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A&E column: Medford Singers concert, orchestra, and art show winners

The latest in arts and entertainment in Cowichan

Choir director Simon Leung is bidding farewell with the Medford Singers spring concert A Touch of Broadway at a pair of shows in Duncan and Lake Cowichan.

The program will include a number of Broadway medleys along with guest soloists performing some great hits, including Grant Mellemstrand and Christine Hof-Taylor with music from the Cowichan Musical Society’s production of Matilda.

Choir members Jennifer Cleough, Jim Cleough and Georgie Weeks-Heyd will also perform solos.

Audience members can look forward to songs from Les Miserables, South Pacific and Sleepless in Seattle.

Bursary winner Casey Heyd will also sing a couple of numbers before she heads off to Britain to further her music education.

The Singers will be accompanied by Angelica Lopez-Arzate.

“This will be Simon’s swan song with Medford Singers and he will be missed by us all,” said Michele Jedwab in a press release. “We’ve had an incredible 12 years with him at the helm. It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve learned so much from him.”

Connie Masson will become the new conductor in the fall.

The shows are Sunday, May 26 at Duncan United Church at 2 p.m. and Sunday, June 2 at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church in Lake Cowichan at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and entry is free for children 12 and under.••• The Victoria Baroque Youth Orchestra is coming to the Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay for a concert on May 25.

The concert is titled Glorious Vivaldi, and will include ‘Spring’ from the famous Four Seasons.

“Antonio Vivaldi, born in Italy in 1678, had a career centred around music education, spending 37 years teaching music in a girls’ orphanage,” said a press release for the concert. “It was for these students that he wrote much of his best-loved music, including The Four Seasons. Though his music fell into obscurity after his death, it was reintroduced to the public in 1925 and has been beloved by adults and children alike ever since.”

The ensemble focuses on collaborative playing and uses historical performance style and phrasing that would have been used in the Baroque era, the release said.

“It’s thrilling to watch the young musicians work together; you can hear the music coming alive as they rehearse,” said Eve Daniell, who is working with Sylvan to host the concert. “The programme they’ve chosen showcases some of the best of Vivaldi and of the entire era, music that alternates between beautiful melodies and toe-tapping, infectious rhythms. It’s a wonderful programme for any age.”

The orchestra will present a short, child-friendly interactive performance in the afternoon at 4 p.m., and the full programme in an evening performance at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 12 and under for the matinee, and $30 for the evening performance.

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The Cowichan Valley Arts Council welcomed more than 100 guests to the opening of the Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show in Duncan on May 9.

It’s the largest open show on Vancouver Island and includes 140 works from 140 artists.

Three jurors selected pieces for recognition. These included Richard Gibson’s bronze Aphrodite as Best in Show, and Cim MacDonald’s Driftwood Tangle (photography) and Kaye Smillie’s Walking Women Revisited given Awards of Excellence.

Each juror also selected an individual piece. Ellen McCluskey picked Ken Miner’s Big Lonely Doug (photography), Jason Gress selected Arnim Rodeck’s Layers (wood), and Hwiemtun Roland selected Nancy Wesley’s Ocean Jewel (fabric).

The jurors also chose three honourable mentions. They are Jo-hanne Clark for Trail of the Blue Thread (oil), Claudia Lohman for Dreamland (acrylic), and Jordan Blackstone for Three of a Kind.

Still up for grabs is the People’s Choice Award, so head down to the CVAC galleries at the Cowichan Community Centre and tour through the show to pick your favourite.


Two new window displays open at Imagine That! gallery in downtown Duncan on May 24.

The first window will feature Jennifer Lawson’s watercolours.

“Jennifer Lawson is a Cowichan Valley ‘plein air’ painter, absorbed in natural wonders,” said Katie Daniel of Imagine That! in a press release. “She paints in watercolour on pure rag paper. The ephemeral beauty of this medium is intensified by her refreshing impressionism and delightful imagery. For her, the thrill of painting is about the beauty of translating feelings with brushstrokes of colour.”

The second window will feature Lana McQueen in a display titled “Capturing the Moment”.

“As an amateur photographer, my motivation lies in capturing ‘our amazing home’,” said McQueen in the release.

“Photography is an important tool, to remind us of the beauty and life that surrounds on a daily basis. It not only captures memories but sheds light on those things that ultimately share our home. Photography can bring to ones’ mind an awareness of the fragility and yet tenacious force of nature.

“To top this all off, it is also so much fun! I enjoy and continue to discover so many facets of my camera and I am truly inspired by the viewers reactions to my work.”