VIDEO: Afternoon of emotion remembers Cowichan Valley’s Roger Sparkes

Singer/ songwriter Deb Maike, another of the Melaque colony, explains how much impact Roger Sparkes had on her life. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

More than a hundred friends, fans, and family members of the late Roger Sparkes gathered in the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on Saturday afternoon, June 22.

Longtime friend Paul Douville acted as emcee in an emotional afternoon that included a pictorial presentation of Sparkes’s life, and oral and written eulogies from such friends as Tony Kant, Deb Maike, Leslie Sjoberg, and Ron Austin.

Performances by Steve McKinnon and Bill Levity added to the afternoon.

Sparkes attained a Masters of Education degree, taught English and drama, worked for many years for the Canadian National Film Board and managed and brought the Cowichan Theatre to international fame.

He won the City of Duncan Perpetual Arts Trophy in 2001. Its list of esteemed recipients include Duncan’s late world renowned master-painter E. J. Hughes.

Sparkes helped forge a team that organized and ran the Cowichan Fringe Festival for 12 years. One venue was even the stage of the Cowichan Theatre. He was also involved in the zany backwards Fringe Parade and the popular Fringe Club.

A lifelong art collector, patron and supporter, Sparkes helped make Cowichan one of the highest per-capita artists areas in the country.

He was also a tireless booster of the 731-seat Cowichan Performing Arts Theatre, putting it on the list of Canada’s best known theatres. Sparkes booked stars, plus little-known international, national and local acts — including offbeat dancers and polished ballet troupes — to help expose folks to the performing arts. His push brought folks to the Valley and employed many performers and staffers.

Sparkes sought and got upgrades for the theatre and promoted visual arts displays in the theatre lobby to exhibit and educate about local artists’ work, and worked to establish The Friends of the Cowichan Theatre to include local folks in volunteer roles in the theatre.

The ebullient Sparkes loved being an emcee for the Cowichan Music Festival, showcasing the multi-talents of local young performers.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Enjoy an evening of fun on the Cowichan stage with ‘Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike’

A talented cast, and an entertaining play: sounds like a winner to us

What is the future of Shawnigan Lake?

‘Think Shawnigan’ project wants your ideas

Lefebure rebuilds his previous life in construction

Former North Cowichan Mayor enjoys the transition back to physical outdoor work

Books, books, books: many by Cowichan Valley authors mean a stack of good reading

A Niagara of books flow through our doors at the Citizen

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

VIDEO: Trudeau, Singh posture for ‘progressive’ votes while Scheer fights in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Advance voter turnout up 25% for first two days: Elections Canada

Two million people voted Friday and Saturday

Okanagan principals told to confiscate vaping products from students

Vaping is up 74 per cent in youth over the last two years, according to one Canadian study

‘Rather mild’ winter expected in B.C. this year

Northwestern B.C. will be the worst hit

Court action in Trail acid spills may take years

B.C. court case involves a number of defendants and a number of plaintiffs

In the news: Sprinting to the election finish line and anger amid Manitoba storms

First Nations residents forced to evacuate their Manitoba homes after a recent snowstorm

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Most Read