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Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:00

Rocktoberfest showcases talents at Swift Current’s Culture Days

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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The Lyric Theatre will host Rocktoberfest on Sept. 30, during Swift Current’s great lineup of Culture Days events throughout the entire weekend. The event is a fantastic opportunity to see exciting local performers of all ages showcasing their talents on the stage.


“The contest is open to regional artists as well as people within Swift Current, so it’s a great way for us to nurture the skills of performers from across the southwest,” explained Erin Gehl, Executive Director at the Lyric Theatre. “It’s a pretty all-encompassing example of what our programming is all about, and it’s just a great night out with wonderful music and a fantastic atmosphere, because we really do have a great cultural atmosphere here in Swift Current.”
The most recent Open Stage event at the Lyric featured a number of local youth, and Gehl noted those are some of the performers that will be showcased at Rocktoberfest. Applicants need to be a band of five performers at the most, who are considered to be amateurs, not receiving regular payment for performing.
“This area is home to a number of incredible artists, and not just in music — we have great performers in theatre, amazing visual artists — we’ve really got it all,” Gehl said. “I think we’ve always been rich in talent, but it’s taken maybe the last 10 years to really start showcasing them and really appreciating them.”
Gehl added this is one of the perks of events such as Culture Days, which give lesser-known events, venues, and artists the opportunity to celebrate what they have to offer. With such an array of talents right here in the southwest, Culture Days and Rocktoberfest provide an excellent chance for patrons to take in some of what the area has to offer.
“It’s so incredible that we have so many people who are this talents, and they are wanting to give us as audience members the chance to enjoy them as artists,” she noted. “That’s something special in itself.”
Feeding off of last year’s popularity, Gehl is anticipating another great audience for Rocktoberfest this year.
She admitted although Culture Days is an excellent chance to showcase talent at the theatre, it can be difficult to fill the venue with so many other events taking place throughout the evening.
“It’s what culture is all about, celebrating peoples’ talent and encouraging them to continue,” explained Gehl. “We want to give these performers a safe place, a nurturing environment, where they can hone in on their skills, and get in the practice and experience they need to take it to the next level.”
Bands will be critiqued by a panel of judges who will look at specific criteria ranging from stage presence to song choices to audience interaction. Judges this year include local musicians Dustin Olmstead, Glenna Switzer, and Bob Moore.
“It’s a big scope of criteria to be judged on, but that way it’s very fair — we’re not just looking for one thing,” Gehl noted. “We want to see these performers really bring out their strengths.”
Leading up to Rocktoberfest is the Lyric’s free Sampler Afternoon on Saturday, where the audience will be able to experience a small taste of the theatre’s regular programming. The afternoon will feature performers from open stage and youth open stage, local writer Bonnie Dunlop doing a reading, and actors Brian Dueck and Donovan Fehr doing improv.
“This is a perfect event for Culture Days, a grand look at culture in a nutshell,” added Gehl. “It’s such a great opportunity for people who have ever wondered what goes on here. This is the best chance for people to come and find that out.”
The Sampler Afternoon runs from 1:30 to 4 p.m., and the Rocktoberfest battle of the bands kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Both events are free.

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