On the Horizon - March 8

The audience plays a big role in a performance

As I sit here writing this column today, I am thinking a lot about what goes into a good performance. Skill from the performer of course, skill of the crew making everything look and sound as good as possible, but also the audience. It is always important for the audience to understand their role in the moment. Your feedback to the artist, whether it be the silent nodding of your head, clapping along to a good beat, or applauding a particularly great series of steps or musical notes, is important. They feel your energy and they respond in kind. When the audience is small, it’s even more vital that the people on stage know that you appreciate them. When the audience truly values what they have seen or heard, the performer is appreciative for their genuine gratitude. This happened a couple of times last week, with the spectacularly talented classical pianist Avan Yu, and with Canada’s Ballet Jorgen’s Coppelia. Neither one had as large an audience as we had hoped, yet both performances were magical in their own right. And both audiences left saying the same thing, “more people should have been here to enjoy this”. I agree. I wish more people would come to the shows that have small audiences, but I try not to let it get me down, because I know we have done a great job of presenting something that the patrons who were here, loved. So my thought on this is: if you’re coming to a show at the Stage, consider asking if a friend wants to join you. Ask your neighbour if they’ve ever been. Make a date with a family member you haven’t seen in a while. Make an evening of it, and go for dinner before at one of our wonderful local restaurants, or maybe dessert afterward. It doesn’t have to be hard, this “culture thing”, it can be a simple as enjoying the company of like-minded people at a show. Let’s have a few more “I’m glad we were all here together” moments – they are so important to our lives.

Jumping back to the ballet, we were grateful to have five local dance students on the stage with the professional company last Saturday night. One student from Image Dance and four from DanceCo all got the chance to see what a day in the life of a ballet company is like. They rehearsed the night before the performance, then had rehearsals on stage in the afternoon and performed at night. Their roles helped fill out the stage in large group scenes, and they were all wonderful. We are proud of every one of them and happy that they took the chance to shine. Bravo!

While we’re on the subject of young artistic types, I hope you’ve had a chance to sign up your kids for the RupLoops Raise your VOICE workshop on March 23. From 11-12:30, Rup will lead kids aged 7-16 in an exploration of sound. To show that music can exist even with no instruments at all - that’s where body percussion comes in, as a complement to the eclectic assortment of talents he brings. A gifted performer, Rup has a deep passion for intercultural work and sounds. Here are just a few career highlights: Rup has written scores for the National Film Board of Canada, produced fourteen albums with emerging artists, and shared stages with Fred Penner, Raffi, Chugge Khan, Rajasthan Josh, Tanya Tagaq, Michael Franti, Shane Koyzan and Delhi2Dublin. This is a guy who knows how to bring out the creativity lurking inside you. Then, in his family-friendly show The Human Radio at 2:00, called, he will no doubt take you on a journey of sound; exploring anatomy, geography, and culture. Mixing hip-hop, blues, and bhangra, this hour long concert tunes into themes of home, identity, culture, justice, dignity, and celebration. This show needs a good strong audience so we can all tap in to the communication and community that music provides. Registration for the workshop is $15, and the show is $12 per person, all ages. We encourage you to think creatively and spend a musical day with us.

To end off the month of March at Horizon Stage, Motown! I love the sound of the doo-waps and the harmonies that represented this crossover style of music. Dianna Ross, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder; they all sang with their heart and soul, and that’s exactly what you’ll get if you have a ticket for Krystle Dos Santos and the Black Mambas on March 30. This will definitely be a show full of head bobbing and handclapping. I expect some cheering and toe-tapping too. In other words, you want to be a part of this night when a powerhouse singer makes her presence known at Horizon Stage. I‘ll be the one trying hard to stay in my seat, and not trying at all to stop my chair dancing. I truly hope you’ll join me. Those of you who remember Krystle from her Canada Day performance a couple of years ago know what I’m talking about – she has an amazing voice and a genuine love of Motown music. Tickets are available online or at the City Hall Ticket Centre.

Hoping that since March came in like a very cold little lamb, it will go out like a roaring musical lion. See you soon!

-Brandi Watson, Theatre Manager

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