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A&E column: Cowichan Music Festival is back; plenty of art to see

A few tickets left for ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Suzanne Dionne-Coster is showing her work at the Annex at the Portals Gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan. (Suzanne Dionne-Coster artwork)

The Cowichan Music Festival is back!

After being cancelled due to COVID in 2021, the festival has already started its 2022 sessions for dance, piano, strings, vocal and choral, with audiences limited to family members only. These sessions run from Feb. 14 to March 4.

But the big event for arts lovers in the Cowichan Valley is always the Highlights Concert featuring winners from the various disciplines, and that is taking place on Sunday, March 6 at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan.

The concert will include provincial winners, and begins at 1:30 p.m.

Audiences are required to be masked, show vaccine passports if over the age of 12, and photo ID if over the age of 19, in accordance with CPAC’s public health regulations.


As the Cowichan Musical Society’s blockbuster run of Beauty and the Beast heads into its second weekend, there are still a few tickets left.

Too much COVID in the community pushed the second weekend of the production back to Feb. 18, 19, and 20 and the good news is that there are still a few tickets available on Friday, Feb. 18 for the 7:30 p.m. show at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. To get one of them call the Ticket Centre at 250-746-2722 or drop by in person.

Due to popular demand, the Cowichan Musical Society is also planning a second run of the show for April, and while they don’t yet know what the dates will be, they are already reporting a waiting list for tickets.

If that doesn’t tell you this is one musical lovers won’t want to miss, we don’t know what will.


Speaking of the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, you won’t want to miss the upcoming art show in the theatre lobby gallery.

Running from Feb. 23 to March 29 Joane Moran and Catherine Taron will be featured in a display of 50 paintings open for one hour before all theatre performances, whether you have a ticket to the show or not. Private showings can also be arranged by contacting the artists.

Called the Re-StART Art Show, it’s a celebration for the two artists to bring their work back to the public after two long years of COVID-19.

“We are delighted to show our work locally after a long period of pandemic restriction!” said the two artists in a press release.

The works include paintings in oils, watercolour and acrylics. Both artists are well-established, and have shown work locally for many years and have collectors from Vancouver Island to international.

Moran is a Cobble Hill resident who is inspired by the natural West Coast setting.

“Strong strokes of colour and contrast are the qualities of Joane’s work,” says the press release. “She defines herself as a realist painter, with a contemporary edge. But what makes Joane’s work stand out is her capture of a moment— whether the vibrant light seen through an abundance of flower blossoms, the crashing of waves on the coast, a sunset over the Cowichan Valley, or the likenesses achieved in her pet portraits.”

Taron lives in Maple Bay, and she “interprets Vancouver Island landscapes primarily in watercolour and acrylics, with a focus on the changing moods and energies of the west coast and island communities. Her intention is to explore painting with a light hand and limited palette,” describes the press release.

“I try to capture the feeling of places I know, with a specific memory or story in mind,” said Taron.

For more from Moran see her website at, and Taron at


Can’t get enough art? There’s more to be seen at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.

Two local artists are presenting their paintings at the Annex in a show titled En Attente du Printemps (waiting for spring).

On until Feb. 26, the show features Dominique Eustace and Suzanne Dionne-Coster.

Eustace is a physician from Maple Bay who “paints with a vivid palette and playful perspective.”

“Art is a celebration of life,” she said. “As a physician I witness pain and suffering so my art is created to mitigate this.”An avid cyclist, she depicts impressionistic cycling scenes and bold abstracts.

Dionne-Coster is a French immersion teacher.

“The context of the pandemic has given me a gentle nudge to include art making in my daily routine, as well as spending a lot of time outside,” she said.

Dominique Eustace is showing her work at the Annex at the Portals Gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan. (Dominique Eustace artwork)