Posted by on Apr 7, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

In preparation for the last show of our 2013 season, I spent some time looking at The Steel Wheels website–getting text for our program. Before last summer, I hadn’t heard of The Steel Wheels. Doug, Marilyn and I got together to find an act to round off our season. We checked out the schedules at some of the Edmonton-based theatres and presenting organizations and saw The Steel Wheels were part of the Full Moon Folk Club’s season. We were happy to book them for one of the nights they had open.

I have enjoyed getting to know their music and look forward to hearing it live. I also look forward to meeting them as they seem like solid, community-minded people. Their band t-shirts are made in their hometown, they do an annual bicycle music tour, their local coffee roaster named a dark roast in their honour, and their local brewmaster created Steel Wheels Stout. How cool is that?

The Steel Wheels show on Monday, April 8th is sold out. If you don’t have a ticket and are very sad about it, take a chance and come to The Red Brick just before 7 pm. If a season ticket holder is unable to attend, there just might be a seat for you. It’s worth a try!

A Standing Ovation for Jake’s Gift

Posted by on Jan 18, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Longtime Chautauqua supporters have identified Jake’s Gift as one of the best performances they have ever seen at The Red Brick. Writer/actor Julia Mackey takes the audience on a journey along the beaches of Normandy as Jake, a Canadian WWII Veteran, reluctantly returns to the site of D-Day for the first time–on the 60th Anniversary of the invasion. Although it is a one-woman show, the performance has a conversational feel as Julia portrays three different characters: Jake, the Veteran; Petite Isabelle, a French girl who tends the graves of Canadian soldiers; and Grande Isabelle, the grand-mère of Petite Isabelle. With changes to her voice, posture, and mannerisms, Julia Mackey brings these diverse characters to life. The story that unfolds amplifies the power of sacrifice and the promise of remembrance.

The experience of Jake’s Gift is difficult to express in words. Hopefully you know someone who saw the January 17th performance and has encouraged you to attend the second community performance at The Red Brick on Saturday night–January 19th. If not, take my word for it. The story is both poignant and humourous. You will feel you have done something important–just by being in the audience.

10 More To Go!

Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Chautauqua 2013 Season Tickets are selling well. People recognize the value of our package: 5 high-quality shows (with reserved seating) for $125. Selling season ticket packages means that Chautauqua volunteers don’t have to scramble or shift into high-pressure-sales mode when performance dates approach. Our goal is to sell out every show. This ensures the artists have a good audience, which inspires their performance, and helps Chautauqua stay solvent, which means we can continue to bring quality entertainment to our community.

Will you help? We would like to sell 10 more sets of season tickets. If you’ve already bought your own tickets, invite a friend, neighbour, or colleague to do the same. If you haven’t made your purchase, race down to Thymes Two or buy online. Remember that season tickets are transferable: if you can’t make a show, give or sell them to someone else.

Oh, and did I mention Chautauqua Season Tickets make great gifts? This Christmas, don’t buy a thing: buy an experience!

What are your summer music plans?

Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

What are your summer music plans?

There are a lot of great summer music festivals in Alberta–and across Canada. Maybe you took in The Northcountry Fair at the end of June. Maybe you’re planning to go to Pembina River Nights at Rangeton Park this weekend or Wild Mountain Music Festival at Entrance Ranch next weekend or the Edmonton Folk Festival at the beginning of August.

Take a minute or two and share your summer music plans. Is there a festival you attend every year? Why is it your favourite?

Tell us what’s on your calendar or reflect back on the highlights of a festival you’ve already seen.

Pembina River Nights

Wild Mountain Music Festival

Edmonton Folk Festival

A Trip To The Tempest

Posted by on Jul 8, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Last Thursday afternoon, Doug, Helen, Jane, Tracy, and I saw The Tempest at Hawrelak Park. On our way into Edmonton, we stopped at Urban Forest Design Studio just west of Wildwood. They were having a summer exhibition and sale, and their shelves were full of beautiful pieces. (The sale ended July 8, but they are open year round.)

After a picnic in the park, we made our way to the Heritage Amphitheatre. Tickets for the evening’s performance were $25; for $40 you could purchase a season pass which allowed you to see the perfomance that night and come back to see Julius Caesar. Doug and Helen opted to sit at a picnic table on the grassy knoll while Jane, Tracy and I found centre section seats about ten rows back from the stage. It was a beautiful evening for open air theatre. Although the temperature dropped as the night went on, we did not encounter the millions of mosquitoes we had expected. The play ran just over two hours, including an intermission. The set was simple: a sea/sky blue rampart with a revolving (partial) ship in the centre. Jane thought the first scene, the storm, was fantastic. She was impressed by the maneuvers of the actors who moved in slow motion and created the impression of a listing ship as they tried to avoid being thrown overboard. Tracy was inspired to go home and sew costumes. She especially liked the altered suit jackets worn by Stephano and Trinculo. Personally, I just love watching Shakespeare in an open air theatre. In this production, I especially liked how actors often entered the stage by moving down the aisles. It broke down the fourth wall and drew in the audience. Doug enjoyed the evening so much that he’s going to see Julius Caesar next week.

