Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels appear at the Duncan Showroom on Thursday, March 22. (Submitted)

Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels appear at the Duncan Showroom on Thursday, March 22. (Submitted)

Lexi Bainas column: We have so much talent in the Cowichan Valley. Let’s celebrate it!

On top of good shows at Valley for-profit venues, there are great amateur performances as well

I got to see the Mercury Players production of Anatomy of Gray last week and I never cease to be amazed at how local, amateur theatre flourishes like the green bay tree in the Cowichan Valley.

Think of it, folks. These actors, directors, managers, producers, and choreographers are people who put up our drywall, fix our plumbing or our backs, cut our hair, care for or teach our kids, and do many more life-and-family supporting activities full time outside of the theatre.

They are endlessly enthusiastic, hugely supportive of each other, and relentlessly devoted to doing better every time out despite facing births and deaths in their families, financial problems, work issues, health issues. You know. Real life.

Despite all that they still find time to get out into the community, lifting every rock, scrounging what they need in the way of sets, props, and financial support, and getting the job done with a style and finesse that many pros in the entertainment world could do well to emulate.

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Those thar lively folks up at Sunfest Country Music Festival have leaned over the back fence to share a cool contest with us.

You can help them rename their Canadian Tire campground at Laketown Ranch and win a pair of Meet & Greet passes with an artist at Sunfest 2018.

“We all know it. We all love it. But, it’s time ‘Canadian Tire’ campground get a new name!” says the notice.

The thing is: you’ve got to be an Insider to do it.

Go sign up as a Sunfest Insider right away on the Sunfest Country Facebook page, and you’ll be able to enter three names in the contest and get a newsletter. It’s a great way to keep in touch with all latest insider news at Sunfest.

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Carlos del Junco is hitting the Duncan Showroom with the Blues Mongrels on Thursday, March 22, bringing music from his latest album.

Hold On is his first solo release in seven years and also marks his first mostly acoustic release featuring long time bandmates Eric St. Laurent on guitar and Henry Heillig on upright bass.

Del Junco’s harmonica has garnered him multiple national and international awards including two Juno nominations and an international songwriting award spanning a career of more than 25 years.

Showtime is 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door, if any are left. Contact them now to find out.

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Winnipeg band Hearing Trees will be in Duncan on March 18 at Duncan Showroom, starting at 8 p.m.

Their debut album Quiet Dreams was just released on March 2 and they’re currently on a Cross-Canada tour in support of the album.

Hearing Trees existed even before frontman Graham Hnatiuk picked up a guitar or penned a single lyric.

“I started this in 2009 because I had a serious mental episode and almost ended up in the hospital,” the singer, guitarist, and songwriter candidly explained in his release. “I was pretty much unable to care for myself. My life just wasn’t going in the right direction, but I found solace and inspiration in art and music. I knew that’s what I needed to do.”

Finally, in 2013, he enlisted fellow musicians to finally realize Hearing Trees in the flesh. Since then the band has evolved with a rotating cast of musicians entering and exiting the fold but that’s been a good thing.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have the opportunity to play and tour and collaborate with these people, and learn something from every single one of them,” says Hnatiuk.

Intrigued? Go hear ‘em at the Showroom on Station Street in downtown Duncan. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.