When Canadian entertainer Beverley Elliot hits the stage tonight, her comedy will mark 70 years of cultural expression presented by the TSPA (Trail Society for the Performing Arts).
The string of shows, which begin in the fall and end in spring, is the longest running performance arts series in British Columbia.
Joanne Tench was only knee-high to a grasshopper when she first became part of the audience back in 1964.
She still has a program, and a memory, from one of her “firsts” – the 1966/67 “Jeunesse Music’Alle” series that featured a piano duo.
Her most treasured childhood concert in Trail, however, featured ballerinas and tulle. Tench doesn’t recall the year, but she does remember seeing the Royal Winnipeg Ballet dance Swan Lake.
When Tench moved back to Trail in 1990, with a husband and two young children in tow, they quickly picked up with the family tradition and began attending the performing arts series.
“We started going again as we have always loved music and theatre,” Tench shared. “Our kids got too busy in senior high school years to attend with us but we continue as the arts enriches one’s life and is a great stress reducer and relaxation from a busy life.”
Theshini Naicker, seven-year president of the non-profit TSPA, promises another season of diverse line-ups that include humour, music, dance, and something special for Christmas.
Members are invited to bring a guest for free to the Dec. 5 performance of Lizzie Hoyt. The show is rooted in Celtic traditions and celebrates the series’ 70th anniversary.
“We are fortunate to have this opportunity in our community as it not only provides entertainment, but exposes us to to many different forms of creative expression within the performing arts,” Naicker told the Trail Times.
“In that way it serves as an educational tool as well,” she said, noting the series is well priced, which makes it affordable to the community.
“It is usually a surprise to people who relocate to the Greater Trail area,” said Naicker. “To find that this cultural aspect exists at the fraction of the cost that is prevalent in bigger cities.”
Rich talent, a variety of genres and its affordable price, keep another ticket holder, Ray Masleck, returning to the series year after year.
“In some cases the performers are up-and-coming, but that does not mean they are less skilled, just less-well known,” he said. “Audience members trust the performance series brand and their first thought isn’t ‘I have never heard of them’ when they look at the line-up,” Masleck added.
“Even audience members who aren’t classical music fans trust that the classical portion of series will be something they can appreciate, featuring performers who respect them and want to introduce them to their musical worlds.”
Tagged Performing Arts Trail for the 2017/21018 season, the series includes: “Music of Junk” on Nov. 14, a family show featuring recycled materials used to create instruments; “Octet,” two Canadian string quartets coming together as one Jan. 16; a tribute to Gershwin, “The Buzz Brass Quintet” on Jan. 30; “Zogma,” a dance group from Montreal on Feb. 20; and musician Patricia Cano on March 13.
“The series makes the performing arts available and affordable to most members of our community, especially for families,” said Masleck.
“Beyond sheer pleasure and enjoyment, the series offers people another opportunity to get away from their screens and share a live experience with other people — just like a good hockey game.”
All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Bailey Theatre. For details and ticket information visit the Trail and District Arts Council website, trail-arts.com or call the box office at 250.368.9669.