Top Arts and Entertainment stories from July to December 2023


6- Hundreds attend Canada Day country music concert in 100 Mile House

Ticket sales were down to the wire but 925 music lovers came out to the Cariboo Charitable Events Society’s inaugural Party in the Park concert.

Featuring the musical talents of the Chris Buck Band, Elyse Saunders and country music star Aaron Pritchett the concert was a lively one, with dozens of people taking to the dance floor. CCES secretary Neale Ward said the event was a success for the newly founded charity.

“Everything fell into place,” Ward said. “It was a little bit surreal. A lot of people have said this is the biggest concert to happen in 100 Mile and it was a proper concert with lighting, sound and staging.”

Ward said in the future the society hoped to see more ticket sales take place before events so they can ensure the bills can be paid. He added the society looks forward to improving the concert for next year.

12- Bridge Lake Stampede to be featured in rodeo documentary

The Bridge Lake Stampede is one of three rodeos being featured in an upcoming documentary.

Titled Rodeo Women: Behind the Scenes, the film explores the women who participate in, organize and make rodeos happen across Western Canada. Director Celia Haig-Brown and her team were filming on location at the 71st annual Bridge Lake Stampede on July 1.

“I’m really keen on getting some recognition for women who are involved in all sorts of dimensions of rodeo production,” Haig-Brown said. “Everything from the concession stands to sorting stock, and being timers to all of the committee people.

A large part of the Bridge Lake section of the documentary will focus on Julie Antoine, who serves as the event secretary. Haig-Brown has been friends with Antoine for the last 50 years and wanted to highlight her. With filing wrapped up she said Rodeo Women: Behind the Scenes would take at least a year of post-production to complete.


10 – Local photographer keeps his eye out for nature’s little phenomena

Every day is a good day to take pictures is the philosophy Brian Thorsteinson adheres to.

The longtime South Cariboo resident loves exploring and photographing his surroundings. It’s a hobby that’s become a passion with prints of his photographs covering almost every available surface in his home.

“I take photos daily, wherever my nose takes me,” Thorsteinson said.

His recent acquisition of two mirrorless Canon EOS RP cameras has further fueled his photographic exploits. Thorsteinson explained they take clear photos with almost no noise which makes them ideal for shooting animals.

“I’ve been really liking it. I’m not really a camera person, I just put it on autoshoot and take pictures. I trust the camera and on the mirrorless, they recommend you use auto shoot because you can’t adjust the settings in real-time.”

31- B.C. women stars of History’s Most Haunted

A trio of female paranormal investigators from B.C. are making their return to the silver screen with their new docuseries: History’s Most Haunted.

Last fall the South Cariboo’s Leanne Sallenback, along with her older sister Corine Carey and their childhood friend Kelly Ireland, starred in Haunted Gold Rush. Combining ghost hunting with history the three explored the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail. With History’s Most Haunted Sallenback said they got the chance to explore some of the most haunted places in North America.

“We are three girls from British Columbia and our journey started in B.C. and we’re just super proud of that,” Sallenback said.

The trio, under the name Beyond the Haunting, has been exploring the paranormal around B.C. for the last five years. In History’s Most Haunted they visited Montreal, Newfoundland, Salem, New Orleans, Charleston and San Antonio throughout early 2023.


7- Parks Alive Summer Music Series ends on a bang

After two months of live music thanks to the 2023 Parks Alive Summer Music Series, Centennial Park once more fell silent.

The last concert — on Aug. 25 — saw Mission B.C.’s Prior Street Lush Band bring soulful rock-and-roll to 100 Mile House. David Jurek, who organized and sponsored the event with the RE/MAX 100 team, said it was the perfect way to end the summer “on a bang.”

“We had a really good turnout, the music was excellent and we had great weather for pretty much every night,” Jurek said. “It’s good to see people come out and hang out with one another in their community. It takes a lot of work and sponsors to put together, so it’s nice people appreciate it.”

28- Travelling theatre troupe brings Rapunzel to 100 Mile House

Putting together a play in a week isn’t an easy task.

Yet it’s one just over 40 South Cariboo youth took on as they worked with Missoula Children’s Theatre to put on a musical rendition of Rapunzel in September. The end result was an entertaining take on the classic fairy tale, with plenty of other tales sprinkled in for good measure.

