On Monday night Mack and I attended the 21st annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts at the Winspear Centre. This was apparently the fourth year the ceremony had taken place in a performance-based venue, allowing for an evening of recognition interspersed with dance, song, and theatre.
I purchased the cheapest tickets (priced at $25 each), which allotted us seats in the Upper Circle. They announced that proceeds would be distributed to an identified community group, and this year, Arts on the Ave was the chosen recipient – a great selection, in my opinion.
We weren’t sure what to expect, though I can say that I was most looking forward to the sampling of Teatro la Quindicina fare. And while they were fabulous, as always (Jeff Haslam’s “Chicken rice soup” rant was hilariously over-the-top), I have to say that Samantha Schultz, a seventeen-year old folk singer from Edmonton, was my favourite act of the night. Petite, and somewhat dwarfed by the guitar she was carrying, her age was completely irrelevant the moment she opened her mouth to sing – Mack and I were both blown away by her talent, lyrical maturity, and the magical hush that fell over the audience during her single, “Twilight Moment.” I’ve actually already picked up her debut CD, Both Sides, and on an initial listen, it’s lovely.
As for the rest of the evening:
- Peter Brown from CBC Edmonton, one of the hosts of the evening, was hilarious;
- I will never understand or appreciate interpretive dance;
- It was funny to watch the various senior company representatives stumble over the appropriate prefaces for the honorable guests in attendance; and
- The ending musical group Le Fuzz was perfectly upbeat, and apparently, dancing on stage has become a tradition at this event! I had to laugh when the Mayor was pulled into the conga line.
I agree with Mack – while I’m not sure I would go every year, the Mayor’s Celebration is a great way of exposing yourself to a variety of both established and up-and-coming artists.