Elly on the Arts: Starting off the new year right

What an exceptional way to kick off a New Year in Flin Flon, dare we say it, the arts and culture capital of Manitoba! We are starting the year with two exceptional shows that “come from away”.

The first happens immediately, January 9 on the stage at the R.H. Channing Auditorium. Living Room Live presents Gregory Lewis and Paul Williamson on piano and violin. As the name of this concert series suggests, this is a Home Routes-style tour of house concerts - this time, with classically trained musicians. Here in Flin Flon, we choose to present them on the stage of the hall because we have the Steinway piano there. This beautiful instrument has been recently tuned and had a small kink worked out so is in top form for the concert.

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Gregory Lewis has performed across Canada, the US and Europe as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist. He is currently completing his artist diploma at the Colburn School in Los Angeles and is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Manitoba and Yale University. 

Pianist Paul Williamson was included in CBC Music’s 2017 edition of “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30” and is quickly establishing himself as a versatile performer of solo and collaborative repertoire. Having completed his bachelors of music at the University of Manitoba, Paul is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Colburn Conservatory in the studio of Fabio Bidini. An advocate of new music, Paul is a member of the Colburn Contemporary Ensemble and has performed works by such composers as Ligeti, Crumb and Reich.

Contact local “hostess with the mostest” Ann Ross and she will hold a seat for you. Since the show is tomorrow, if you simply arrive at the theatre before the 7:30 p.m. start time, they will find you a seat. The cost is only $25 and it will be amazing, with pieces by Beethoven, Stravinski, Massenet, Elgar and others.

The other not-to-be-missed event this week is the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s production of “The New Canadian Curling Club”, a play by Mark Crawford.  The storyline is wonderful - “a Chinese guy, a Jamaican lady, an Indian guy and a 17-year-old Syrian girl walk into a curling club…”

The synopsis from the Marquis Literary website is as follows:

“It’s Monday night in small-town Ontario and it’s the first-ever Learn to Curl class for new Canadians. Inspired by the local refugee resettlement program, this evening was set up to welcome newcomers and diversify the club. But when its organizer slips on the ice and breaks her hip, the rink’s ice maker and former champion curler Stuart MacPhail is forced to step in as head coach. Trouble is, Stuart has some strong opinions about immigrants…”

The RMTC always presents fabulous performances and for the last few years, really good plays. Mark Crawford is the brightest playwright light shining in Canada today. His third play, ‘The Birds and the Bees,’ was the most produced play in Canada in the 2010s. This one has already been produced right across the country.

His plays tackle timely subjects like immigration, sexuality, gender and relationships with often laugh-out-loud humour and sensitivity. He doesn’t pull any punches. but neither does he hit you in the gut either. The humour is poignant and relevant. An incredibly meaningful experience - this play is not to be missed.

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