This is the last column of the year from the arts community in the Flin Flon area. Usually, it would be a celebration of all the amazing stuff our arts and culture groups have accomplished over the past year. This year was a little different. We couldn’t have a Community Choir show like Le Grand Opera or Mamma Mia. We couldn’t have Ham Sandwich theatre productions like Nineteen Eighty-Four or The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. We couldn’t have the Borealis Chamber Choir performing the Flin Flon version of Lessons and Carols. We couldn’t even have Home Routes shows or Johnny’s Social Club events. But all was not lost.
We had some amazing art exhibitions at the NorVA Gallery and on Main Street. The Pineroot Mural Festival had an incredible kick-off with the luscious raven on the Perimeter and some of our stalwarts in the musical community quickly learned how to livestream, mix and photograph artists doing their thing, to delight our ears and in some cases our eyes.
Our own maestro Mark Kolt has become somewhat of a YouTube sensation. Many years ago, Kolt wrote the first of several Christmas carols that we have enjoyed yearly playing here in Flin Flon. The carol “Star of Bethlehem” is really pretty and is a perennial favourite at Flin Flon Community Choir Christmas concerts, which of course could not happen in 2020. Kolt recorded the musical accompaniment and uploaded it to YouTube for soprano Kim Jones, who had agreed to provide the vocals for an online concert, to practice with.
Kolt has uploaded many pieces of music to YouTube during this Christmas season, all instrumentals and with all instruments being played by him, just to keep Flin Flonners warm and comfortable while we long for live performances. The pieces he chose are both sacred and secular and you could put them on to play on your computer while you buzz around, getting ready for whatever celebration you could manage.
Then, he uploaded “Star of Bethlehem”. It received more than 400 views per day in December, something Kolt states has never happened before for him. Even more unusually, over 70 per cent of these views are in the U.S. Well done Mark Kolt - way to fly the flag!
Flin Flon has not been sitting on its well-washed hands as we earnestly await the vaccines that will protect us. We have been working hard to perfect our social media presence all over town with online shopping opportunities for local goods from artisans and crafters through the Flin Flon Arts Council’s Virtual Christmas Arts and Crafts Sale and the brand new Uptown Emporium, a storefront on Main Street dedicated to selling handcrafted goods made by artisans in northern communities. Customers can order online and use curbside pick-up or delivery service to obtain their purchases.
The NorVA Centre also set up a last-minute market for gifts with online purchasing and home delivery of artwork before Christmas. The photographs on their website of the items available for sale were works of art in and of themselves, so cheers to their social media consultant Noelle Drimmie for that.