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Cabaret, Christmas and a spot of remembrance at Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in November

Kicks off with three intimate cabaret shows

November at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre kicks off with three intimate cabaret shows, where audiences sit right up on the stage with the performers.

First up is Qairo on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Qairo combines music and dance, presented by a seven-person ensemble that have blended their traditions from France, Spain, Canada and Turkey into a unique mixture.

“Qairo is a fiery and dynamic ensemble that combines the emotional charged vocals and pulsing rhythms of flamenco dance with the infectious melodies and ear-popping tonalities of the Mediterranean diaspora,” describes a press release for the show.

“From Spain to Turkey to India (with stops along the way), Qairo is music for dancing — no matter where you’re from. It’s Turkish micro-tones played on an Indian bansuri flute, original flamenco verses “sung” by a clarinet, Balkan rhythms punctuated by Andalucian guitar, and flamenco footwork pounded out like improvised jazz. Qairo is guitar, oud, clarinet, bansuri, saxophone, cajon, electric bass, cante (flamenco song) and baile (flamenco dance) acting like they belong on stage together — and pulling it off.”

Tickets are $40 and because of the cabaret format are limited, so don’t wait if you want to see the show.


The next night, Nov. 2, also at 7:30 p.m. is John Reischman and The Jaybirds.

It’s billed as “a stylish take on bluegrass” that mixes original songs and instrumentals with old-time Appalachian music.

The Jaybirds have been together for 20 years, and have put out seven albums and earned two Juno nominations.

Tickets are $40.


On Nov. 3 Raine Hamilton take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Hamilton is a singer-songwriter whose music is for violin and voice as well as guitar and voice.

“Raine is part prairie songstress, part storyweaver; each song has a story, delivered between songs with humour and grace,” says a press release for the show.

Joining Hamilton for the show are musicians on cello and upright bass.

The trio calls the resulting music “chamber folk”.

Tickets are $40.


A new art show debuts in the theatre lobby called Conscious Contact — Staying in Touch, in November.

Barry Strasbourg-Thompson and Gail Holland will display their work.

Entry to the lobby gallery is free. Private viewings can be arranged by calling Laura at 250-746-3428.


Opera fans will want to book tickets for Nov. 12 when The Met Opera presents and encore of Medea, brought to CPAC on the big screen.

Medea tells the story of a “mythic sorceress who will stop at nothing in her quest for vengeance”. Starring is soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. She is joined by tenor Matthew Polenzani, soprano Janai Brugger, bass Michele Pertusi, and mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova.

The show starts at 9:55 a.m. Tickets are $35, or $32 for seniors. Students in grades 8-12 get in for $5.


That night, get ready for something completely different.

At 7:30 p.m. it’s The Journeymen: A Tribute to Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana.

“Nothing is more central to rock mythology than the cult of the lead guitarist. No one has done more to create that cult then Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. ‘The Journeymen’ is an homage to two of the most significant guitarists in history,” says a press release for the show.

Clapton is a three time inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and has won 18 Grammy awards.

Santana has sold more than 100 million albums and is the best selling Latin artist of all time.

Tickets are $45.


Audiences are invited to Relive The Music: 50s & 60s Rock ‘n Roll on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Billed as being back by popular demand with even more fun, the show is a rock opera concert “with a Broadway feel” complete with a band, singers, dancers, tributes, video and trivia.

“Millennials buy tickets to this show for your parents and grandparents. They will have a blast with memories,” says a press release.

The repertoire includes hits from Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Patti Page, Dean Martin, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, Patsy Cline, The Beatles and so much more.

Tickets are $59.


On Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. it’s time to get into the spirit of Christmas with a Cowichan Valley favourite: Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy present A Celtic Family Christmas.

MacMaster and Leahy are beloved Canadian cultural icons with their fiery fiddles. In this show they bring their talented children along for the ride as they present a heart-warming evening of Christmas classics and Cape Breton folk music.

Tickets are $49.50.


Continuing on with the theme of the last show, on Nov. 26 a local group takes the stage when the Celtic Rhythm Dancers present A Celtic Night Before Christmas.

“Celebrate the joy and wonder of the holiday season,” says a press release for the show. “Join Judy Hogg’s Celtic Rhythm Dancers and guests for a festive evening of enchanting performances and toe-tapping rhythms! Let the magic of dance be part of your holiday season.”

The show starts at 2 p.m. and tickets are $20.


Then on Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. it’s Ridge.

“Often called the ‘battle that made Canada,’ Vimy Ridge resulted in over 10,000 Canadian casualties. Through direct storytelling, theatre, and live music from Brenden McLeod and the band The Fugitives, Ridge examines misconceptions and varying perspectives around the battle, while drawing parallels to other formative events in our nation’s past,” says a press release for the show.

It includes interpretations of First World War soldier songs and looks at the question of how and why we grieve.

Tickets are $38, or $34 for seniors, with a further discount for veterans to $25. Students in grades 8 through 12 get in for $5.


Rounding off the month is the Reel Alternatives film Phantom of the Open.

It tells the story of a dreamer who gains entry to the 1976 British Open Golf Championship qualification round in spite of being a complete novice.

The Reel Alternatives film series is a fundraiser for Cowichan Hospice.

Tickets are $17.

Get tickets for CPAC shows at or call 250-746-2722.

‘Qairo’ is the first show in November. (Photo courtesy of CPAC)

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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