This is the Life: There’s always something to do in Creston

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Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where all my spare time is? People who complain, or even observe, that Creston is a sleepy little town always leave me wondering what exactly they base that comment on.

On the weekend I was driving, and thinking about what a great week it had been.

It all started with a writing assignment on a Friday evening, when I met with three local artists who have collaborated on a remarkable project that will be unveiled during an Arts and Culture Week event at Prince Charles Theatre on April 26.

Alison Masters made 34 paintings after she and her husband returned from a two-month walk on Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route to Compostela. She then recruited video artist Richard Reeves to create a DVD of those paintings, which had a couple of showings, including at a Friends of the Cinema night in November.

Then, I am more than a little pleased to say, I subtly suggested to Gary Deatherage that he could write music for the project. A few weeks later he phoned Masters to say he had written eight short pieces and would she like to hear them? Masters was surprised, then thrilled when she heard what he had come up with. Soon Deatherage had written an original Spanish-themed piece for each painting and Masters and Reeves were matching the pictures with the music. The result is absolutely wonderful and my feature story about it will appear in next week’s issue on the night before the public presentation.

On the night following that delightful interview we headed to Prince Charles Theatre, where we were thoroughly entertained by musician Shane Phillip, whose buoyant personality only added to his mastery of many instruments, including the didgeridoo. The concert was a presentation of the Creston Concert Society, which for many years has been bringing in a remarkable array of entertainers to delight local audiences. This small group of dedicated volunteers has enriched our community immeasurably and their efforts are deserving of our thanks.

On Thursday we attended the opening night of Annie, a musical presentation of Footlighters. Our editor, Brian Lawrence, is very active in Footlighters and he directed Annie, so I was well aware of what a huge undertaking the show was: Large cast, including about 10 children, many scene changes, live music to accompany the songs, and a sophisticated score. I think most of us would be astonished to learn that many of those involved rehearsed at least four nights a week. It was very gratifying to learn that the Friday and Saturday night shows were sold out — a nice message to the participants on and behind the stage that their efforts were appreciated.

Friday night meant a trip to the Snoring Sasquatch, the gem of a performance venue that offers an amazing number of musical acts, local and visiting. On this night I wanted to see friends Mark Koenig and Gary Snow on the stage and a nearly full house was proof that I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm for these very fine musicians.

Koenig is a wonderful songwriter with a long history of playing alongside some big name entertainers and for many years Snow was on the road, playing bass for some of the best in the business. Magical is the only word that adequately describes what the audience experienced on that night.

On Saturday night, I took advantage to our proximity to the international border and drove south to Sandpoint to see Colin Hay in concert. Hay was an international star in the 1980s with Men at Work, the Australian group that had huge hits like Down Under and Who Can It Be Now. Their first long-play record was an often-played part of my collection for many years. The Scottish-born Hay is personable and quickly established a rapport with the large audience, which he regaled with very funny stories between his great book of songs. It was a wonderful concert and I’m glad I went.

On Monday, we once again headed down to Prince Charles Theatre, this time to see a film presentation by Friends of the Cinema, another group of selfless volunteers. I helped found the group about eight years ago and we have built up a good number of supporters who enjoy seeing movies that aren’t mainstream enough to hit the Tivoli. Many thousands of dollars have been raised, too, to the benefit of local organizations.

People who choose to live in the Creston Valley might be forgiven if they occasionally find cause to question their decision. They should never, however, ask what there is to do around here.

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.