Leading them in this endeavour were Missoula’s Tyler Bowlin and Elizabeth Avery, two young actors from Champagne, Illinois, and Valley, Nebraska, respectively. In addition to their love of acting, both found it rewarding to introduce young people to the theatre world.

“We’re both performers but we also have a love and a passion for teaching. I think for both of us this is a nice middle ground to further our experience in both of these fields at the same time,” Bowlin said.

Avery said it’s important to let children make their own creative choices during the show. While she and Bowlin provide guidance and a framework, they want to encourage participants to be creative and have fun.

“When you see the gears turn in their head and a lightbulb goes off and they are having the best time of their lives, it truthfully makes me so happy,” Avery said.


12 – Memories and identity explored through paint

Memories are the thread that binds our identities together.

From our earliest childhood recollections to our defining moments, memory and nostalgia play a huge role in our lives. It’s these feelings artist Jess Thomas explored in Nostalgia, her first solo show at Parkside Gallery.

“I paint scenes mostly from my life and my memories. There’s this quote that talks about how memories are the thread through your life that reminds you you’re the same person,” Thomas said. “I think that’s the thread I’m always pulling on.”

The owner of Revelry Art and Dance, Thomas is one of the newer members of the South Cariboo art community. Since moving to the community in 2020, she’s taken part in several group shows but noted this was the first time she’s done a large-scale show all on her own.

“It’s really exciting. I’ve never shown my work on this scale before and I just think it’s so cool Parkside gives artists that opportunity,” Thomas said.


2- South Cariboo artist hangs anti-war art at Parkside Gallery

Decades ago South Cariboo artist Claudia Ring witnessed the Israeli-Palestine conflict firsthand.

Then 20 years old, Ring visited Israel in 1964 to make amends for the actions of the German people during World War Two. Living in the Nahal Oz kibbutz near the Gaza Strip she worked as a fruit picker for a year. Even back then she said you could feel the tension.

“Already then you could see rocks flying and a lot of hostility. The Palestinians would throw rocks and the Israelis took us on a trip through the desert and were harassing the Bedouins,” Ring said. “They were already trying to protect or conquer the land. It felt awkward.”

Watching first the terrorist attack by Hamas On Oct. 7, which targeted Nahal Oz among other locations, and later the airstrikes and current military operation launched by the Israeli Defence Force against the Gaza Strip, Ring decided she had to make a statement. Her mind turned to a piece of art she created 10 years ago while in art school in Nelson.

Titled My Anti-War Piece, the artwork is a three-dimensional image created using pictures, felt white poppies and bullet casings. The effect is chaotic and thought-provoking, which Ring said was entirely intentional.

“I wanted to show that everything is happening at the same time. I like that it looks kind of messy,” Ring said. “There’s a lot of people (who look at it) and start crying.”


7- South Cariboo children delight in constructing gingerbread houses

Making a gingerbread house is a classic Christmas tradition for many families in Canada.

On Saturday, Dec. 1 a dozen South Cariboo children got the chance to learn how to make their own gingerbread houses at a camp run by the South Cariboo Rec Centre. Their instructor was baker Julia Gordon, owner of Lolly’s Baking, who said she was excited to work with the children. When Shelly Morton, the rec centre’s events coordinator, reached out to her she made time for the class.

“Shelly came up with the idea for the gingerbread house then I tried to brainstorm other ideas to keep the kids occupied so I thought I personally love sugar cookies, so let’s do a sugar cookie tree stack,” Gordon said. “Shelly baked the gingerbread, the kids made the royal icing and the sugar cookies.”

Three of her students were Alexa Taylor, Jaxson LeClair and Octavia Cosman. Like most of their classmates, the trio were abuzz with energy during the class sharing laughs and advice freely.

Alexa said she loves baking at home and attended the camp to get into the Christmas spirit. Her friend Jaxson also bakes cakes at home and remarked with a grin he loved sneaking some extra icing and candy into his mouth while making the houses.

“It’s really fun to bake with other people,” Jaxson said. “My favourite part was getting to have fun, laugh, making a mess, eating icing and candy and making gingerbread houses.”

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