Ever felt the urge to sing? Why not register to join the fun May 15 at Lake Cowichan public library. (Submitted)                                Ever felt the urge to sing? Why not register to join the fun May 15 at Lake Cowichan public library. (Submitted)

Ever felt the urge to sing? Why not register to join the fun May 15 at Lake Cowichan public library. (Submitted) Ever felt the urge to sing? Why not register to join the fun May 15 at Lake Cowichan public library. (Submitted)

VIDEO: This week, it’s time to explore what’s lost and found along life’s fascinating pathway

From celebrating to weeping, contemplating to singing: life and art combine wonderfully together

Fun, Fabulous and Found is the name of an art display by D.B. del Torre at the Portals Gallery at the Cowichan Community Centre from May 24 to June 8.

So what does it all mean?

The lost, discarded, neglected and abandoned materials of life are what inspire Dennis Del Torre.

According to the note I’ve had from the folks at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council, this artist’s creations “are enhanced by materials that show the patina of time, whether it is old commercial signage or a collection of balls. Then he combines them so the shapes and colours give the conglomeration a new meaning. Highlights in Del Torre’s 30-year career in landscape design and maintenance include work on the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC and the Japanese garden at Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of History. Working in landscaping also provided thousands of found objects and inspiration for the self-taught artist. Beaches offered bountiful flotsam and jetsam as well. Now Del Torre is a master of using junk as his medium. ‘Picking up something that’s been forgotten and swirling in the amnesia of history has defined my art,’ he said. ‘My hope is viewers see something that reflects their history.’”

He had several successful shows in Vancouver from 1998 to 2016, and his work is in private collections from B.C. to New York City. Del Torre and his family relocated to the Cowichan Valley in 2016. This is his first solo show at CVAC’s Portals Gallery. He will be in attendance throughout the show.


Well, the Met: Live in HD opera season at the Cowichan Theatre is finishing this Saturday.

And it’s one of my personal favourites, Dialogues des Carmelites.

According to the notes in the listing on the theatre’s website, this is one of the most successful operas of the 20th century, “a rare, modern work that is equally esteemed by audiences and experts alike.”

It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride with a very tragic ending, but you must stay till the very end. Yes, I know it’s three hours and nine minutes long but it’s worth it.

Opera historian Charles Osborne has written: “The inexorable dramatic movement of the work is impressive and, in the final scene in which the nuns walk in procession to the guillotine chanting the Salve regina, extremely moving.”

Yes, you’ll be sobbing. I guarantee it. The music is that powerful. I tear up even thinking about it.

And, for my symphony attending readers, this Met production is conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin, who came to Duncan a couple of times just a few years back with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and charmed Cowichan music lovers with his verve and musicianship. He obviously still has plenty of both.

Tickets for the opera are $28 for adults and $26 for seniors. Call 250-748-7529 to reserve and pick them up at the Cowichan Ticket Centre.


Vancouver Island’s duo of Carlow Rush and Jacksun Fryer have turned a lot of Valley viewers on to NBC TV’s World of Dance this season.

Although they didn’t make it to the divisional finals, they gathered a lot of loyal fans with their entertaining performances, fans who also got to know the other competitors.

The show got down to it on Sunday, April 28, eliminating Derion and Madison, and Poppin John from the Upper category, Julian and Charlize and Kayla Mak from the Junior category, Crazy 8’s and Dancetown Divas from the Junior Team category, and, finally, Unity LA, and The Heima from the Upper Team category.

That left Briar Nolet from Toronto, The Kings from Mumbai, VPeeps from Manila, and Ellie and Ava from Minneapolis as the finalists for the finals on Sunday, May 5.

However, the judges apparently had a card up their sleeves, a wild card, that they gave to big California contemporary dance group, Unity LA.

In a two-hour finale show that featured lots of glitz and glamour — it’s produced by Jennifer Lopez after all — every one of the finalists put on a tremendous last effort to win that million dollars, entertaining everyone and wowing the judges: JLo, Ne-yo, and Derek Hough and the audience watching across the continent.

In the end, as many could have predicted from their first stepping on stage, the winners were The Kings, a very lively men’s group from India.


It’s spring and time to sing.

Cowichan Lake Arts & Culture Society is offering a voice workshop with Ensemble Laude at the Lake Cowichan public library at Ts’uubaa’asatx Town Square on Wednesday, May 15 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

If you are interested in taking part, register at http://members.cowichanlakeartsandculture.org/show/485720/register?fbclid=IwAR0AOuSs5__3iZGNkRKGZZ-b8-w5q5yLUGg59eVlyXTApajrgNUOQ_d6L-Y so they can make sure there is space and time for everyone.


Adi Whist, the publicist from Brentwood College School, has informed me that fine art photography students have scheduled a show called Polarize at Just Jake’s Restaurant in Duncan from May 12 to June 1. An opening night reception will be held May 14, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“We have lots of great pieces going up and they’re all for sale! It’s a great way to support my photography group as we’re all aspiring to work in the arts and although we are still young, we’ve got talent and we want to share that with the community,” Whist says.


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