Saturday, November 28, 2015

Looking for great entertainment in Niagara this weekend?

If you are sick and tired of hearing all about "Black Friday" sales and the related hoopla, you might be ready for a step back from the mass-consumerism brink and take in some entertainment instead.  That's what I plan to do this weekend, after changing my "Black Friday" evening to a "Snack Friday" evening.  I didn't accomplish much of anything last evening, but in the overall scheme of things, it was a roaring success.

But I digress...

Okay, lots to see and do this weekend in Niagara, and the variety is literally endless.  For example, tonight at 7:30 Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will be rocking when Darlene Love returns to town to play the new venue.  In fact, this will be the first HOT TICKET presentation at the new hall and the 60s tunes will be flowing freely for the entire evening.

Since it is already the end of November, you can count on some holiday favourites thrown in for good measure, too.

Meantime, I will be at Robertson Hall at the FirstOntario PAC for the next-to-last performance of Essential Collective Theatre's premiere presentation at their new home, Gary Kirkham's Falling:  A Wake.  The show starts at 7 pm, with a matinee performance tomorrow afternoon at 2 to wrap up the fall run for ECT.

The play is being directed by ECT's Artistic Director, Monica Default, who suggests the play reaffirms our ability to care for one another.  Kirkham is an Ontario-based writer who premiered the play at Kitchener's Lost & Found Theatre in 2007.  It was later produced by the Blyth Festival.

The story involves Elsie and Harold, owners of a small Niagara farm who are awakened on a very quiet, star-lit autumn night by a very strange occurrence.  They meet a young man who has just literally "dropped in" on them.

Falling:  A Wake stars the real-life husband-and-wife team of Patricia LaRiviere and Alex Guard, both based here in St. Catharines and each of them sporting a lengthy resume of Canadian theatre, film and television credits.

Tomorrow afternoon at 2:30, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra presents their second Masterworks concert of the season, entitled Blaze of Glory.  The concert will be their first Masterworks performance in their new home, the acoustically-perfect Partridge Hall.

Canadian violinist James Ehnes joins Music Director Bradley Thachuk and the NSO for Lalo's ever-popular Symphonie espagnole, which Ehnes recorded years ago with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.  If you are interested in getting a copy of that performance for your own collection, email me at and I will see what I can do.

Ehnes will be bringing along his beloved 1715 "Marsick" Stradivarius violin for the performance, which will also feature Canadian composer Kevin Lau's Heroes and Angels and Ravel's vivid orchestration of Mussorgsky's epic Pictures at an Exhibition.

Tickets to all three of these performances are available through the FirstOntario PAC box office, or by calling 905-688-0722.  You can also purchase online by going to

Next door at the equally impressive Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture presents Her Voice in Black:  Black Female Narratives in Opera by Carla Chambers at the DART Theatre.

This talk will take place Sunday afternoon at 3 pm and is open to the public and free of charge.

I really like what the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts has compiled in their ongoing Art is in the City series.  It is interesting, thought-provoking and covers literally all aspects of the arts.

 I encourage you to explore more of the offerings they have planned for this season.  You can find out more by going to

So there you go.  Lots of reasons to avoid shopping this weekend in Niagara.  After all, you can always do that some other time, right?

Have a great weekend!

November 28th, 2015.

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