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Elly on the Arts: We're back!

"Hello again dear readers - we sincerely hope you are still out there! This week marks the return of the arts and culture column in our weekly newspaper following the rude interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Stock image of paintbrushes on a palette.

Hello again dear readers - we sincerely hope you are still out there! This week marks the return of the arts and culture column in our weekly newspaper following the rude interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last two years have been very challenging for some of us and at times, there were not a lot of arts and cultural events happening to comment on. That has changed for the better recently, so our fearless editor has resurrected our little column to keep you informed.

We just celebrated National Poetry Month in Flin Flon with a completely online celebration, featuring a huge variety of readers presenting poems from old masters and new works read by their authors. The Flin Flon Writers Guild and the Flin Flon Toastmasters Club co-presented a lovely evening of poetry led by the irrepressible Harry Hobbs, who was the chief organizer and emcee for the evening. Readers literally joined from all over the world, including a poet from Malaysia and one from the United States. People based in Alberta, Saskatchewan and northern and southern Manitoba joined by Zoom to read their favourites.

The biggest upcoming event, of course, is the Flin Flon Community Choir production of Mary Poppins. It has been all rehearsals, all the time at our house, so there is some considerable investment in this show - at least on our husband’s part.

The leadership of the production is well-known by most of us. Crystal Kolt is the executive producer and music director; Ann Hodges is back for the third time as the director, who has previously directed Les Miserables and Mamma Mia in Flin Flon. Madelyn Miyashita, originally from Winnipeg but now based in Toronto, is on board as choreographer. The band, which will consist of 13 musicians, will arrive by April 30 and the sound, lighting and design technicians will also be travelling to Flin Flon for the production. Look out for more detail on these guests in a future column.

The entire cast of the musical is made up of Flin Flon and area residents and they are all volunteers. The title role will be played by Katrina Windjack and a newcomer to musical theatre in Flin Flon, Chad Plamondon, will play Bert the chimney sweep. Mr. and Mrs. Banks are played by Alain Lachappelle and Kim Jones - the Banks children, Jane and Michael, will be played by Carrera Pickering and Bridget Wendlandt, Thomas Muldoon and Kaleb Olsen. Penny Grove and Kevin Imrie each play multiple roles and other parts are being filled by such stalwarts as Angela Ishaka, Lana LeClerc, Olivia Fernandes, Jelisa Kerfont Wiegers, Mark Wendlandt, Pandora Furniss, John Taylor, Tim Spencer and Myrna Guymer as Queen Victoria. There are many children in the ensemble and rumour has it that they and the adults involved are dancing up a storm. It is shaping up to be a wonderful production, so get your tickets soon if you have not already.

There is a great show at the NorVA Centre and Gallery currently. A tea talk for Maada’ookii was held at NorVA April 15 when the two Indigenous creators of the exhibit, Kristy Janvier and Fran Cooper, were able to explain their work and their processes. The exhibition will be available for viewing till the end of the month so there is still time to make a visit to the gallery to see it.

Another exhibition that the NorVA Center and Gallery is planning to present is rather a big deal. The Witness Blanket is an exhibit by Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw artist Carey Newman, curated in part by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, to commemorate the survivors of residential schools. It is not actually a blanket at all, rather a collection of artifacts from almost 80 residential schools across our country. The piece on display is so large that the NorVA Gallery cannot possibly hold it, so it will be housed in council chambers at Flin Flon City Hall. It will be available for public viewing from June 12-July 22.

Boy, we are lucky to live here!

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