Twelve performers, a number of major sponsors and a house full of attentive Lyric supporters celebrated the release of the Theatre’s first CD on Jan. 28 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the oldest continually operating theatre in Saskatchewan.
“The Board of Directors of the Southwest Cultural Development Group Inc. saw these anniversary celebrations as a perfect opportunity to showcase the diverse cultural events that have happened and continue to be held at the Lyric Theatre,” said Gwen Uher, President, at a press conference held prior to the party.
Terry Reidle, General Manager of Marquis Co-Sponsor Standard Motors, admitted, “Standard is really pleased to partner with Innovation Credit Union to be a co-sponsor of the Lyric Theatre. With Standard Motors being in Swift Current for over 100 years and the Lyric Theatre celebrating 100 years we felt it was a real good partnership.”
“We just really believe in giving back to the community and supporting local artists,” said Alan Lightfoot, Regional Managing Partner of Platinum Sponsor MNP. “In the past we’ve contributed more to sporting types of things and we want to be more involved in the cultural aspect. We’ve been involved in a number of the events throughout the last year and a half, and we’re continuing to do that in sponsoring some of the events, and also involved in fund-raising for the restoration of the building itself.”
Gayleen Turner, a Director with Gold Sponsor Pioneer Co-op, said, “We support a number of organizations in the southwest. Pioneer Co-op has a number of branches and it seemed like a natural fit for us to support the Lyric Theatre. We have entertainers and people participating from the whole southwest region of the province … so with the anniversary we think it’s even more important to make a contribution to southwest Saskatchewan.
The Lyric’s Living Legacy Campaign was set in motion last fall with the hope of generating enough funds to match dollars for a federal grant that the Southwest Cultural Development Group had applied for last September. The production of a CD was envisioned as an appropriate way to celebrate the Lyric’s 100th Anniversary.
Eliza Doyle, a Bronze Sponsor and well-known local performer who contributed “Good Ole’ Western Town” to the CD, described the complex process of producing the recording.
“Last fall, we were all sitting around discussing how were going to celebrate the Lyric’s 100 Anniversary, and we thought, what better way than to produce a CD commemorating the spirit of the Lyric and the spirit of Swift Current and the community.
“So we ran a little songwriting competition where artists had to submit songs they’d written. We gave them a theme: write about the Lyric, Swift Current or Saskatchewan. Submissions just poured in. It was really great to see. Then we had the tough job of narrowing down the submissions and came out with the 12 songs you will hear this evening.”
“We’re extremely proud of the CD and can hardly wait to share it with our patrons,” said Uher.
The CD features original music written and performed by regional musicians, including Jacob Fehr, Dave Cyca, Eliza Doyle, Larry Jaster, Corinne Newton, Vern Michaels, Andrea Neustaeter, Rachel Wormsbecher, Jody Weger, Nicole Hjermenrude, Mark Penner and Connie Day, with instrumental and vocal backup by Donavon Epp, Paula McGuigan, Clayton Linthicum, Chuck Weppler, Marv Hildebrand, Micheal Orchton, Barry Dueck, Shonnon Klassen, and Penny Stenberg.
Musician and vocalist Dave Cyca contributed “Bricks and Mortar,” a song that he feels parallels the struggles of the Lyric Theatre and those who are dedicated to its preservation.
“It’s about community and working together and maybe not knowing the right way of how to go about things, so we’re sort of stumbling along sometimes, but in the end we all work together and hopefully the project will be successful.”
The recording process itself took 10 days.
“We were shut down for 10 days as we did the recordings here,” said Uher. “Then we had Jody Weger produce the CD. He also put in a lot of the sound track. We had other musicians that helped as well with the sound track, and they worked very hard putting it all together, and then after that it was sent away to be mastered, so it was quite the process.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to recognize Jody Weger and Dahl Street Records for the passion he put towards this project and the outstanding CD that has been produced.”
The CD will sell for $20 and is currently available at four local businesses: Optical Image, Cowtown, Fabutan and Pioneer Co-op.