Longevity John Falkner collects donations from generous folks attending The 40th Day of July in City Square. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Lexi Bainas column: Some unexpected musical treats popping up

With Wine Down Wednesdays and more on the horizon, no one’s thinking about back to school

Just when you thought The 39 Days of July were over and gone for another year, up pops Longevity John Falkner’s newest idea.

It’s the continuation of Wine Down Wednesdays into August.

Yes, there’s more music in Duncan City Square. On Aug. 7, 14, 21, and 28, you can enjoy a series of musical showcases featuring amazing songwriters, guitar players, harmonica players, and bands who perform around the world.

Plus, Falkner points out, the Old Firehouse Wine Bar, just off the Square is hosting an indoor wine-tasting lounge presenting some of the Valley’s wineries from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Duncan Cowichan Festival Society and the Old Firehouse, and Duncan Showroom Productions are getting together to sponsor this series on the Square’s big stage at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

First up, on Aug. 7, is Kyler Tapscott, followed by Funky Lowdown. The next week, on Aug. 14, it’s Coldwater Road, followed at 8 p.m. by Daniel Champagne.

Naomi Payan opens at 7 p.m. on Aug. 21 followed at 8 p.m. by Brad Prevedoros. And, finally, on Aug. 28, it’s the Ashley Wey Trio followed by Son of Dave to round out this series of Wednesday concerts.

The event will be paid for by your nightly donations and the organizers will be accepting sponsorships right to the end should you wish your company to be recognized.

***

Also, there is “one more kick at the can” on Sunday, Sept. 1 when, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. it will be time for The 40th Day of July.

City Square will again come alive with summer music all afternoon one more time, with headliners Salsahall Collective taking the stage at 8 p.m., ending the day with dancing to this nine-piece Vancouver-based band, proving once again, as Falkner says, “we do live in a rather fun place to be”.

***

For a reporter/photographer like myself, the August long weekend is one of the most hectic times of the year.

I usually get to cover the last event of Duncan Has Talent on the Friday, the Cowichan Shakespeare Festival pre-show on Saturday, the last day of The 39 Days of July, and, of course, the massive Sunfest Country Music Festival out at Lake Cowichan.

Hoo boy. It’s at times like this my legs feel every one of my 71 years. But, even after four straight hours through two Shakespeare plays, I still love it.

The best part is seeing everyone outdoors, away from their screens for the most part, and enjoying genuine face to face interaction with audiences of both friends and strangers while soaking up entertainment of all kinds, often even dancing along to the music. We hear constantly that we’re all way too sedentary. I know I am. So, it’s wonderful to see so many people out and about because even carrying a lawn chair from one venue to another is exercise.

On the subject of those plays, they were worth every minute, even if my backside was dancing its own little conga by the time 8 p.m. rolled around.

I also truly enjoy watching young people perform. Be it dancing, singing, acting or playing an instrument, I love seeing them grow in confidence from year to year as they develop their talent, getting in all that stage time so essential to honing their significant gifts.

***

I just received a note from Ann Baker Mendenhall, the retiring artistic director of Chemainus Classical Concerts, saying, “All of us on the Chemainus Classical Concerts committee are excited to let you know about a special, extra concert that has been added to the 2018-19 Season. On Sunday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m., four pianists will present the previously postponed, Eight Hands at 88 Keys.”

This concert also announces the changeover as Mendenhall passes the directorship to Rykie Avenant and Catharina de Beer.

“We three will be joined for the concert by a fourth pianist, Emily Armour. The program includes solos, duets, trios and a hilarious quartet, all on one keyboard. The composers include Bach, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and more.

“After 12 years as artistic director I am thrilled that my esteemed colleagues, Rykie and Catharina, are willing to carry the tradition forward,” Mendenhall concluded.

For ticket information, please visit www.ChemainusClassicalConcerts.ca or phone Eleanor at 250-748-8383 to reserve your seat in advance.

Thank you, Ann, for your years of hard work and welcome, Rykie and Catharina to the whirl.

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