The Festival of Excellence, the second performance in the Lyric Theatre’s Living Legacy Series, drew capacity crowds to experience the work of Lyric alumni during two evening performances held Apr. 27 and 28.
Host Erin Gehl, Executive Director, acknowledged the Lyric’s strong partnerships that have made these performances possible.
“We have wonderful partners in the community of Swift Current. The Art Gallery of Swift Current has made it possible for the visual art displays on the walls… and we thank Kim very much for his assistance in the project. We would also like to thank the City of Swift Current for their belief in the culture industry and sector in Swift Current.
“To date we have raised $227,000. We are still accepting contributions to this campaign. It’s really important because the theatre has grown so much over the last seven years and this campaign will enable us to provide the spectacular events and the wonderful quality programming that we have become known for.”
The comprehensive programs for both evenings included music, theatre, dance, written work, visual art and film.
World-renowned trumpeter Amy Horvey, formerly of Cabri, launched the evening with a piece written in the early 20th century, accompanied by her husband Isak Goldschneider on piano. Amy currently teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. She holds a doctorate in Trumpet Performance from McGill University, and performs regularly with both the National Arts Centre and Montreal Symphony Orchestras.
The visual art exhibition curated by Kim Houghtaling included works by Jill Armstrong, Melodie Briand, Jillian Cyca, Nickolus Louma and Stephan Wiebe.
“The visual artists on the walls around you were selected from … hundreds of visual artists that Swift Current and area contributed to provincial and national culture,” noted Houghtaling. “This particular group are young professionals, artists that have established themselves as professionals but also, we can anticipate greater things from them in the future. These are people to watch.”
Actor James Aaron performed selected monologues, including one from Tony Glazer’s play Safe.
Novelist Lee Gowan read from his newest novel, with the working title The Beautiful Place.
“It’s extrapolated from the novel As for Me and My House by Sinclair Ross,” Gowan explained. “The main character is from a small town in Saskatchewan but the novel is set in Vancouver in 1986 and in Toronto in contemporary times, so it’s more an urban novel than my previous three novels were. They were all set in Broken Head Saskatchewan.”
Gowan is always delighted to return to the Swift Current area and the family farm.
“This is where I grew up, and this is where I was formed as a person, and I keep coming back because my family are still here. My brother is still farming and my mother is still here. I have a connection to that piece of land, that farm where I grew up, that will always be there.
“It’s wonderful to be here for this celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Lyric Theatre. I remember coming to movies here when I was a kid. It’s wonderful what they’re doing to keep this place alive and a centre of the arts of culture in southwest Saskatchewan.”
Kasia Rheann, who says “Dancing through life is my mission,” offered a “nuvo burlesque” cabaret routine reflecting the 1940s in keeping with the Lyric’s Living Legacy theme.
Friday night’s feature performer was Annette Campagne, who “delivers a mix of contemporary folk, melodic pop and acoustic rock with a sweet and soulful voice.”
Luke Cyca and his band beekeeper, “an indie post-pop power trio from Vancouver consisting of comedian Devon Lougheed, protein synthesist Luke Cyca, and opera singer Brandi Sidoryk,” wrapped up the Saturday program.