Notes from the Flin Flon Arts scene F

lin Flon, February 2019: What a whirlwind two weeks we had in February! Ann Hodges, the extraordinary director who helped found Shake-

speare in the Ruins in Winnipeg, brought our Flin Flon and area cast into the (stage) light of Mamma Mia. Along for the ride was Seth Johnson, who hails from a small town outside St. John, N.B., via Toronto, to play Sky, Sophie’s love interest. Even though we have had the experience of Hodge’s talent before, one must marvel at just how easy she makes it seem to put a mu- sical on the stage. Between February 1 and February 10, the entire show came together before our eyes. Real life teachers, nurses, geologists and radio DJs became Sophie, Donna, Bill and Sam; dancers and actors emerged while we looked on – awestruck! Seth Johnson is only 24 years old but already he has an incredible repertoire of roles in regional theatre

Elly Spenser The arts from up here

to his credit, not just here but at independent theatres in the Toronto area. He has played in Mamma Mia before, though his role was Eddie, not Sky. He also performed as Kenicki in Grease, a show we are very familiar with, at the Globe Theatre in Regina. He is a graduate of the Sheridan College musical theatre pro- gram, earning a Bachelor of Musical Theatre (BMT) in 2017.

Musical theatre performers need to be ‘triple threats’

to find work now. That means they have to sing, dance and act to audition for and get parts. Johnson says he didn’t even start dancing until he left high school in rural New Brunswick. When he got his first role, he worked at rehearsal all day then found a friend who is a really good dancer to work with him for three more hours in the evenings, till he got it right. It doesn't show now though. When he arrived to begin rehears- als here, he watched our local dancers who have been rehearsing for a month (on choreography created by

the wonderful Janelle Hacault, originally from Win- nipeg but now from Montreal), then jumped in. By week’s end, voila! Johnson has worked with Hodges before, too. In his final year of his degree program, she was the direc- tor employed to give the graduating students a taste of what real theatre life is, through the Canadian Music Theatre Project. Johnson says he absolutely jumped at the chance to work with her again. Flin Flon and area performers can certainly relate to that, following our Les Miz experience.

Hodges and Johnson will be back in Flin Flon right after Easter, to put the finishing touches on the show. It will be an incredible theatrical experience and if you don’t have tickets yet, go get them. There are still seats for the newly added Thursday May 9 performance. Call the Arts Council office at 204-687-5974 or drop in at Northern Rainbow’s End on Main Street to purchase. Everyone in town knows by now the level of profes- sionalism reached by our local musicians. We go out even on -40 degree evenings to support Johnny’s So- cial Club events or Flin Flon Arts Council program- ming. We are now also attracting new friends from Swan River, who have been making the trip northward almost every two weeks since the Blueberry Jam Music Gathering last August to join with members of the JSC Antisocial Band and bring us some new sounds. Marc Provencher and Mark Matejka have joined our own Mark Kolt on keyboards and formed The Marx- men, with Dean Martin on drums. They play country- tinged folk-rock and some straight-ahead rock’ n’ roll had the town jumping Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23. NorVA Centre continued its exhibition of the work of Denare Beach artist, Brandy Bloxom, until the end of February. Her photographs are beautiful and haunt- ing, especially the series of red dress photographs taken in response to the REDdress project which commem- orates murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.

There is always something happening on the arts scene in Flin Flon. Take a drive up sometime. You’ll be warmly welcomed by Elly and Crystal and all the amazingly creative people in this mythical town North of 53!

The Northern Visual Arts Centre (NorVA) continues to be an important part of the thriving Flin Flon art scene.

Camerata Nova presents a March celebration of folk, pop and the prairies

hair down and opening a 20th century songbook to celebrate their modern prairie roots. Under the joint direction of Mel Braun and Vic Pankratz, the group’s second concert of the season will be a party to remember! Raine Hamilton presents resonant,


acoustic chamber folk music with an otherworldly edge, and a lyric presence that cuts deep. Raine’s new album, Night Sky (March 2018), tips between the earthly and the otherworldly. It is anchored in relatable, lived experience, while reaching into the space just be-

amerata Nova and award-

winning guest musician Raine Hamilton will be letting their

yond. Her ethereal voice and lyrics are at the forefront of these powerful tunes, written both in English and in French. Raine is also a charming and funny storyteller, pairing her vulner- able tunes with engaging story intros. She believes that music is for every- one, and that we all have something to share.

The Prairie Songbook will be per- formed twice on March 9 at 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. and again on March 10 at 3:00 p.m. at Park Theatre (698 Os- borne) in Winnipeg. Every few years, Camerata Nova

likes to kick back to just have fun with friends and fans. For this special event,

we will present great folk and pop stan- dards as well as recent tunes by cool, local artists. From The Wailin’ Jennys to The Guess Who, from Joni Mitch- ell to Royal Canoe, from KD Lang to JP Hoe, we’ll celebrate our “wheatfield soul” in all its diversity. With the help of a 4-piece house band of talented musicians, Camerata Nova will turn the Park Theatre into your favourite coffee house. Come join us and blow away your winter blues! Tickets are available online at cam-, at McNally Rob- inson

Booksellers, by phone at

204.918.4547, or at the door. Pur- chase the last two concerts of Camerata

Nova’s 2018-2019 season at the special price of $50 for adults, $40 for seniors and $20 for under 30s (or, for two, $90, $70 and $30). See cameratanova. com for details.

Camerata Nova is a vocal group without fear, performing Renaissance, contemporary and Indigenous-infused music. Often singing a cappella, the group also enjoys innovative collabo- rations and accompaniment from all kinds of instruments and soundscapes. Since 1996, the group has continu- ally accented the unusual, offering au- thentic early music performances, pre- mières of Manitoba compositions, and an eclectic array in between.


March 2019

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