On the Horizon - February 3

A February full of variety

I saw a funny thing on Facebook a little while ago. It said something to the effect of: Dear Mother Nature – you can’t cram all four seasons into one week. And Mother Nature replied “Watch me!”.  And we have done some watching lately, haven’t we?

I feel a little like that when I look at the lineup for shows at Horizon Stage in February. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not comparing myself to the awesome power of Mother Nature – that would be ridiculous – just the image of: Dear Brandi - You can’t program five completely different shows in one month… “Watch me!”

The five season shows in February include the ever-popular Jim Witter tonight, The Wardens on the 9th, Outerbridge: Clockwork Mysteries on  the 11th, Ivan Coyote on the 22nd, and Ellen Doty on the 24th. So, to recap: popular piano and voice, a trio of Banff Park wardens, spectacular magic, stories of family and identity, and soulful jazz. If you ever wanted to take a whirlwind trip across genres, this is the month to do it. While I know that some may say The Wardens and Ivan Coyote are both storytellers, you could also say that Jim Witter and Ellen Doty are both singers – true, but that’s where the similarities end. And that’s one of the aspects of my job that I love the most; being able to share such diversity with this community.

I’m going to focus today on the first half of the month, and in my next column we’ll talk about the latter half. Let’s start with The Wardens. A couple of years ago, they played at the Seniors’ Strawberry Tea and the audience really enjoyed them. I watched as they told stories and sang songs about the places they knew best – our rocky mountain National Parks. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the southern Alberta parks (Waterton and Banff) and have always marvelled at the beauty we have in our province. As a kid of course I didn’t think about it like that – I didn’t know that not everyone could just pack a picnic lunch and be in the mountains in an hour and a half. I learned that quickly when I moved to Edmonton and realized Japser was four whole hours away (which still isn’t much, but the picnic lunch might need to include dinner too…). What I really love about the Wardens is the way they share their Park experiences with so much admiration. They are truly in awe of their surroundings, even though they live it every day, and their respect for the natural world is inspiring. That, and I love their song about “the stupidest questions asked by park visitors” – it makes me giggle/groan every time I hear it. The show is a perfect balance of storytelling and cowboy songs, and it’s at 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, and it’s very close to sold out.

Outerbridge: Clockwork Mysteries “Grand Masters of Illusion” is a spectacle. Truly. It’s a show we’re very lucky to be able to host in our small venue, because it puts you right up close with the magic. Ted and Marion are partners on stage and in life, and their chemistry is apparent from the start. They love what they do, and they love to share it. The show is not just a series of illusions, it’s also a story. It’s time travel, mystery, and theatrics. An old Victorian clock is the basis for the show, speeding up and slowing down time with the audience in tow. The illusions are wonderful, and it’s going to be an impressive evening. While this is not part of our family matinee series, we definitely recommend it to anyone six and up who wants to be spellbound. The show is at 7:30 on Saturday, February 11.

Tickets can be purchased online at horizonstage.com, by phone at 780-962-8995 or 1-888-655-9090, or by visiting us at the City Hall Ticket Centre. We love to visit with you. I hope that you will join us this month during our whirlwind programming.

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