Looking heavenward in gratitude, Tonye presents a gritty performance, after admitting, it’s not one of her better days. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Arts and Entertainment column: From opera to jazz to burlesque, it’s all coming up in Cowichan

On the big screen at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, classic Porgy and Bess.

Coming up this weekend there’s a big treat for Cowichan Valley opera fans.

On the big screen at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, The Met: Live in HD presents classic Porgy and Bess.

Described as a “celebrated American favourite” this is the first time in 30 years that the Met has staged this piece.

What’s it about? It is described as “a powerful story of love and betrayal, set on Catfish row, vibrant with music, dancing and emotion of its inhabitants”.

It hits the big screen on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 9:55 a.m. Run time is three hours and 40 minutes, so be prepared to settle in for the morning. Tickets are $28 each, $26 for seniors and $5 for eyeGO seats. Get them from the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-746-2722.

•••

An update to us this week tells us the “March always comes in like a lion at Pat’s House of Jazz”, and with this lineup we can see why they’d say that.

On March 1 it’s Back to New Orleans, starting at 2 p.m. at the Osborne Bay Pub in Crofton.

Vocalist Shanna Dance and saxophonist Jonnie Bridgman hit the stage to celebrate the music of New Orleans and Mardi Gras.

“You’ll hear New Orleans Classics in the style of Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Aaron Neville, the Meters, Jon Cleary and more,” promise organizers. “Each time this all star group gets together is a special occasion and an absolute blast. All of their previous shows at Hermann’s Jazz Club have completely sold out so don’t miss your chance to hear them at the pub.”

Rounding out the band are Thomas Kinzel on piano, Louis Rudner on bass, Damian Graham on drums, Dave Flello on trumpet and Alexander Ferguson on vocals.

Tickets are $20.

Then, on March 8, at 2 p.m. get ready for Pablo Cardenas taking centre stage with Afro-Cuban music.

Cuban born and Victoria based, Cardenas is a pianist, composer and music teacher “who moves effortlessly from Latin jazz to fusion to modern jazz to Afro Cuban music,” enthuse organizers. “Whether leading his own bands or supporting other players his skill makes every concert special.”

Playing with him will be Hector Ramos on congas and Leon Torres on timba.

This concert is $15 at the Osborne Bay Pub in Crofton.

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That’s not all that coming to Crofton’s busiest music venue.

On Saturday, March 7 at 8 p.m. you can head on down to the Osborne Bay Pub to hear Row of Crowz.

“From bars to benefit dances, to a main stage appearance at Sunfest, as well as a feature on CBC’s hit show Still Standing, Row of Crowz have been entertaining crowds for over 20 years,” say organizers.

“Performing a danceable catalogue of classic rock and original songs, with a focus on Canadian artists such as The Tragically Hip, 5440 and Trooper, Row of Crowz is sure to keep you rockin’ all night long!”

Tickets are $10 at the door.

•••

If you’re in Duncan there’s always the Duncan Showroom to keep things hopping.

On Friday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. they’ve got “an almost acoustic swing, roots and jump blues trio” Beats Working, from Victoria hitting the stage for $18 at the door or $15 in advance. They’ve got music for the 1940s and beyond, including their own original energetic songs.

Then, on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. there’s an always popular burlesque show.

The Vancouver Island Vixens are kicking off their third annual tour at the Showroom in classic burlesque style, with promised new routines and returning favourites. This show is $25 in advance or $30 for VIP tickets. You can head down on the night and see if there are any left for $30 at the door, but this is always a sellout, so our advice is not to wait.

On Monday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. there’s another show that’s likely to be popular when Tonye and friends return to the stage. When Tonye appeared at the Showroom last March with Buckman Coe she almost stole the show. This time she’s bringing her own Valley house band for an evening of soul, r&b, and hip hop funk.

Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 in advance.

To round out the first week of March there’s the always popular Eugene Smith, who hits the Showroom stage on Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m.

“Take the time to discover just how much of a musical treasure lives amongst us,” said the Showroom’s Longevity John Falkner. “He will be working everything for this one.”

Tickets are $20 at the door, $18 in advance.

Arts and Entertainment

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