Rehearsal fun at Anything Goes. Sarah Lane, centre, is playing Reno Sweeney, Grant Mellemstrand is Billy Crocker, Jim Cleough is Moonface Martin, Jaci McKinley Geiger is Erma Latour, Connor Lachmanec is Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, Alison Bendall is Hope Harcourt, and Reno’s “Angels” are Alora Killam, Ali Platt, Cecilia Dennison, and Cassidy Marat. (Submitted)

VIDEO: Local talent is in the spotlight this week

Our Valley performers are standing tall these days, winning awards and showcasing their work

Ever-enthusiastic music pal Ann Mendenhall has passed along the following note about an exciting event she’s organized on Saturday.

“The students and teachers of the Cowichan Valley Music Teachers Association are excited to announce two upcoming Canada Music Week Celebration concerts, this Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Christian Reformed Church, 930 Trunk Rd., Duncan. To honour Canada’s 150th Anniversary, 50 students of piano, voice, harp, violin and cello, ages six to 80, will be performing works by Canadian composers and arrangers. Information about all of these composers, gathered by the students, will be included in the program notes. There is no admission charge. We invite everyone to come and enjoy this lively and interesting music,” she says.

Whew! That’s a lot of music. No wonder they need two sessions. The first concert, one hour long, begins at 2 p.m. The second concert starts at 3:30 p.m.

In between the two, there will be refreshments. In addition, awards will be presented to students who earned the highest marks on RCM theory and history exams last year and art by students will also be on display.

Three of the featured composers, Beverly Halasz, Garth Williams and Marilyn Rummel will be at the show.

***

While we’re talking talented music students, Trisha Daniell had something to share as well.

“This year, out of 11 eligible grade levels, four local singers are celebrating achieving the highest marks in the province. Priya and Caleb Dhami, Chloe Pyne-Mercier, and Holly Collis Handford were each recognized in the Royal Conservatory of Music’s 2017 Vancouver Convocation ceremony held on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Chan Centre.

“The Toronto based RCM is one of the largest and most respected music education institutions in the world, let alone Canada. Over the past decade alone, 235,000 students in British Columbia have participated in the conservatory’s programs whose alumni include Randy Bachman, David Foster, Nelly Furtado, Diana Krall, and Sarah McLachlan,” Daniell says.

A Gold Medal recognizes the top mark received for each grade. They are awarded provincially for each instrument, including voice.

“Priya and Chloe, each from Shawnigan Lake, shared the honour for Grade 1 Voice. Priya’s elder brother, Caleb, also received his first medal — his awarded for Grade 2 Voice. Cobble Hill resident Holly Collis Handford received the medal for Grade 10 Voice, her third provincial recognition from the Conservatory.

Not surprisingly, teachers Iris Cooke Chislett and Carol Jarvie were thrilled for their students, both attending the ceremony to celebrate with the singers.

“It is enormously satisfying to see a young person receive recognition for their devotion and dedication to their development as a musician. An examination result represents a year of focused work and careful preparation from the students and the family members supporting them,” Cooke Chislett said after the event.

Jarvie, Pyne-Mercier’s teacher, said, “I am very proud of Chloe and couldn’t be happier for these hard-working students’ success.”

***

Warmland Dance is presenting The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in two shows on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Yes, at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. you can enjoy a modern re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s Christmas favourite in a special show for the whole family that features more than 60 hip hop dancers from many genres, a DJ live onstage and a set in modern-day Brooklyn.

Organizers warn: “This is not your average Nutcracker!”

Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for students. Go online to cowichanpac.ca and book ‘em, Dano.

***

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of action behind the scenes as the cast of the Cowichan Musical Society’s production of Anything Goes rehearses for their blockbuster show which hits the big stage at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in February.

The Society’s Irwin Killam sent along a photo from one of these sessions, as a teaser, showing some of the fun that’s on the way.

(See it at cowichanvalleycitizen.com)

Tickets to this presentation might be just the thing to warm the hearts of music lovers this Christmas morning.

Get them now from Society members, or you can order those seats online at cowichanpac.ca, in person, or by phone from the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529. Wrap ‘em up early, and while you’re at it, book your own as well.

***

And finally, those in the know enjoy my comments about opera. Now it’s time to address another small but devoted crowd: devotees of CBC Radio.

Yes, I know you’re out there.

Now it’s time to step up and show you’re alive by attending The Debaters: Live on Tour at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on Friday, Nov. 17 starting at 8 p.m.

Steve Patterson, the live-wire, rapid-fire host, is on the radio every week, challenging top comedians like Derek Edwards (who was just in the Valley recently) to debate each other on such mind-bending subjects as “The sun is better than the moon” and “Bottles are better than cans”.

It can get frightfully funny, in fact rib-tickling, and this show will feature Graham Clark and Jon Steinberg, with Patterson at the helm.

Tickets are $48 per person. Get them from cowichanpac.ca or the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-748-7529. C’mon. You know you want to.

Lexi Bainas is the Arts and Entertainment reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen. Contact her at lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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