A season of growth
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 03:15 pm
The Morinville Community Cultural Centre launches its third season and it’s proving to be one of growth, one that promotes a variety of multi-generational shows.
The biggest season so far at 17 shows, it kicks off with the jazz stylings of the Tommy Banks Trio and ends with La Folia, a baroque string ensemble under the direction of cellist Josephine Lier.
At the media launch last Thursday, cultural services manager Laurie Stalker painted a picture of a dynamic season. In response to numerous community requests she has programmed kids’ fun shows, tribute concerts, comedy acts, circus hi-jinks, a ballet and even dinner theatre.
“I feel quite confident we have shows that are appealing to many groups of people. We search for performers that people like to see. In building an audience, we see a different demographic of people attending different shows. It’s not just one group and we want to continue to build that ownership from the residents because, after all, it really is their building,” noted Stalker.
She has divided the season into four series. The whimsical five-show Kids series mixes music, drama and circus whereas the five-show Mainstage series targeted to adults is presented as a cabaret style evening.
The three-part Champion’s Choice series highlights the classical performing arts whereas the Specials series is a mash-up of jazz, country, dinner theatre, and choir and handbells.
Stalker unveils her first act, The Tommy Banks Trio, as part of Alberta Culture Days on Saturday, September 28. Immediately following on Sunday, is a Fred Penner special.
“He (Penner) is one of Canada’s best known and best loved entertainers. He crosses generations and seems to be going strong. Kids have a special connection to him and he has a lovely way of interacting with them,” she said.
Just five days shy of Halloween, Slixer Entertainment drops by with a dinner theatre murder whodunit where a comic detective has to figure out who committed the murder.
Marching into November, Stalker has stacked the deck with four shows – the classic jazz of Edmonton’s Gateway Big Band, offbeat children’s entertainer Norman Foote, David James and Big River: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, and children’s performer Flyin’ Bob: One Man, Three Ring Circus.
Stalker booked David James in large part because Morinville residents have requested tribute acts. Aside from that, “he really has the moves and look of Johnny Cash down pat. I enjoy his performance ’cause he’s so real. He looks and sounds like Johnny.”
On the other hand, Flyin’ Bob is booked for Morinville’s annual Christmas Festival and he brings a tightrope act blended with juggling and a whole lot of comedy.
Christmas is the big theme for December. The award-winning Western Canadian musicians Front Porch Roots Revue “will be doing a combination of roots and folk with a Christmas flair,” on Friday, Dec. 6.
Following up on Sunday, Dec. 15, Jubiloso! Bells of Concordia and the Concordia Community Chorus stop by for some holiday fireworks.
The new year starts off with a few laughs as stand-up comedian Chris Gibbs relays the comic terror of wanting to be a good father on Friday, Jan. 10.
“He is someone that would appeal to people at that stage in our community.”
On Jan. 18, the centre flies off to a far away exotic land, as a young boy’s life is about to change forever in Alberta Opera’s Aladdin.
Valentine’s Day experiences Ballet Jörgen’s timeless classic Romeo and Juliet. The Eagles tribute band Hotel California swings by on Saturday, Feb. 22 with some nostalgic favourites.
“Anybody from the era of the Eagles will love it. They’re authentic sounding and they’ve been around for 25 years,” said Stalker.
Almost a month later, on Saturday, March 22 Missoula Children’s Theatre mounts Wizard of Oz.
“They’re going to roll into town with a big truck filled with costumes, props, music and theatre professionals. They will audition up to 60 kids, rehearse with them for a week after school and put on two complete productions on Saturday.”
“This is a way to involve people beyond performance. There is value in enjoying a performance, but we can appreciate it more if we’re in it. It gives us an appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes. And we don’t have a children’s theatre troupe here in Morinville. This could be the start.”
Robert Post, actor, puppeteer, juggler, ventriloquist, debuts his whirling energy at the centre in April.
“He’s a multi-performance artist who utilizes specially made props. They are effective and very funny, and each routine is an act in itself.”
Morinville raised Calvin Vollrath, now based out of St. Paul, returns to his roots for his annual three day special running May 23 to 25.
“Calvin has the perfect combination of artistry and ability to connect with an audience. He has a natural rapport and I think that’s why he has such a strong following from across Canada.”
And the season closes May 31 with La Folia, an elegant evening of soothing and beautiful string music.
Ticket prices range from $10 to $40 plus applicable fees. Children under the age of two are admitted free. To purchase tickets call 780-420-1757 or visit www.tixsonthesquare.ca or www.morinvillecentre.ca.