Ballet Jörgen dancers Taylor Gill and  Danielle Rosengren star in Swan Lake

Ballet Jörgen dancers Taylor Gill and Danielle Rosengren star in Swan Lake

Centre Point: A toast to the arts

Vernon Performing Arts Centre's Brian van Wensem talks about his work promoting the arts, and enjoying the many shows, that come to town.

I recently started my fifth year of employment at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

It’s a personal landmark that has me reflecting on what life has been like since my career path took an unexpected swerve into the arts in 2009. What a ride it’s been since that first day on the job! Among the best aspects of life at the centre is just how dynamic the events are. From day to day, month to month, and year to year, there is always something new and different coming down the pipes to keep me constantly learning, growing and utterly fascinated in my work.

Whether it’s the events that provide some much needed respite from everyday life, or challenge me and push my boundaries in some new way; I love having that connection with the performances and seeing how others connect in entirely different ways. It’s such an adventure playing a part in this thriving North Okanagan arts scene.

Tonight the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra is back at the centre for their Spanish-inspired night of music, Espana.

Featuring Daniel Bolshoy on guitar and the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan, the programme brings an unforgettable evening of passion with a fiery Spanish flavour.

The music starts at 7 p.m. in the main auditorium and there is a pre-concert talk one hour before the performance in the Marie Fleming Hall. You can still log online to the Ticket Seller website at to purchase tickets.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, Bruce Horak (The Notorious Right Robert and his Robber Bride) will be on stage for his brilliant performance as the embodiment of cancer in This is Cancer.

Having survived cancer himself, and being left legally blind by the disease, Horak pushes the boundaries of conventional theatre by personifying the very disease that everyone loves to hate. It’s been described as hilarious, anxious, uncomfortable and cathartic — often all at once — so don’t overlook this very unusual show, complete with coarse language and mature subject matter.

Showtime is at 8 p.m. and you can purchase your tickets through the Ticket Seller at 549-SHOW.

Saturday also offers the choice of bagpipes and haggis at the annual Robbie Burns Dinner hosted by the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band and the Arran Campbell Memorial Youth Pipe Band.

Along with the haggis, you’ll enjoy neeps, tatties and roast beef to the sights and sounds of bagpipes and Scottish country dancing.

The dinner starts at 6:15 p.m. and you can call the Ticket Seller at 549-SHOW (7469) to book your seats.

Coming up on Feb. 2, Ballet Jörgen Canada is on stage at the Performing Arts Centre for their full-length production of Swan Lake.

One of the world’s most renowned and beloved classical ballets, Swan Lake is set to the timeless music of Tchaikovsky to tell a story of true love and sacrifice.

Ballet Jörgen Canada brings a full cast of 24 dancers to stages from coast-to-coast for this 25th anniversary tour, complete with elaborate backdrops, sets and costumes leaving no detail overlooked.

The show starts at 8 p.m. on Feb. 2, and tickets are selling fast so call the Ticket Seller at 549-SHOW (7469) soon to guarantee your seats and avoid disappointment.

The 53rd annual Vernon Winter Carnival is set to take place from Feb. 1 through 10.

The Queen Silver Star Proclamation on Jan. 31 at the Performing Arts Centre kicks off the carnival and is sure to get you into the carnival spirit.

Five showcase finalists will perform and the highlight of the evening is the announcement and crowning of this year’s Queen Silver Star.

Tickets are still available for purchase through the Ticket Seller by calling 549-SHOW (7469).

Enjoy the shows!

— Brian van Wensem is the audience development coordinator at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.