Centre Point: Centre celebrates 10 years

I can still remember the first time I walked into the auditorium of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre to see Jesse Cook live in concert.

I can still remember the first time I walked into the auditorium of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre to see Jesse Cook live in concert.

I’m sure the look on my face was one part awe, one part excitement, and one part appreciation for the work that went into the construction of such an amazing facility in the town I grew up in.

Now as part of the centre’s staff, I see from a unique perspective that, within weeks of its 10th birthday, the building still impresses and amazes so many people who walk through the doors. It really is a jewel of the Okanagan, a place where performing arts live and breathe to entertain, educate and inspire.

The centre’s “big-10” is being celebrated Oct. 1 as The Ford Seven takes the stage starting at 8 p.m.

This dynamic seven-piece band will perform the music of Ray Charles, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and other favourite swing, blues, jazz and show tunes.

Featuring a roster of powerhouse vocals and seasoned Victoria musicians, The Ford Seven manages a big band feel for performing music from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. You won’t want to miss this evening of nostalgia and festivities. Call the Ticket Seller at 549-SHOW (7469) for your tickets.

The home stretch of September is a treat for music lovers.

Wesbild Centre will host the mega concert Maple Noise 2011 Sept. 24 starting at 6 p.m.

Headlining the event is the Newsboys joined by Thousand Foot Krutch, Greg Sczebel, Manafest, Jonny Diaz, Jon Bauer, Jodi King, Manic Drive, To Tell, Jay Calder and more.

More information on the artists can be found on the concert website at www.maplenoise.ca and tickets can be picked up at the Ticket Seller at 549-SHOW (7469).

Sept. 27 is an evening of musical tributes like no other as Abbamania and Night Fever the Bee Gees take the stage of the Performing Arts Centre starting at 7:30 p.m.

Full costumes, choreography, and performers who really look the part perform favourite hits backed by a live band and backup singers. Jump suits are optional, and tickets can still be picked up at the Ticket Seller.

Sept. 30 is a tribute concert with a Last Vegas flare for An Evening with the Rat Pack.

You’ll see likenesses of Dean, Sammy and Frank and the Sin City Orchestra for an evening of good music, good fun and tom foolery reminiscent of many years ago. Call the Ticket Seller at 549-SHOW (7469) for tickets.

The North Okanagan Community Concert Association’s season starts up with pianist Georgy Tchaidze.

A native of St. Petersburg Russia, Tchaidze’s career as a chamber musician has even won him a prestigious invitation from the Glenn Gould foundation to play for the Governor General of Canada.

There are two performances to choose from: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 and a matinee performance starting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.

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

And check out these three film screenings, two of which have their own unique local connections:

Wednesday at the Vernon Towne Cinema is a screening of Lost Years. It’s an inspiring journey through a century-and-a-half of hidden history about the Chinese immigrant experience. Vernon’s old Chinatown is featured along with major centres including New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Sydney. There are two show times to choose from: 5:45 and 8 p.m. and tickets can be picked up at the Ticket Seller by calling 549-SHOW (7469).

La Fontaine is an award winning television pilot that was developed in the Okanagan. It boasts an entirely Okanagan cast and crew and it was filmed throughout the Okanagan from Lavington and Vernon to Kelowna and Lake Country. This one-hour drama about a town’s secret culture of genetic manipulation has a modern-gothic drama feel and the screening is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Centre. Admission is by donation.

And if the recent change in weather has you ready to run to snow-covered hills, feed your craving at Valhalla Pure Outfitter’s presentation of Radical Reels tonight starting at 7 p.m. With selections from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the screening will feature some wild high-adventure mountain sport films.

Tickets can still be purchased online at www.ticketseller.ca or at the door, within one hour of show time.

Enjoy the shows!

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