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A&E column: Firebird seasonal concert; authors win; sustainability speaker

The latest in Cowichan A&E

Looking for a chance to hear and sing some Christmas and other seasonal music? Firebird is headed to Vimy Hall in Duncan on Dec. 15 for the YuleFirebird Concert and Community Jam/Sing-a-long.

Firebird, a folk-pop trio comprised of Genevieve Charbonneau, Stephanie Cutler and Jeremy Walsh, “present a seasonal show of familiar and unusual holiday music in the spirit of love, joy and peace,” starting at 7:30 p.m.

Special guests will include Joshua Miszczak on violin, Tasia McKay on flute and Andrew McKay Morris on bodhran.

“The event is not just a concert but an inclusive yuletide musical gathering in celebration of the light in the darkest time of year,” said a press release for the event.

Also on the programme is a sing-along of seasonal songs.

The event promises “mulled cider and goodies and general merry-making.”

Vimy Hall is located at 3968 Gibbins Rd. Admission is $20, with children getting in free. Tickets can be found at Eventbrite or at the door.


The Cowichan Music Festival is reminding everyone that the deadline to enter is Dec. 17. Don’t miss it!


Cowichan Bay author Kate Gateley has won another honour.

Mantle of the World Ruler, the second book in her contemporary fantasy series, has been chosen by the Canadian Book Club Awards as the winner in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi category.

“Second installments can be tricky, but this book was just so much fun to write,” said Gateley in a press release. “I’m thrilled readers felt the same.”

This is a reader’s choice award, with the winner picked from a list of three finalists in each of 12 categories. This year, the press release noted, they had a record number of submissions.

“Canadian readers are passionate about the books they consume, and the tremendous number of submissions we have received this year proves that readers are more engaged with reading than ever before. It is a great privilege to recognize these exceptional winners and their dedicated fans for the 2023 award,” said CBCA Program Director Kristain Oliveria-Barnes.

Gateley said the timing of the award is perfect with the final book in the Lost Wells Trilogy set to be published in early 2024. The title of this third installment is Severance of the Sorcerer.

“I hope readers can use the CBCA winners list as a springboard to discover other incredible Canadian titles,” Gately said.


Two Crofton authors are up for Federation of BC Writers’ 2023 Literary Contest awards.

Shortlists for the awards have been announced and Keith Digby and Cynthia Pronick are up for top prize in the Flash Fiction category.

First place winners and two runners-up will be selected in each of four categories.

Each of the 40 shortlisted and winning contributors will have their pieces published in the federation’s annual anthology Roots to Branches.

“We had 483 entries this year, our greatest number to date,” said executive director Bryan Mortensen in a press release. “The Federation congratulates all who submitted in 2023. I heard from our judges and readers that it was difficult to generate our longlists, shortlists and beyond.”

Digby’s entry was titled Afterlife, and Pronick’s piece is Ralphie.

The Federation of BC Writers Annual Literary Contest is a competition for original, unpublished works by writers who are Canadian residents.

For additional information, visit:


Gord Baird will talk about The Brighter Side of Sustainability: A story of our journey to making a difference one naive choice at a time on Monday, Dec. 18 starting at 7 p.m. This is part of Cowichan Watershed Board’s Speaker Nights.

Baird is a teacher, builder and someone who implements sustainable living design, said a press release for the event.

“Gord and Ann Baird designed and built their modern comfortable cob home, which was designated the first internationally recognized Living Building project,” the release explained. “Gord is a living legend in the worlds of sustainable building, regenerative farming, water conservation and rainwater harvesting. Gord and Ann are currently serving as third term councillors for the Highlands Municipality and have shaped provincial legislation in regards to composting toilets and greywater treatment. Gord’s journey serves as an inspiring narrative of dedication to sustainable living and community leadership, and looks forward to sharing the stories that have unfolded along this transformative path.”

The talk takes place at the Cowichan Campus of VIU in lecture hall 140. Entry is free.

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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