Mark Atkinson Trio with Cam Wilson, Concert Review

Oct.12, 2018

Review by Bob Park

This was the second time this year that the South Okanagan Concert Society has had both Mark Atkinson as well as Cameron Wilson on stage at the Frank Venables Theatre. Last winter we heard Atkinson as accompanist to the lovely gypsy cabaret style singer, Cari Burdett.

Listening to Atkinson as a side man is a bit like seeing a Ferrari idling in a parking lot. Last night, as many in the audience had hoped, the Ferrari was going around the corners at high speed, with its pedal to the metal.

Cam Wilson the dazzling, versatile classical violinist—whom we heard in March as part of the Joe Trio— was a perfect match for this tour de force.

There’s something magical about seeing a group of musicians with 30’s era Selmer jazz guitars, and upright bass and a violin. It immediately conjures up images of jazz clubs in the 1930’s in Paris . It evokes the music of the ultimate gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, whose legacy is so influential that these days, — almost a century later— there are countless festivals worldwide and legions of guitarists dedicated to preservinghis music.

Mark Atkinson and Cameron Wilson are among Canada’s best known practitioners of the Gypsy Jazz art.

Along with rhythm guitarist, Chris Fry, and bassist, Scott White, it was apparent that they were going to take things to a “further-out” direction. Instead of being a “What did Django do?” this program was more a “What would Django do today?”

What we got was a wild ride through, for the most part, original compositions by Atkinson that showed all kinds of influences from Bach chorales to Piazzolla Tangos, as well as Chet Atkins style “chicken picken’ “Listening to jazz, it’s always interesting to try to get a sense of the balance between “worked out” material and improvisation. On this night the group was tight, with lots of interesting “worked out” arrangements, but there was also plenty of spontaneity happening.“All of Me” becomes “Five Foot Two” which turns into “The Street where You Live” and “When you’re Smiling”. As the tunes went by, we could recognize “A-train”, “ Mood Indigo”, et cetera! (Did they really plan to go into the A&W Root Beer commercial, or did that just happen in the joyful spirit of the moment? ) Judging by the laughter, the smiles, the eye contact, the cues, the asides, it was clear these four musicians were having fun. They were enjoying each others’ playing and the surprising twists and turns the music was taking as much as we, the spellbound audience, were enjoying it all.

Of course, to be able to improvise at that level takes superb musicianship, and do these guys ever have it!

(How does ANYBODY get that good?—Maybe you start with “She’ll be coming’ around the Mountain” and imagine you’re Paganini to produce the most virtuosic version in existence)

After all this high energy it seemed a fitting finish when, as an encore, we were treated to Django’s hauntingly beautiful “Nuages” (=clouds). With this hymn to French resistance during their darkest days (the “clouds” of occupation,) a bit of “40’s Paris” came to us in Oliver. From start to finish, this concert was a gift to us of an authentic version of gypsy jazz. To each of the musicians: Merci Beaucoup!

Next month, on November 16th, at 7:30 pm, the South Okanagan Concert Society is bringing yet another set of lively musicians to the Frank Venables stage. Don’t miss “Double Double Duo”. With clarinet , accordion, and piano, the duo will bring us good cheer during any November chill. They come with a sense of humour, virtuosity and musical sensitivity. (Oh,don’t forget: to enhance the heart-warming experience, SOCS serves both coffee and decaf coffee during the intermission, plus fresh baked goodies from local establishments!) For Tickets , go to the Frank Venables theatre Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thurs days, 10 -3, or to the venablestheatre website for online ticketing.

2018-19 SOCS

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Raylynn visits the Oliver Museum, part 2

The people are what makes the Oliver Museum special.

Raylynn was released from jail by intern Cassandra. This girl knows lots about the jail and birds.

However, they found out they had more than just jail in common!

They both love to draw Pokemon!

The following photos and story by Raylynn. Remember Raylynn’s sketchbook.

 Lapras by Cassandra

What made you first draw? My love of Pokemon, I got some books and I am self taught.

 Exeggutor by Casandra Pokemon DS by Cassandra

When did you start drawing? I have been drawing my whole life!Lapras by Cassandra

Thank you for showing me your art it is amazing!

. . . and a few minutes latter Raylynn’s page is full.

You never know what’s going to happen at the Museum!

Thanks Cassandra!

To enjoy more of Cassandra’s art go to

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Grandmothers For Africa Fall Frenzy 2018

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Come for gelato, coffee or lunch 10 am to 2 pm, Friday, October 19th at Medici’s.   You will find yourself at the local Grandmothers for Africa Fall Frenzy.  These hard working women like to have fun.   They like to be part of the solution and not the problem .   The unique and handcrafted items that will be displayed and on sale represent many ‘woman hours’ both here and in Africa as part of their creation.  You will find intricate bead work, wirework animals, pashminas, jewellry, handbags, aprons, bowl buddies, new Little Traveller pins and much more. The money earned from their sale will all go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation for grassroots programs in the under resourced communities of Africa facing the brunt of an ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic.

When you and your friends come out to enjoy getting a head start on your Christmas list, you support women thousands of miles away who carry stories of healing.   The identity they form from being part of a network like Grandmothers for Africa has deep meaning for them.   They come into the organization with a loss of hope and dignity but they grow because they are welcomed with love, warmth and open arms and given a place to share their life experiences.   It isn’t just that the grassroots organization helps break the silence and isolation of grandmothers and kids immersed in their own grief.  It is that they come together to deepen their collective understanding and develop community approaches and stategies to address the panoply of crisis created by AIDS.   And like women everywhere, they soon find room for laughter, for hugs, for songs and dance, for connection and the energy to move forward.

So grab a friend and come on down to Medici’s.   Together we can make a difference.

If you want to join the local group, talk to any of the women in the distinctive bright yellow t-shirts with the Grandmother insignia at the event.  We’d love to have you with us!


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authorized by Ron Hovanes financial agent 250.498.6132

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Community Living Month!

October is more than just pumpkins and tricks or treats. It is Community Living Month in BC. As I sit on my red chair, one of eleven chairs I have bought from Oliver’s The Painted Chair, I look out the window at the sun on the fall colours and realize we have the makings of another perfect day in Oliver!The Painted Chair is magical. Like Santa’s workshop, someone is always painting, chatting over coffee, making muffins and the whole place smells like Grandma’s. It is a feel good place in Oliver.

And for that The Painted Chair is up for a Community Living Award. We are not surprised. Well done, Tara, Ron and Team!

The Painted Chair invites local artist to come and paint with their “Chair Artisans”. Sally shows off her fall leaves as hubby Richard peeks through.

The Painted Chair is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Come on down to Sawmill St. collect a chair and find a treasure for your closet.

Just another fabulous place in Oliver.


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Raylynn visits the Oliver Museum.

The rocks were the most interesting things.I like the first Nations Clothes because I am learning about the First Nation.Not sure what this is but I like the photo.

Photos and story by Raylynn.

Raylynn and I took a field trip to the Oliver Museum. Raylynn loved all the exibits designed by Manda Maggs. Julieann was so nice to us explaining the different artifacts to us.

However the 2nd most exciting thing was . . . the jail!

Raylynn in Jail!When Raylynn found out we were going on a field trip and there was a jail, this is her sketch book page regarding the up and coming visit. Everyone gets ice-cream in jail.

Student and teacher in Jail, an old Jail, but still Jail.

I love the world through the eyes of a child.

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