Shakespearian Field Trip–Chautauqua Style

Posted by on Jul 4, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

At Doug’s invitation, a few friends of Chautauqua will be taking in The Tempest at the Free Will Shakespeare Festival tomorrow night. Performances of The Tempest (odd-dated evenings and matinees) and Julius Caesar (even-dated evenings) are presented in Hawrelak Park until July 22. We’re hoping that the rain is over for this week but know there will be plenty of mosquitos. There will be bug spray. Post field trip details to follow!

Nominations Open for the Edson and Area Arts Awards

Posted by on Jul 3, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Creative Campus and the Community Arts Network Of Edson (CANOE) invite nominations for the inaugural Edson and Area Arts Awards. These awards will be presented at Arts On Fire on Friday, September 28, 2012 during Culture Days (formerly Arts Days).

Four diverse award categories will recognize a variety of contributions to the Edson and area arts community: Artist for the Arts, Arts Champion, Cultural Pillar, and Young Artist.

Nomination forms are available online at or at the Town of Edson offices. The deadline to submit nominations is Thursday, September 6, 2012.

For more information about Arts on Fire or the Edson and Area Arts Awards, contact Tracy Templeton at 780-723-5131 or

Chautauqua’s AGM and upcoming season

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Chautauqua’s AGM and upcoming season

The back room of Ernie O’s (it’s not as shady as it sounds) was filled with familiar faces this evening. Nearly all the Chautauqua board members were able to come out for the AGM. We reflected on a very successful 35th season and continued the discussion and planning of the 2013–or 36th–season. Doug is very excited about bringing Jake’s Gift to Edson. If you were at last year’s Season Ticket Launch, he might have shown you a clip–he’s been in contact with the performer, Julia Mackey, since we saw a segment of her performance at Alberta Showcase last October. Chautauqua is hoping to partner with other community groups and also find some corporate funding so we can present more than one performance of Jake’s Gift. It’s an astounding one-woman show that tells the story of a Canadian WWII Veteran who travels back to Juno Beach to find the grave of the brother who never came home. Julia Mackey plays four different characters. She transforms herself right in front of the audience, using only changes in her voice, posture, and movements–and a few simple wardrobe adjustments. I was spellbound by her 15 minute segment at Showcase; I can’t wait to see the entire show.

Find out more about Jake’s Gift–and watch some scenes from the show–at this video link:

Programs Folded & Ready

Posted by on Feb 18, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

Trying find motivation this Saturday afternoon to cross some more items off the ‘to-do’ list. Instead, found the ideal source of procrastination lying in a pile of unfolded programs for this evening’s performance. Half an hour later and about 6 tracks from Motörhead (file that under an increasingly eclectic musical library) equates a completed pile of folded programs. Another fine looking set of programs, if I do say so myself. Good job again, Shari.

It’s important to note that before folding the programs, my hands were things of beauty. Magazine hand-model quality, really. People would often notice them and feel compelled to comment. ‘Your hands have given me hope’, they’d say. But my dream of selling watches for Rolex and rings for Spence Diamonds have been crushed.

A fold here, a cut there. Another fold, another slice. You know that flap of skin that is found between your thumb and forefinger? It’s so shredded that if I put my lips up to it and blow, I can play it like a kazoo. But the show must go on…

Enjoy a great performance tonight!

TorQ Percussion Quartet

Posted by on Jan 29, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

The 2012 Chautauqua season started last night with a bang–and a crash and a boom and some rolls. Toronto-based TorQ Percussion Quartet performed a diverse program for an enthusiastic audience. Richard, Adam, Jamie, and Daniel entertained both with their expert playing and their humourous anecdotes. The show began when the musicians walked onstage with rattles, tambourine, doumbek, and cahon and broke into The Bright Side by Ken Shorley. The rest of the first half focused on marimba and vibraphone. During the second half, a wide variety of instruments and objects were used–including paint cans and a conch shell. Highlights of the evening were John Cage’s Third Construction and Earth by quartet member Daniel Morphy.

Grade 3 and 4 students from Vanier Community Catholic school warmed up the audience with Dancing Snowflakes and Chatter With the Angels, arranged by Jeff Kriske and Randy DeLelles. They were excited to meet TorQ before the concert, getting revved up with a pre-performance cheer (haaave FUN!) and posing for a photo.

Twenty community members also took part in a djembe-based percussion workshop ealier Saturday afternoon. TorQ performed a short improvised piece for the group then led them through a variety of drumming and body-percussion activities.

TorQ’s day in Edson was part of a 15-concert tour through Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba organized by Prairie Debut. Among the sponsors that made their tour possible are the RBC Emerging Artists Project , the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta.