Saturday, June 3, 2023

Wallaceburg Concert Band spring concert on Saturday, plus more local arts buzz

By Dan White – Special to the Sydenham Current

A great deal is happening in the arts right now, and I have limited space, so let’s get to it.

In the past week here in town, the Wallaceburg Concert Band and Wallaceburg Brass Quintet had a very successful dinner theatre. The audience feedback was wonderful. We had people on their way out the door turning around and coming back to inform cast members that they had a great experience. The cast was wonderful, as was the meal and the support by local businesses. Thank you to everyone!

Coming up on May 27 is the Wallaceburg Concert Band spring concert at WDSS. If you haven’t put that in your calendar yet, jot it down now. It will be a wonderful concert with a variety of charts that you recognize. For more information, check out our Facebook page.

On Victoria Day weekend, Glasstown Brewing finally opened! This is a massive undertaking, and Todd Shepley and his team have been visionary in their quest to revitalize downtown Wallaceburg and bring a classy, unique experience to Wallaceburg. I have talked to many people around the greater CK area (that’s right, I wrote it… the greater CK area or the GCKA), and there is a real buzz about this place. Joni and I popped in a week ago while preparing for our dinner theater and were treated to a few samples of master brewer Dave’s beer. Delicious!

We spoke to a local businessman at the dinner theatre, and he stated that the woodstove pizza was one of the best he has ever had. Of course, there is that chorus of people wondering why they don’t carry “Bud Light” or how it will survive in small-town Wallaceburg. It will because the team that built it did not think small town, and people will not just enjoy beer, food, coffee, and local micro distillery liquors and wines, they will have an experience! That will draw people from far and wide, and then watch as Wallaceburg grows.

Yes, there is an arts element here too. Glasstown’s first band to perform will be The Down River Band. Kurt Brown, as well as the Elnicki’s, were all students at SCITS. They grew up downriver of Sarnia, hence the name.

In my previous column, I mentioned that Joni and I were attending the CK Arts and Culture Network’s studio tour in early May. Truth be told, I really didn’t know what to expect. Turns out it is a very cool event. On the first day, Joni and I made it to the 5 north CK studio – one in Highgate at the Mary Webb Centre, two in the Dresden area, and two in Wallaceburg. We had some great conversations with artists and saw some wonderful art. On day two, we headed to the Chatham galleries, and we were so engaged by the five artists we did meet that we did not have nearly enough time to get to all of the studios in and around Chatham. I can tell you, CK is the home to many crazy talented (and several nationally and even internationally) recognized artists. The one common denominator the artists who have been recognized for their talent had was humility. To a person, they are in awe of the recognition and noted that they simply do what they love doing. It was a refreshing change from professional entertainers (whether on the screen, in music, or sports) who see their success as validation for their egos to run amuck! If you have a little time, look up Bernie Hrytzak, Francois Grenier, and of course, Troy Brooks. Three completely different forms of visual art, three wonderfully engaging artists, three gifted humans.

Next week, we travel again to Stratford to take in my favorite Shakespearean play, King Lear. I am hoping it is well done as Joni has not seen it… but I am somewhat concerned as Paul Gross is playing the title role, and the last time I saw him in Stratford, he was Hamlet and he spent the “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy lying across the deck, slapping the stage. Not one of my top picks for a performance of that classic work.

I neglected to mention in my previous column that if you keep an eye on Stratford deals, they have “pay what you can” deals. It’s a great opportunity to attend world-class theatre on a budget. We saw that in time to get tickets for Frankenstein Revived in the fall.

In future columns, I will focus on a few local writers and a place to get your writing published here in Wallaceburg.

If you happen to be at Glasstown over the weekend, raise a glass to the arts and check out the two stellar murals by local artist Sarah Steele.

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