Anna Jacyszyn

As normal life tries its best to resume, we still have to be vigilant to the fact there is a pandemic happening, and its not going away soon

I feel sad and scared for our local business that rely on our spending to survive.

It’s a double-edge sword closing the downtown core for traffic in order to have sections of Bernard Avenue pedestrian only; to serve the restaurants and bars with better social distancing conditions, but who wants to congregate in one place when strangers are surrounding you and your bubble of friends?

The retail shops, especially down along Bernard and Bertram where pedestrian traffic is sparce, could use a few stalls in the middle of the road selling local produce or knickknacks for tourists needs, but in order to entice more people to that area means more risk in our city, which seemed COVID free only last month.

It’s not just downtown that suffers. On Kirshner Road, the OK Corral has closed its doors permanently after 36 years of providing the city’s country and western lovers a place to call home.

This saddens so many people in our community.

Even though I was never a regular, I frequented the venue to hear bands, attend a line-dance party and even perform there when I was involved in a country music revue a few years ago.

I am sad to hear this news and I applaud the management team and owners for consistently entertaining our community with good ol’ country music fun.

I hope the future brings new hope.

— On the topic of country music, a young talented singer/songwriter by the name of Teigen Gayse is having a CD release party tomorrow at Barn Owl Brewing, 4629 Lakeshore Road.

Gayse’s self-titled, eight-song record is more contemporary country with upbeat songs that are fresh, yet familiar. She writes about what she knows — the highs and lows of heartaches and the mistakes that she hopes to learn from.

In her title track, Don’t Look Back, she opens the song with a spoken-word phrase that really resonates with me; “Words are timeless, cling to your melody.”

This phrase provokes depth of thought; she is on my radar for future albums to come.

Tickets for her live performance are $25 through Eventbrite.ca which includes entry and a copy of her album. Seating is very limited, so don’t delay. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and also supports Central Okanagan Food Bank.

— Friday, the Vernon Proms Classical Music Festival continues with the Goldberg Variations —Bach’s well-loved work reimagined for string trio and features: Cvetozar Vutev (concertmaster with the Kamloops Symphony or KSO), Ashley Kroecher (principal violist for KSO and OSO) and Martin Kratky (principal cellist for KSO and second chair for OSO).

The concert will be held at The Landing Church, 5871 Okanagan Landing Road, at 7:30 p.m. Ticket are $25 and can be purchased through vernonproms.ca.

The Saturday afternoon concert that was to be held at the Mary Irwin Theatre has been cancelled to the public but will be filmed and streamed at another time.

For more information on other events this week, visit the aforementioned website for the Proms.

— The Mary Irwin Theatre will be open on Saturday evening for Lullabies, Liturgy & Lament, which celebrates women composers to include Hildegarde von Bingen of the Medieval era to Josepha Weber and the Age of Opera with a cast to include: Tracy Fehr, lyric coloratura soprano; Heather Allen, soprano; Olivia Walsh, contralto and cello; Nicole Handford, flute; and Dennis Nordlund, harpsichord and pianoforte.

Tickets are $30, or $25 for students and seniors through vernonproms.ca, by calling 250-717-5304 or visiting rotarycentreforthearts.com.

— Saturday also brings Bruce Coughlan to the Okanagan to perform at a house concert hosted through Lantern Folk Roots Music Society.

This West Kelowna non-profit organization has put all protocols in place to continue to bring quality and class to our community in the form of high-end musical talent.

Coughlan is a founding member of the well-known Tillers Folly Band. He is a songsmith, multi-instrumentalist and a storyteller.

Tickets are $17 through lanternfolk.ca and showtime is 7:30 p.m.

— Aug. 1 is a very special day for me because it is my 10-year wedding anniversary.

Ten years ago, I married my now husband, Andrew Jopling, and I continue to fall deeper in love with him every year.

It’s quite amazing for someone like me who chose travel and music over stability and children, yet here I am, living in my hometown, continuing my passion for performing live as well as talking, writing and singing about it.

I am very pleased to announce that Kelowna Actors Studio has once again allowed me to use their theatre for a three-night only Jazz at the KAS event.

On Aug. 20, 21, 22, my band and I will put on a show for you, celebrating the ladies of jazz that inspired me. I will stand on their shoulders to sing songs to delight you. The band includes Neville Bowman on keys, Stefan Bienz on bass, and Stephen Buck on flute, clarinet and saxophone.

If you know me just a little by reading my column or meeting me at a concert, gig or out and about, you will know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and this show will tell the story of my journey into jazz and my shear enjoyment of performing songs that mean so much to me.

I will also include some of my own songs that I have written over the years.

The venue will have selected menus and drinks prepaid for your table upon arrival, and you can purchase your tickets through kelownatickets.com.

You definitely will not be disappointed and I would love to see you there.

Stay safe, be aware and don’t forget to nurture your self and the arts—we need you.

Anna Jacyszyn is an award winning jazz singer and recipient of the Civic Honour of the Arts award, the Okanagan Arts award in Music. Email her at artafactevent@gmail.com.