The Sechelt Arts Festival, under the direction of Nancy Cottingham-Powell, becomes more creative with each passing year.
This year’s 10th anniversary event takes place from Oct. 17 to 27 and features unique collaborations between artists, not only in the curated art exhibition at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt, but also in the new music concert known by the curious title of Doghouse Composter.
Two dynamic showcases fill the stage at the Raven’s Cry Theatre — the first one, Covering Joni, an art and music retrospective of the Coast’s sometime resident Joni Mitchell, is already sold out. At least 15 local vocalists and musicians are taking part — there are a lot of Joni fans out there. Organizers don’t expect Mitchell to show up for the performance, but you never know.
The following Friday, Oct. 25, a music concert of a different kind takes place at Rockwood Pavilion. Don’t be put off by the name: Doghouse Composter. It’s an innovative idea from Graham Ord with supporting musicians and sound artists, featuring the sites and sounds of construction.
“There’s a buzz around it. It’s quite different,” said the Festival’s Diana Robertson.
Ord got the idea long ago while listening to the rhythmic sounds of hammering from a construction site. Previously, he produced a musical event with two of the musicians who will be with him on Friday, Giorgio Magnanensi and Barry Taylor, in which they hammered nails into a 4x4 during the concert. The audience was intrigued.
“A drill has a certain pitch,” Ord said. “A circular saw has a drone.”
Sound manipulation can draw out the tones of a hammer to make them really long and interesting. Ord has combined these elements along with musical instruments, accordion and cello, to produce the free concert. The title comes from a time when he lived in the east end of Vancouver where many break-ins took place.
“We built a doghouse to keep thieves away, but it was really a composter,” he said, laughing.
The second main stage performance on Oct. 26 showcases the 20th anniversary Festival dancers, presented by the SC Dance Society, who give a full performance of Dances on Water, their vision of art, culture and a message of water conservation using great imagery, costumes and lighting. Other concerts include Libertango with Paul Pinsonnault, flautist Julie Rutter and guests who will be appearing on Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. at the Arts Centre.
But the festival is also interactive and involves you, whatever your age.
Art workshops start on Oct. 19 with a free print-making workshop at the Arts Centre at 10 a.m. from Janice McFegan, Nena Braathen and Russ Tkachuk who will show the zinc etching plate and woodcuts used to produce the print, Arbutus Tree in Halfmoon Bay, now on display at the gallery. This will be a basic introduction to printmaking in the two hours available but they hope that everyone will be able to enjoy the process of “pulling” a print.
A heritage show of snapshots, then and now, of landmarks in our community opens today at the Seaside Centre. Scream Dream III, a dance for teens, takes place at Chatelech on Oct. 25 with the inventive Steve Weave channelling the music. Jam Sandwich, a spontaneous music workshop at The Sound Studio is also free on Oct. 24. You’re Killing Hip Hop, a dance workshop from Lenny Len is on Oct. 25, also at Chat. Robertson hopes that participants will show their moves later that evening at Scream Dream. Len is a sought after choreographer, and there is a fee for this one: $25. Pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guitar master and renowned teacher of music Daniel Bolshoy gives a free workshop on Oct. 26 for those wanting to learn the secrets of classical guitar, a demanding instrument. Bolshoy’s public concert is on the same day at 4 p.m. at the Arts Centre. Meanwhile at Snickett Park, artist Jan Poynter invites others to join her in an outdoor painting session on Oct. 26/27, or simply take a stroll to watch artists at work.
Set aside Oct. 27 for the whole family to enjoy a series of music and fun events at the Arts Centre. Many of the events are free, courtesy of the District of Sechelt and local foundation and business sponsors. For a complete schedule, see www.secheltartsfestival.com.