Leslie Sjoberg, left, perennial president of the Cowichan Music Festival, congratulates singer Shaylee Martin on being chosen to attend provincials. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Lexi Bainas column: Congratulations Leslie and Co. for another great celebration

Where would the music festival be without its tireless volunteers?

What’s in a name?

The official title of the event is the Cowichan Music Festival but for many people it could be spelled “Leslie Sjoberg”.

This dainty but dauntless dynamo, and perennial music festival president, has been a stalwart supporter of young talent for decades, and a tireless volunteer and strong voice for the performing arts in the Cowichan Valley for well over half a century.

On stage at the annual gala concerts that wind up the annual festival, Sjoberg can still be found, ready to hand out bursaries, awards, and the coveted invitations to take part in provincials. Her ready smile and willingness to help out is a byword in the Valley.

Whenever you think “festival”, you can’t help but see her face. She and long-time friend, Jean Davis, have been everywhere.

Along with the other dedicated members of the music festival committee down the years, they have offered outstanding opportunities to Cowichan Valley performers in a wide variety of genres. This year’s festival committee also includes Karolyn Sherman, Carol Newington, Barb Stone, and Joan Wilson.

Congratulations to Leslie and Co. for another great celebration.


While I’m on the subject of the encouraging young talent, the post-holiday season has been studded with amazing performances by the Valley’s young performers.

Cowichan has seen a tremendous growth in interest in recent years in musical theatre and the results are now singing and dancing on stages everywhere you look.

The Cowichan Musical Society’s presentation of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying was led by a strong group of young performers. Many of those same young people also found time to prepare entries in several music festival categories, and, when they had a spare minute, learn additional roles and dance routines so they could rock the house at Frances Kelsey’s recent show, All Shook Up.

Meanwhile, Brentwood College’s performing arts students have also spent the year working hard on bringing their show, West Side Story, to the stage of their beautiful theatre. But, while preparing for his lead role in that show, Timothy Cameron has also found time to learn a difficult role in the Mercury Players’ presentation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which opened this week at the Mercury Theatre.

Cowichan Secondary School made a welcome return to the world of blockbuster musicals this year, with its presentation of The Addams Family, Adagé Studio will be presenting Aladdin Jr. and Chalkboard Theatre Back to the 80s and What About the 70s, both this spring at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, and Queen Margaret’s has Once on This Island coming up in May.

And that doesn’t even get to all the theatrical dance numbers we’ll see when the dance schools come to the fore and present their massive year-ending extravaganzas, and following that, the fun, outdoor Duncan Has Talent showcase at Charles Hoey Park every summer.

Get on out there and enjoy it all. Don’t let the parade pass you by.


A special art exhibition, entitled “Estuary: Cradle of Life” is now underway at the Arbutus Gallery in the Community Centre on James Street.

Presented by the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery in cooperation with the Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association, this even is open Monday to Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. until March 23.

Check out www.cowichanvalleyartscouncil.ca for more information.


Making a welcome return to the Cowichan Valley is Juno-award winning Canadian blues legend Big Dave McLean.

An inspiration to such Canadian legends as Colin James and Wide Mouth Mason, this Yukon-born, Winnipeg-based performer has built up a solid group of fans here in the Valley during his stops here.

McLean’s Live in the Chapel at Providence Farm on Sunday, March 10. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 each. Get them at https://barelynorth.tickit.ca/events/5774-big-dave-mclean-live-in-the-chapel?locale=en

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sonia Furstenau column: Now the time to make changes for the better

This coronavirus has given us opportunity to identify what matters most in our day-to-day lives.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Drivesmart column: Staying on your side of the road

No exemptions that grant permission to disobey the keeping to the right rule based on convenience.

Mary Lowther column: Starting seeds to beat the slugs, wood bugs

My favourite sorts of seedling starters are the plastic cells that fit inside trays

Sarah Simpson Column: What happens when kids make the rules

Growing up, my family spent many a summer cruising the Gulf and… Continue reading

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read