Edie Daponte performs with the Don Leppard Big Band at Pat’s House of Jazz. (Submitted)

Lexi Bainas column: It’s time to blow your horn, tap your toes, release your spirit, and clap your hands

There’s a ton of swinging sounds this week, both at Crofton and in downtown Duncan

Carmen Stanek is passing along a note about an upcoming art show: The Power of 13 showcases the imaginative minds of 13 artistic souls.

It’s happening May 23 to June 14, at the Arbutus Gallery, off the main lobby inside the Cowichan Community Centre.

You’ll find yourself experiencing everything “from subective realism to the fantastical as members of the group offer up a visual treat of varying styles, some sublime, some evocative, frenetic or calming but all open for your interpretation and viewing pleasure. We are excited to share our unique artistic journeys with you,” she says.

“The Power of 13 celebrates each artist’s individual process; come and discover an artistic style that resonates with you. Your impressions and conversations are anticipated and welcomed. This three-week show will be an opportunity to connect in person with host artists and art demonstrations. Artists will be present at our opening reception, which will be held on May 25 from 1 to 3 p.m.”

***

Sidney vocalist Edie Daponte shines when she’s singing with a small combo, but she will truly sparkle when she’s in front of the energetic 17-piece Don Leppard Big Band.

Together they will perform well-loved big band classics with a touch of Paris at Pat’s House of Jazz in Crofton’s Osborne Bay Pub on Sunday, May 19. Admission is $20.

This follows a sold-out show with Daponte and the Leppard band at the pub in December and Daponte’s sold-out show From Rio to Paris at the pub in September. Daponte’s sultry, passionate voice lends itself perfectly to a wide range of jazz standards, seamlessly moving from jazz to bossa nova and back again.

The Leppard band plays everything from authentic dance music of the ’30s and ’40s, to the inspirational swinging sounds of Count Basie and Duke Ellington, to the energetic, richly coloured music of contemporary jazz arrangements. A retired military band director and arranger, bandleader Leppard is also the drummer — the guy who drives the bus. He has recorded more than 50 albums with various artists and taped more than 600 television shows.

Showtime is 2 p.m. at the pub, at 1534 Joan Ave. Admission is $20. Reservations are highly recommended. Tables will be held until 1:30 p.m.

***

One Cowichan Valley writer is among the award winners of the 2019 Islands Short Fiction Contest awards announced April 27 in Nanaimo.

Co-sponsored by the Nanaimo Arts Council, the Vancouver Island Regional Library, and the Vancouver Island University Department of Creative Writing and Journalism, the awards are open to writers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. One hundred twenty-seven entries were received this year across three categories: Adult, Youth, and Junior.

In the Junior category, the second-prize winner was Esmé Iverson of Duncan for “The Patchwork Girl”.

Congratulations, Esmé!

More than $2,200 in cash and prizes was awarded.

The Islands Short Fiction Contest is made possible by financial support from the Province of British Columbia, the City of Nanaimo, and Vancouver Island University. Most of the winning stories will be posted shortly on the contest website at https://isfc.ca, where past winners may also be read.

***

Musician and bandleader Mike Simkins has blown a note my way saying that the Valley swing band, Brass, Wind & Rhythm is presenting a concert on Tuesday, June 11 at the Duncan United Church.

“We will be playing a wide range of music like ‘Moon Glow’, ‘Stand by Me’, ‘The Preacher’, ‘Flashdance…What a Feeling’, ‘Star Dust’ and more,” he says. “The concert is by donation with all of the proceeds going to Duncan United Church’s Homeless Prevention Fund. You will enjoy two sets of toe-tapping music. Please feel free to dance in the aisles! Children are welcome,” he says.

***

Don’t forget that during the annual Heritage Days at Lake Cowichan this long weekend, the Kaatza Art Group are presenting their show on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Centennial Hall, along with the special display of photos by the Lake Cowichan 75th anniversary committee. Also, on Saturday night, May 17, there is a talent night at the Lake Cowichan 50+ Centre from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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