got the last dutchie, so I had to go with plan B and try a couple of new additions to the menu, neither of which have been sampled yet, so I can't give you a report.

Boy, I have taken a detour already, haven't I?  Must be the thoughts of those doughnuts calling my name downstairs as I write this evening.  Curse you, Beechwood Doughnuts, for being so darn good!

Okay, once the day is done and you want something more than hearts and flowers, how about some great music?  Primavera Concerts has you covered Sunday afternoon at 3, as they return to home base at Silver Spire United Church on St. Paul Street for a performance by a trio known collectively as Sonic Escape.  Made up of Shaw Wyckoff on flute, Maria Keneko Millar on violin and Nan-Cheng Chen on cello, the trio is dubbed "daredevils with instruments".  You can look them up on YouTube or catch their links on Facebook in order to see what they are all about.

Along with music, Sonic Escape blends stories, dance moves and more into a highly-imaginative programme, and they bring their show to St. Catharines tomorrow afternoon at 3.  Tickets will be available at the door, or in advance by calling 289-990-3630, or by going to

Centre for the Arts at Brock University continues with several concerts this coming week, including Theatre Terra presenting Spot the Dog in the Wee Ones Wiggle Series for kids on the holiday Monday afternoon at 2:30.  This performance will take place at the David S. Howes Theatre, by the way.

Over at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre, Veterans of SNL perform Wednesday evening at 7:30, and Bettye LaVette & The Walkervilles on Friday, February 20th.  Tickets to all Centre for the Arts performances are available by calling the box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257, or going to

And next weekend, both the Niagara Symphony and Hamilton Philharmonic have romantically-themed concerts planned.  The Niagara Symphony presents their Pops! 3 concert, entitled Dancing Queen!  Yes, it is the music of Abba, with the Jeans 'n Classics Band joining the NSO and Maestro Thachuk Saturday evening at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre.  Not sure if you have to wear polyester to get in or not, but you can try...

The music of Abba has never gone away since they topped the charts in the mid-to-late 70s and early 80s, thanks in no small part to the musical Mamma Mia.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am sure they'll pack the house next weekend for these two shows.  You can order your tickets through the Brock box office or take a chance and pick them up at the door.

The Hamilton Philharmonic presents a more traditional programme for a romantic night out next Saturday evening, February 21st.  Entitled Romeo & Juliet, the concert features the Romeo & Juliet Suite No. 1 by Prokofiev; the ever-popular Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture by Tchaikovsky and the Love Scene from Berlioz' opera Romeo & Juliet.  Just be careful if you sit in balcony seats for this concert...

The guest-conductor audition process continues with the HPO concert next weekend, as Alain Trudel takes to the podium for the concert of grand symphonic works all inspired by Shakespeare's famous love story.

The concert will take place the Great Hall of Hamilton Place and tickets are available at the box office by calling 905-526-7756 or by going to

So there you go - several concerts and events coming up over the next week, many with romantic themes to make you appear like a cultured hero, guys.  And none of them involve watching the movie 50 Shades of Grey, either.

You're welcome!

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14th, 2015.

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