Record breaking mild weather attracted a very large crowd to downtown Swift Current for the annual Christmas tree lighting, Nov. 23. Families crowded into Market Square to watch the countdown for switching on the lights on the large Christmas tree at 7 p.m. Santa Claus and Mrs Claus arrived shortly afterwards in a fire truck. There was a long line-up of children who wanted to see Santa and each child received a treat bag after meeting him. The École Centennial School choir entertained the crowd with festive songs after the Christmas tree lighting. Horse wagon rides were a popular attraction at the event. The horses were provided by Lost Valley Horse Ranch, Pebble Ridge Percherons, and Prairie Percherons. A new temperature record of 13.2 degrees Celsius was set for Swift Current on this day. The old record of 11.7 degrees for Swift Current on Nov. 23 was set in 1890. The temperature was still almost three degrees above freezing when the Christmas tree lighting took place.

 

 

The Registered Music Teachers of Swift Current hosted several events at the Swift Current Branch Library in celebration of Canada Music Week. Michael Lyngstad and Quinn Anderson Folk performed songs from the European Renaissance period over the lunch hour, Nov. 20. Music teacher Barb Levorson presented the interactive and fun program, musical steps for young children, on Nov. 21. Lyngstad played classical guitar and lute during another lunch hour concert, Nov. 24. He also presented introductory workshops for guitar and ukulele at the library, Nov. 25. Canada Music Week takes place annually during the third week of November to raise public awareness about the importance of Canadian music and to provide an opportunity to Canadian musicians to perform their work. Canada Music Week was initiated in 1960 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Association.

 

Prairie Spirit, an auditioned choral group in Swift Current, presented their concert Music to Soothe the Soul at the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Nov. 19. The concert's theme was a reflection on love, loss, grief and healing. The program included readings of appropriate texts by author Peggy Worrell, who also wrote a special piece for this event. Prairie Spirit will make a guest appearance at the Swift Current Oratorio Choir's two upcoming Christmas concerts in southwest Saskatchewan. There will be a performance at the Centre Street United Church in Shaunavon on Dec. 9 and at the Zion Mennonite Church in Swift Current, Dec. 11. Both performances will start at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 each or $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Andersboda in Shaunavon or at Pharmasave in Swift Current.

 

The popular historical musical drama The Cypress Hills would never be the same returned to the stage at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current for a third time, Nov. 14-18. Previous performances in November 2014 and April 2015 were sold out and the tickets for all five performances were also sold out this time. The play depicts a tumultuous time in the history of the Cypress Hills, including the Cypress Hills Massacre and the march westward by the North West Mounted Police. Swift Current playwright and director Stew Tasche added a monologue and music for a new character to this latest production of the historical musical drama. The production included a cast of seven actors, a four-member band, and a production team of four people. The role of the new character of Crow Mary was performed by Val Marie resident Madonna Hamel. Another Val Marie resident, Joseph Naytowhow, played the role of the Nakota storyteller. The other cast members are from Swift Current. Skip Neufeld, Gord Nodge and Doug Sawatzky were the American wolf hunters. Keegan Browne and Stefan Rumpel were members of the North West Mounted Police. The musicians were Dave Cyca, Ed Doyle, Mark Penner, and Jille Shotton. The production team was Cyndi Tasche (producer, set and costume design), Paula McGuigan (lighting technician), Michael Tetrault (music sound technician), and Marc Ruel (stage manager).

 

A variety of imaginative and delicious non-alcoholic drinks were created for the annual mocktail contest at at Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS), Nov. 16. The event was hosted by the school's Students Against Drinking and Driving (SADD) chapter. The contest judges were Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault and councillors Chris Martens and Ron Toles, who tasted each mocktail before announcing the winning team. The school's Best Buddies chapter was declared as overall winners for creating the best mocktails and the SCCHS Gay Straight Alliance received the prize for best presentation. The City of Swift Current staff received honourable mention for the Canada 150 theme of their table.

 

The Remembrance Day events in Swift Current were well attended. The annual Remembrance Day commemoration in the city started with a parade from the Royal Canadian Legion Hall to the cenotaph in Memorial Park at 9 a.m. Later in the morning a Remembrance Day service and wreath laying ceremony took place at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School. An afternoon luncheon took place at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall, and the Remembrance Day events concluded that evening with musical entertainment at the Legion Hall. There was a performance by the Green Braes Pipes and Drums and the main act was the popular Saskatoon group Rosie & the Riveters, whose distinctive sound is influenced by 1940s-style music. A new feature of this year's commemoration was the static displays inside and outside the Legion Hall, including a number of Second World War era military vehicles that were displayed in the street in front of the Legion building. The displays were organized by Legion member Andy Keys, a British Armed Forces veteran who served in the first Gulf War.

 

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