Fine artists help brighten the dark days of January

It seems that members of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts have never heard of the January blahs and they’ve made plans to chase away even the most dreary of winter days. The lineup for the next few weeks includes performances by the Barry Elmes Quintet, a vocal competition, the premiere of Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Our Town and a unique visual arts and multi-media exhibition.

In the mood for some light jazz? The award-winning Barry Elmes Quintet plays the Montreal Bistro for three consecutive evenings this week, Jan. 12-14. The band features York music professor, composer and drummer extraordinaire Barry Elmes and faculty members, saxophonist (and alumnus) Mike Murley and Kevin Turcotte on trumpet and fluegelhorn, with David Occhipinti (guitar) and Steve Wallace (bass). Set times are Monday to Thursday at 9pm and 10.45pm with three set times on Saturday evening at  9pm, 10.30pm and 12am. The Montreal Bistro is located at 65 Sherbourne Street; for more information call 416-363-0179 .

Members of the York community are invited to attend the vocal competition at which the winners of this year’s Christina and Louis Quilico Awards will be chosen. Its an opportunity to see firsthand some of Canada’s rising vocal stars. The competition takes place Sunday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 pm at the Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Ave. in Toronto’s Yorkville district. The awards jury includes Philip Boswell, artistic administrator of the Canadian Opera Company; Carrol Anne Curry, managing director of Dean Artists Management; vocal coach and CBC personality Stuart Hamilton; and John Hess, co-artistic director of Queen of Puddings Music Theatre. The awards fund, which is administered by the Ontario Arts Council Foundation, was established in 2000 by York music professor Christina Petrowska Quilico.

Theatre Department Chair Shawn Kerwin is designing sets and costumes for the upcoming production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town that will launch both Soulpepper Theatre’s new season and its new Young Centre performance facility in the Distillery District. The show begins previews on Jan. 23 and runs to Mar. 25. It’s directed by Joseph Ziegler, and the cast includes York theatre alumni Oliver Dennis (BFA ’84) and Deborah Hay (BFA ’95). For more information, visit the Soulpepper Theatre Web site or call 416-866-8666.

And finally, visual arts graduate student Alison Judd has joined forces with video artist Meredith Carruthers to present “Trembling Bog and the Image Terrarium”, a collaborative, nature-themed exhibition. Combining new media & video art with traditional print ephemera, this project flirts with the materiality of desire. Their show runs to Feb. 19 at the Niagara Artists’ Centre, 354 St. Paul Street in St. Catharines, Ont. For more information, vist the Niagara Artists’ Centre Web site or call 905-641-0331.