Saturday, April 28, 2018

Lots happening in the arts in Niagara this week!

In spite of the less-than-springlike weather at the moment, there is plenty to do in and around Niagara this week, all pertaining to the arts in one form or another.  So let's take a quick look at some of the things coming up you might want to take in.

First up, the 10th Annual In The Soil arts festival is on in downtown St. Catharines, and continues throughout the day tomorrow.  Events began on Friday evening at The Hub on James Street, which is currently closed off to vehicular traffic from King Street to St. Paul Street.

To celebrate the one decade milestone, organizers are welcoming over 500 artists, makers and arts workers to the city core to share 150 acts and art installations throughout downtown St. Catharines.  Events take place in venues ranging from a school and a church to the I.O.O.F. Lodge on James Street and even in a yurt.  Let's not forget the alleys, bars, cafes and right on James Street as well.

One of the nice things about In The Soil is there is literally something for everyone and every age, and much of it is deemed family-friendly.  Yes, there is a licensed Hub Bar open to those of age, but other than that the family is pretty much welcome everywhere else.

As always there are lots of food choices as well, and I even spied the Gorilla Cheese truck on James Street when I visited the area in the pouring rain this morning.

Don't let the weather deter you - the final day on Sunday promises to be a little bit better in that regard, so check out the In The Soil website for details on events still to come before things wind up Sunday evening.

Also tomorrow, Silver Spire United Church will play host to the next concert featuring the Eybler Quartet, as part of the Gallery Players of Niagara season.  The concert begins at 2 pm and the church is located at 366 St. Paul Street.

The Eybler Quartet will be taking audience members on a journey through the first 50 years of the string quartet, from the rarely heard but pioneering works of Franz Asplmayr, a colleague of Mozart and Haydn, no less, to the music of Mozart himself.  They'll be playing the Mozart A major Quartet K. 464, as well as the Beethoven Op. 130.

In fact, the concert will coincide with the launch of the Eybler Quartet's new CD, devoted to the music of Beethoven, and I am pretty sure you'll be able to pick up a copy of the new disc at the concert.

The Quartet is made up of violinists Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman, as well as Patrick Jordan on viola and cellist Margaret Gay.

This concert also ties in nicely with the In The Soil arts festival, as the concert is is actually one of the scheduled events this weekend for In The Soil.  If you purchase their Festival pass you can come to the concert tomorrow with what's called one of their Arts Worker tickets.  You can also purchase an Arts Worker ticket on the Gallery Players website or by calling them at 905-468-1525.

To help celebrate International Jazz Day on Monday, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival has a couple of musical events coming up this week:  "Discover Jazz" is a free public event presented by noted jazz musician, educator and jazz programmer Mark Micklethwaite on Wednesday, May 2nd.  The lecture/presentation will take place in the evening from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library, located just off Highway 55.

Also up this week is the second presentation in the ever-popular Live Learn Jazz series produced in partnership with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library, featuring intimate, jazz-themed lectures, workshops and performances from Canada's best and most-accomplished musical artists.  Thursday evening's performance features vocalist Stu Mao and the quartet in a concert titled Porter and Porter.  The performance begins at 7 pm at The Exchange Brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake at 7 Queen Street.

The TD Niagara Jazz Festival, the brainchild of Niagara-based jazz performers and husband-and-wife team of Juliet Dunn and Peter Shea, was selected as Best New Festival in Ontario for 2017.  It has grown from one three-day weekend at the end of July to two weekends now, both at the end of July and literally packed with performances throughout Niagara.

For more information, check out the TD Niagara Jazz Festival website.

Finally, this week the 50th annual Niagara Folk Arts Festival will get underway, with three days of world-class entertainment kicking off the annual festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Setting up  will take place on Thursday of this week, incidentally.  Their home at 85 Church Street in downtown St. Catharines will be the scene for a lot of the entertainment the first weekend.  There will also be the requisite Open Houses throughout the festival and of course, the annual Day in the Park in Montebello Park will also be coming up this month.

Another family-friendly event, the festival will be free, featuring diverse musical performances, family friendly activities, international food vendors and crafters.

You can check out the Folk Arts Festival website for more information and specific times for events scheduled.

Have a great week in Niagara!

April 28th, 2018.

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