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A&E column: Jazz in Duncan, ‘Sing Along Messiah’, calligrapher open house and books x2

What’s coming up in Cowichan arts and entertainment

The Duncan Showroom is bringing in jazz for the Christmas Kickoff and Lightup on Friday, Nov. 24.

The Lust Life Jazz Band hits the stage with pop and party music, Dixieland, funk, blues, latin and swing.

Tickets are $20. For more about the band, check out


Attention all singers: Sing Along Messiah is headed to Cowichan.

On Sunday, Dec. 17 the Victoria Baroque Youth Orchestra will come to Mill Bay for two performances of Handel’s classic Messiah. They will be joined by professional soloists Eve Daniell (soprano), Ciara Gallagher Beaudin (mezzo soprano), Tim Carter (tenor), and Kyron Basu (baritone), and local senior voice students for two student-friendly arias. In authentic Baroque style, the orchestra will play without a conductor, instead following their director Elyssa Lefurgey-Smith’s lead through breath, gesture, and meticulous teamwork.

“Violinist Lefurgey-Smith and soprano Daniell are both Island-grown musicians who moved farther afield to pursue careers in performance. Since returning home to the Island they found a shared passion in creating local events and opportunities that each experienced in their travels,” Trisha Daniell said in a press release, describing how the event came together. “When talking with Rev. Katherine Brittain of Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay, a plan came together for Lefurgey-Smith to bring the children of the Youth Orchestra to the Cowichan Valley to perform Part I of Handel’s beloved oratorio. First performed in 1742, Messiah has become a highlight among Christmas performances.”

Sing Along Messiah will take place at 2:30 p.m. The audience joins in on five choruses, including the joyful ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. Rehearsals are Sundays 11:20 a.m. to 12:05 p.m., on Nov. 19 and 26, and Dec. 3 and 10. Tickets are $50 adults 25 and older, $20 for youth, and $10 for children 12 and under. Attendance at rehearsals is strongly encouraged.

Candlelit Messiah will take place at 5 p.m. “An evening of ambience, beautiful music, and the story of the Nativity,” said Daniell.

All tickets for the evening performance are $30 and are available on (sylvansingalongmessiah, or sylvancandlelit) or from the church at 250-743-4659, and will also be available at the door, space permitting.


Warmland Calligraphers are hosting an open house for their art show on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The event takes place at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to see a live demonstration and enjoy a drink in the lounge on the third floor of the Cowichan Community Centre.

Entry is free.


TouchWood Editions announced that Jules Sherred’s cookbook Crip Up the Kitchen: Tools, Tips and Recipes for the Disabled Cook has been nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association 2024 Book Awards.

Since 1965, the annual Book Awards have recognized such figures in Northwest literature as Ivan Doig, Ursula K. Le Guin, David James Duncan, Cheryl Strayed, Jonathan Evison, Molly Gloss, Chuck Palahniuk, and Brian Doyle.

Crip Up the Kitchen is a recipe collection that brings the economy and satisfaction of home cooking to disabled and neurodivergent cooks. With 50 recipes that make use of three key tools — the electric pressure cooker, air fryer, and bread machine — Sherred, from Duncan, has set out to make the kitchen accessible and enjoyable, said TouchWood.

Up to six winners will be selected from the shortlisted titles announced on Nov. 6. Winners be announced in early January 2024 and promoted by member stores during the winter and spring of 2024.

For more information, please visit or


Cowichan Valley author Francine McCabe is hosting a book launch for her title Fleece & Fibre: Textile Producers of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Duncan branch of the Cowichan library, located in the Cowichan Community Centre.

The launch is free to attend and McCabe will be on hand and will read passages from her work. She’ll also be bringing local fibre for show-and-tell, and will host a question and answer session.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase.