Jack Connolly is one of the two instructors at a songwriters’ workshop offered by CVAC. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Lexi Bainas column: This week, we’re all about the different ways to have a good time

Celebrate with John, write a song, sing along, or swing from limb to limb

Fifteen years ago, on Sept. 26, 2003, the Showroom had its first concert in the Duncan Garage Showroom.

Longevity John Falkner and his coterie of friends and supporters spent 10 years there bringing intimate venue entertainment to the Valley and, along the way, offering a lot of support to young performers trying to get a start in the music world.

After the operation had to leave the historic Duncan Garage in 2014, the shows moved to the Silver Bridge Inn for four months.

The saga continued, as on May 1, 2014 Falkner and Co. reopened as the Duncan Showroom upstairs in an old restaurant on Station Street. Fans climbed the steep steps to continue to enjoy the Showroom’s brand of entertainment.

Finally, on Aug. 31, 2015, it was decided to move downstairs to ground level — the Showroom’s present venue — and efforts have been made to buy the entire building.

Falkner has invited everyone to come downtown and enjoy some great performances as the Showroom starts its 16th season.

We think it’s a great idea, too. If you’ve never attended a show there, or if you haven’t been lately, why not make your way downtown and enjoy a great night out at the Showroom? You’ll become part of a tradition, and that’s a good thing, too.

***

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is hosting a Songwriting Workshop: Peace, Heart and Protest on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Mesachie Room at the Island Savings Centre.

It sounds like a cool idea, passed on to me by the folks at CVAC.

“Be inspired by the Give Peace a Chance show and the music of John Lennon at the Arbutus Gallery. Bring your lunch and your instrument and learn from two very talented songwriters how to craft a memorable tune with a message. Examine the form and structure of songs as well as discussing rhythm, melody, and lyrics. The history of the protest song will be covered, and the instructors will lead you through exercises with the goal of creating your own themed song.”

The instructors are worth your time and interest.

Genevieve Charbonneau is a Cowichan Valley based singer-songwriter. At the 2015 Vancouver Island Music Awards, her debut solo album Updraft garnered a 2014 Producer of the Year Award for Marc Atkinson and was nominated for Country Recording of the Year. Her song ‘Down Down Down’ won the 2017 BC Musician Songwriting Competition and was a finalist for the International Acoustic Music Awards in 2017.

Jack Connolly grew up playing coffee houses, concert halls, and folk festivals on the west coast of British Columbia. His reputation as a gifted songwriter and dynamic performer has won him invitations to play with some of Canada’s best-known performers, including David Foster, Tom Cochrane, Colin James, Spirit of the West, 54-40, Johnny Cash’s Tennessee Three, and Wide Mouth Mason.

The cost for the workshop is $95 (non-members) and $85 (CVAC members). Call 250-746-1633 or email cvartscouncil@shaw.ca and see if there is room left for you.

***

They obviously had great fun last time out with The Sound of Music so the Duncan United Church is holding another sing-along show.

You can join in singing along to the movie Mary Poppins on Saturday, Oct. 20, starting at 1:30 p.m. Of course there’s nothing to stop you from just enjoying the show, if you’re not keen on singing, but I bet you find yourself joining in at some point.

You can come as you are but why not dress up as your favourite character? It’ll be less than two weeks before Halloween so you can get in the mood.

This is a fun-filled family event to raise funds for the church, which serves a lot of downtown people. Entry is by donation at the door. Refreshments will be available.

***

A craft spirit festival?

Now there’s an idea to get me tap dancing, if anything could. (Honestly, though, I doubt even Cathy Schmidt could get me tap dancing given my bull-in-a-china-shop feet).

But, yes, there is a craft spirit festival at Merridale Cidery & Distiller Saturday, Nov. 3 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A pioneer in B.C.’s craft distilling industry, Merridale is hosting the 1st Annual Vancouver Island Craft Spirit Festival for an all-out celebration of taste, craft, and community.

“We invite YOU to taste the spirits of 10 craft distilleries on Vancouver Island in our Farmhouse in Cobble Hill. On November 3rd, visit Merridale to taste unique and exciting local spirits — and meet their makers!” say the jolly folks at 1230 Merridale Rd. in Cobble Hill.

General admission is $35 and includes a safe bus ride from Victoria, Duncan, Cobble Hill or Shawnigan Lake, two tasting tokens and a souvenir tasting glass. Additional drink tokens can be purchased for $2.

The Merridale kitchen will be open during the festival for attendees to purchase food to go with their cocktails.

Spinnakers Liquor Store will be providing a special pop-up liquor store at the event to sell bottles of spirits for participating distilleries, so you can take home your favourite.

Attendees include: Sheringham Distillery, Ampersand Distilling Company, Shelter Point Distillery, The Moon Under Water Brewery, Pub, Distillery & Tasting Room, De Vine Vineyards, Winery & Distillery, Stillhead Distillery, Wayward Distillation House, Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., Arbutus Distillery, and Salt Spring Shine Craft Distillery Ltd.

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