Canada’s Sesquicentennial is cause for major celebration all across the country. We are seeing a level of patriotism, this year specifically, that is stronger than any other point in our history. Individuals, groups, and organizations are all thinking big this year in an effort to create a nationwide celebration that is as extraordinary as the country itself.
One such celebration is the brainchild of Simone Orlando, Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Kelowna and Rosemary Thompson, Music Director for the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. The pair were looking for something big to work on together, and the Canada Sesquicentennial seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Ballet Kelowna is an organization delivering inspiration through movement, as the only professional dance company in the BC interior, while the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra has been serving as the musical backdrop in the valley for nearly 60 years. The program these two groups have put together is extraordinary and includes incredible talent in every corner.
I had the opportunity to sit down with with Rosemary Thompson, Lance Anderson, and Shakura S’Aida, each of whom play a pivotal role in bringing the music in this performance to life. Performances are May 4th and 5th at Kelowna Community Theatre, and May 6th at Vernon Performing Arts Centre.
Shakura is an extraordinary vocal talent who adds depth and accessibility to these performances – We discuss being challenged as an artist, Canadian black history, and performing with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.
Lance Anderson is Producer, composer, keyboardist who has worked with a remarkable list of talent over the years. Anderson was commissioned by the OSO to arrange Oscar Peterson’s Canadiana Suite (written for Canada’s Centennial) for orchestra – We discuss the details in this interview.
Rosemary Thompson is Music Director for the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. In this interview we discuss how the show came to be, putting the orchestra up on scaffolding, and the emotional weight of human movement.
And just a small sample of the Ballet Kelowna choreography by Gioconda Barbuto, Matjash Mrozewski, Simone Orlando, and Donald Sales.