Welcome to Arts Seen Okanagan!

Welcome to the first online edition of Arts Seen!

My name is Glenna and I’ve been covering the arts here in Kelowna since I was first asked to review a concert back in 1990. At the time I was a first year university student and studying for my Grade X Royal Conservatory piano exam at the same time. The thought of being paid to go to the symphony and write about it seemed like a dream come true. Since then, I have been an avid supporter of the arts.

The purpose of this column is to give you some options to get you out of the house and enjoy all the great arts and cultural events we have going on in the Central Okanagan. I hope to offer you some coverage of things you may have missed, tell you about stuff that’s coming up this week and other things to look forward too. So, without further ado, here we go!

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Could you picture Kelowna’s Mayor Walter Gray in a tutu?

Okay, well, you can thankfully take that image right out of your brain and replace it with something a little different. Kelowna’s Mayor will be making his ballet debut in the upcoming Mission Dance Company’s show, Dance Artistico. Gray will be dancing in the role of the Toy Maker and assured me that, “No, I won’t be wearing a tutu!”

The MDC showcase will feature live musicians, including Okanagan Symphony’s concertmaster Denis Letourneau, three-time Canadian accordion champion Susan Athena Seel, flamenco guitarist Nenad Knezevic and the band No Fixed Address.

Gray joked that he was the “slowest learner in the class,” and sadly, didn’t realize his commitment to participate in Dance Artistico would end up costing him a complimentary trip on the new North Air connection to Whitehorse and a three day stay to witness the longest day of the year up north. But the Mayor is taking it all in stride…and twirls.

“I wouldn’t dream of backing out of this commitment because I know firsthand the hard work and dedication it takes to be a dancer,” said Gray, whose sister Laura was a professional ballerina in her younger days.

Gray has enjoyed working with the dancers, who he said range in age “from wee little three year olds” up to Kolbie Edwards, a young male dancer who has just been accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School on a scholarship.

There will also be a silent auction to raise funds for Edwards’ MDC scholarship.

Dance Artistico will be at the Kelowna Community Theatre Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 adults, $10 for students, seniors and children and kids under two are free. Call Select Your Tickets 250-762-5050 or online at


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Speaking of dance shows and anniversaries, big kudos go out to the Canadian School of Ballet for their brilliant 75th anniversary gala show. The welcomed back special guest alumni CSB dancers including Jocelyn Burns from Joffery Ballet School, Desiree Bortolussi from Ballet Kelowna, Siobhan Barker and Alexa MacDougall from Canadian College of Performing Arts and the breathtaking Kira Hofmann from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet who will be heading overseas to Germany in September to attend the Stuttgart Ballet Company’s affiliate John Crank Schule. What at treat to watch this young woman on the verge of what looks to be an incredibly promising career.


The Company B dancers and Junior B’s rounded out the performance with several show-stoppers, including my personal favorite, a piece called Little Birds which incorporated a large scaffold into the set. Well done dancers and a big congratulations to CSB for making it 75 years!

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Musically this week, there are a couple of great shows not to be missed.

First, Todd Wolfe is bringing his blues-a-delic sounding band to the Minstrel Café this coming Monday at 8 p.m. Wolfe is probably best known as the former guitarist with Sheryl Crow, who he also co-wrote with. He’ll be promoting his most recent release, Miles To Go, and will be accompanied by his band mates Roger Voss on drums and Justine Gardner on bass. There will be a $10 entertainment charge and you can make reservations at 250-764-2301. For all that’s going on at the Minstrel this week, check their calendar at www.minstrelcafe.com

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Also high on the list this week, especially if you’re a jazz fan, is Jazz Café’s presentation of Trifolia on Tuesday, June 25. This exceptional Montreal-based trio includes one of the most highly regarded and creative jazz pianists in Canada, Marianne Trudel. Tickets  are $25 and you can reserve your tickets on email at fabulousPR@gmail.com.

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Living on Okanagan Lake, one of the most fun things you can do in summer is go for a cruise, dancing while you float down the lake. Coming up Sunday is Cruise for the Cause aboard the Lake Lounge, offering food, live music, dancing and more from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and proceeds to the Kelowna Gospel Mission, so it’s a real win-win event! Get your tickets at Bering Music, Wild Kingdom or Dragon’s Lair.

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It’s a sad fact that far too many artists just can’t figure out how to support themselves with their work, no matter how talented they are. No matter how creative the right brain may be, if the left brain isn’t there to manage and market, it can be even tougher. Carrie Harper is one of those artists who has found a way to use both sides of her brain to make it work and she’s offering a workshop called Living the Dream, which will take place this Saturday. It’s a three hour workshop where she aims to help you define your target market, determine your value, create a business plan and a whole lot more. Check out the heART School page on Facebook for more information on all the courses they’re offering and for more info on this one, click here https://www.facebook.com/events/220929408049590/

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And one to watch for further into next week, Ziggy Marley comes to the Kelowna Community Theatre on Wednesday, June 26 at 8 p.m.  This five time Grammy award winning musician got his start with his legendary father Bob Marley but has gone on to make a name for himself outside of his father’s shadow. Show time is 8 p.m. and tickets start at $59.50 and are at Select Your Tickets or click here: www.selectyourtickets.com/venue.php?venue_id=6

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That’s it for this week. Please follow me on Twitter at ArtSeenOkanagan and feel free to email me with your events at glenna@glennaturnbull.com


About artseenokanagan

Freelance writer and photographer in Kelowna, specializing in the Arts.
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