Entertainment

Canada's got talent, and it's coming to Morden

Alexis Stockford

Quartetto Gelato will be one of 15 entertainers/groups from across Canada who will be in Morden later this month for the 2016 Manitoba Showcase. (Submitted)

Quartetto Gelato will be one of 15 entertainers/groups from across Canada who will be in Morden later this month for the 2016 Manitoba Showcase. (Submitted)

You’ve never seen a job interview quite this entertaining.
Fifteen hand-picked performers from across Canada will be in Morden Oct. 20-23 for the Manitoba Showcase, presented each year by the Manitoba Arts Network to connect premiere artists with community organizations (such as local Southern Manitoba Concert series) who might want to book them.
Three showcases over three days will bring artists to the stage, each for 20 minutes of their best work. A question and answer period in front of the audience and 100-125 delegates will follow each performance.
“We found that the general public, not only do they get entertained and get to see a variety of different artists in the one showcase for a very low fee, but they also get to find out a little bit about the artist in the interview part as well,” Josh Marantz, Manitoba Arts Network executive director said.
This year’s line-up draws from coast to coast. From Prince Edward Island, Gordie McKeeman and his Rhythm Boys will bring a taste Maritime folk and bluegrass, including work from their recently released 13-track album, “Laugh, Dance & Sing”, while last year’s CBC Searchlight winner Lauren Mann will gear up her folk/pop lyrics, straight from British Columbia.
The West Coast singer/songwriter will also perform Oct. 23  at the Kenmor Theatre as the next act  on the Deadhorse Entertainment schedule.
The strumming guitar of Ontario’s Cliff Cardiff, Edmonton Folk Music Festival Emerging Artist winners 100 Mile House, and Yukon rock group Speed Control (who’s member, Graeme Peters has rock opera on his resume and has performed with jazz artists Ingrid Jensen and Terry Promane as well as acclaimed Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq) will offset Manitoba artists Patti Kusturok (classic fiddler and Manitoba Fiddle Association Hall of Fame member), Sol James (roots and blues with a generous dose of humour) and Lizzy Hoyt (who’s most recent Celtic album, “New Lady on the Prairie” earned a Canadian Folk Music Award and Western Canadian Music Award nominations, three Independent Music Award nominations and a nod on the Indie Music Project’s Best Albums of 2014).
Celtic rock group, the Derina Harvey Band, will offer their own contemporary take on traditional music while Andino Suns, the Saskatchewan-based Latin band, will look to transport the audience south of the equator.
Ontario’s Quartetto Gelato and the Proteus Saxophone Quartet (counting members from Alberta and Quebec) will represent the classical concert hall, with Quartetto Gelato taking the occasional departure into tango, “virtuosic showpieces, romantic tenor arias, pyrotechnical solos, blazing gypsy show pieces, multi-instrument mastery and a World Accordion Champion,” according to the band’s biography.
Fans of country music will also find their genre of choice with the Traveling Mabels, a three generation female trio hailing from Alberta. The group, which draws much of their music from life experiences, was named the 2011 Association of Country Music in Alberta group of the year.
Two non-musical acts round off the schedule, with illusions, mentalism and magic tricks by Spidey and Bob Cates, both of Quebec.
“We try to really give a broad range of genres of the performing artists in our showcases and that’s part of the criteria that the jury is instructed to consider when we choose the particular artists,” Marantz said.
Registration is $10 per showcase concert and can be done at manitobaartsnetwork.ca.
While it is the first time for the showcase in Morden, Oct. 20-23 will not be the first rodeo for the Southern Manitoba Concert Series.
The series has previously drawn from the showcase artists to fill their schedule, including this season’s series openers, Duo Fortin-Poirier.
SMC representatives first heard the piano duet during last year’s conference in Flin Flon.
“It was wonderful,” Linda Butler, SMC board member, said. “The audience really enjoyed it, but we wouldn’t have known about this if we hadn’t gone...last year and seen them at this showcase, so it’s very important to us. We watch all 15, but there might only be one or two that we’re really interested in, but then another community will be interested in a couple of the others.”
The Southern Manitoba Concert Series will host the 2016 showcase, with contribution by the Pembina Hills Art Council and Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre.
“When I started with this organization, I made my first trip to Morden,” Marantz said. “I hadn’t been to Morden before, and I was just absolutely taken aback just by the beauty of the city. Like, what a nice community, just visually-the heritage buildings along the downtown that have been maintained, the art galleries, the local art scene, the visual art scene is vibrant and all the agriculture going on there and the testing that goes on there (at the research station) is quite amazing.”
Professional development seminars for artists and community groups, visual arts displays, literary readings and an emerging artist showcase (closed to the general public) will also earmark the showcase.