On The Horizon - January 19 2018

Brandi Wurtz of Horizon Stage

Brandi Wurtz, Theatre Manager

Hey you – do you like really good toe-tapping music? Have a sense of humour? Long for the by-gone days of silent films? Wait… did she say Silent Films? How old does she think we are???

I don’t think you’re old – I just think there is something really intriguing about sitting in a theatre, watching a short silent film being played while two incredible musicians provide the soundtrack. Oh, and by the way, these musicians also wrote, directed, and star in the films. Now that’s multi-talented.

So let’s go back to the beginning of this and explain what I’m talking about. Horizon Stage is presenting Silver Screen Scoundrels on Thursday, February 8 at 2 p.m. Yes, it’s a matinee, so I realize not everyone can participate. We so rarely get to do weekday matinees that we make a point of scheduling one each season for those who find the evening shows difficult to attend. It makes a great afternoon out for those bringing groups, bus tours, seniors who need to use Specialized Transit, and those who just plain want a great fun activity on a February afternoon. Besides that, it’s an incredible value at only $25 a ticket. There’s no school that day, so the parking lot will be mostly empty, the concession is cheap, and you’ll be entertained by the antics on screen and off.

Brandon Isaak and Keith Picot are both award-winning musicians. Brandon plays a variety of instruments, while Keith plays a stand-up bass that dates back to the silent-film era. It’s an amazing instrument – complete with all the scars and bruises that you can imagine from its years of touring and traveling. Together they came up with this incredibly unique idea: let’s play old-time music, so people can feel nostalgic and happy, then let’s write the scripts for some slap-stick short movies. We’ll get some people together to act in them with us, then we’ll play them on the screen behind us while we simply have a blast on stage. It’ll sell right? In fact, this show has been thrilling audiences all over Canada, the States, Western Europe and China. So I guess this idea works!

When I first saw this show, I was at a conference in BC. I knew Keith from his appearance at Horizon Stage with Cousin Harley in 2015, so I already loved his bass playing. He’s got such an infectious stage personality that I knew whatever he came up with would be fun to watch. Brandon was new to me, but I tell you this: watching the two of them play off each other was just a delightful way to spend my conference time. They’re funny, they’re talented, and they understand how to put all these elements together. I was entertained by not only the music, but also the way the films and music work with each other. I highly recommend you take a chance, if you have the opportunity, and come spend an afternoon with us at Horizon Stage.

Last time we chatted, I promised to give you a run-down of the February offerings, so in addition to the Silver Screen Scoundrels above, we also have three other season shows. James Gordon and Sons will be making a rare appearance together on Friday, February 2. All three men are accomplished Folk musicians in their own right, and because of the demand for them to work on other projects, they don’t often play together anymore. We are delighted to host the on-stage family reunion right here in Spruce Grove.

The next night, Saturday, February 3, will be a completely different story. Women Who Rock is comprised of two different tribute acts, and will definitely showcase some fierce female talent. If you remember the “big-hair” 80s, you’ll no doubt know the songs of Heart and Pat Benatar. I remember belting out “Barracuda” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” in my basement and with my close friends, and loving the powerful sounds of the songs. I may not have understood what the “Barracuda” was, but I knew these ladies were making their place in the world. We’re fortunate to have Layla Vougeois, originally from Edmonton, and the daughter of Rocko Vougeois of One Horse Blue, joining the team on this tour. She’s going to rock your socks off along with a superb band and Donna Culak as the other lead. It’s going to be super and we’re all going to feel young again, right ladies? Right!

After Silver Screen Scoundrels, we change gears once again. Completely. You know, “and now for something completely different…” with the Proteus Saxophone Quartet. Yep – I told you it was different. Four musicians who simply love saxophones. I had no idea there was so much variety in the not only the instrument itself, but the music to be played. The group is named after Proteus, the God of the Sea, because of his versatility, and the quartet’s members are devoted to showcasing all that variety wherever they go. Touring across Canada, France, and the US, their aim is to redefine traditional saxophone chamber music. I love being able to put unique acts in front of appreciative audiences, and I’m sure this is going to fit the bill. If you ever played in the school band, have a child or grandchild who currently plays an instrument, or if you’re curious about brass – join us. We’ll be here.

As always, tickets are available at the City Hall Ticket Centre Monday – Friday from 9-4:30, online anytime at horizonstage.com, or by phone at 780-962-8995 or 1-888-655-9090 after hours.

Happy weekend, and we hope to see you soon at the Stage!


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