Anna Jacyszyn

When I think of April, I think of spring and all the colours offered by the tulips, daffodils, pansies and primrose. Nature sprouting new growth— and although it’s a little late upon arrival this year, it’s here.

I feel the same when thinking about the arts in the valley — how creatively we are blooming.

The Okanagan is having a growth spurt of excellence in theatre, dance, any number of genres of music — local as well as the guest artists who come to perform.

Who needs to travel to a big town for top-notch talent when we are privileged see it flower here?

Perhaps I see it more because of the research I need to do to not only fill this column but create a weekly radio spot for okanganvalleyradio.com.

That Saturday morning spot forces me to really cover the valley’s events and opens my mind with excitement. Attending a performance of any kind in person, I notice the calibre of talent is so much higher.

We’ve always had thriving and ambitious art groups, but I see where we are more honed and polished with a confident professionalism.

—————

Starting with tonight, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre is hosting RUBBERBANDance Group: Avant guard dances with extraordinary skills in movement – the music is passionate and so is the choreography.

One can only imagine the incredible amount of hours it took to make their efforts look effortless. I know how long it takes me to learn a simple step in tap! ñ The rubberband group crosses boundaries between classical ballet and hip hop performed by the best of the best dancers from Latin-American, Asian, Afro-American and First Nations origins. Tickets $25-$30 at ticketseller.ca. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.

—————

Also this evening, April 17, Theatre Kelowna Society presents: Agatha Christie: Black Coffee. Hercule Poirot and his friend Arthur Hastings are summoned to visit a famous physicist, Sir Claud Amory, but they discover on their arrival that he has been murdered (da duh da)!

This play is the first piece of theatre that famed author Christie wrote for the stage. The play runs from April 17-28 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421Cawston Ave. with 2 p.m. weekend matinees and evening shows beginning at 7 p.m.

Check the website for details at theatrekelownasociety.org/black-coffee

—————

Thursday evening, I will be at the Italian Kitchen in Lake Country with my original Jazz Cafe Trio lineup of Neville Bowman and Bernie Addington. We have a couple of gigs coming up, so this will be a great springboard to perform new songs for the live repertoire.

It’s one thing rehearsing on your own, but bringing the band together and discovering where the songs fit as creative musicians, that is really fun.

The Italian Kitchen is at 415 Commonwealth Rd. Turn right at the big blue boat as one drives towards Lake Country from Kelowna.

Live music from 6-9 p.m. It has just been confirmed that I will be performing there on the second to last Thursday of every month until the end of the year. For reservations, call

250-766-6810 or email at info@italiankitchenlakecountry.com

—————

It’s opening night for another theatre company, award winning Fred Skeleton presents The Nether from April 18-27. This play is part crime drama, part sci-fi thriller, exploring consequences of living out our private dreams. Don Plant stars and I am looking forward to a night I can attend.

Tickets are available through Kelowna Tickets. This play is held at Work Room, 100 – 2600 Enterprise Way, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

—————

It’s Easter Weekend. For some, it’s celebrated with egg hunts and chocolate bunnies, especially if you have children with a sweet tooth.

Most churches will have events on the serious and fun side of Easter with the biggest being on Friday at the Parkinson Activity Centre, 1700 Parkinson Way, sponsored by Victory Life Church.

This massive Easter egg hunt is free and open to everyone. Enjoy a meal of freshly made pancakes along with a family-friendly stage full of songs and activities, prizes, and continuous egg hunts and games for children.

There will be 15,000 eggs hidden so no one will miss out. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with light rain in the forecast, so bring an umbrella or rain jacket for protection.

—————

If I’m not performing, then Saturday night is the night I go out to listen to some live music. Local favourite and sizzling hot blues harmonica musician/singer Sherman “Tank” Doucette is Live #AtTheEnz with a trio featuring D’Arcy Booth and Dylan Ranney. This recently revamped restaurant that once was the Minstrel Cafe is now DunnEnzies Pizza Company at 4638 Lakeshore Rd. Tickets for this show are $10 through eventbrite.com/e/live-attheenz-sherman-tank-doucette. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

—————

Grand Ole Opry and the Golden days of country music will be celebrated this Saturday when the Southern Belles and Country Gentlemen perform at MTL – MontREAL foods, 101 — 1851 Kirschner Rd.

This musical tribute to the female country stars of the 1950s through ’70s is a show that I feel so proud to be part of. It also includes Kinga Heming, Loni Moger and our musical director and founder, Sean Bray (Cod Gone Wild, 3 Oh Trio, Peachtree Trio). At this concert we interpret the songs of Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, to name a few. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved in advance by calling 778-484-3888 or info@mtlrealfood.com. Showtime is 7 p.m. Arrive hungry because this cafe-style food created by Chef Mathew Morazain is absolutely delicious.

—————

A Bluegrass jam session is held every Sunday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at Lakeview Heights Hall, 860 Anders Rd. in West Kelowna. Bluegrass has roots in traditional English, Irish, and Scottish ballads and dance tunes, but it’s also infused with an African-American blues and jazz vibe. If you like to play or listen, the cost is $5 at the door. More information at visitwestside.com

—————

I can’t wait until Tuesday when my husband and I will attend the Matt Andersen concert at the Kelowna Community Theatre. This powerhouse musician is one of the most moving and inspiring singers in the industry today with his sweat-soaked soul that meets incendiary rhythm and blues.

We had a chat last week about life, songs and the writing and recording process of the music business. I am a huge fan and I feel you just might become one as well. Tickets are at $39 and can be purchased through Select Your Tickets. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Happy Easter to you all!

Anna Jacyszyn is an award-winning jazz singer. Email her at artafactevent@

gmail.com. Listen to her radio show, Around the Valley with Anna, on OkanaganValleyRadio.com each Saturday morning at 10:45.