Get out from under a rock and attend some of our great local shows

This month I made it to three excellent community events. Two were part of the Algoma Fall Festival and one was the opener to the Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment series. There was one thing in common at all the events — lots of local volunteers and sponsors, without whom these events would not happen.

This is no small point. Without patrons of the arts supporting the events by volunteering their time or talents, products or services, I might not have been able to enjoy these events with my friends and children.

I was lucky enough to have been one of the few Saultites who went to see Sarah Slean as part of the fall festival at the Kiwanis Community Theatre. It was a truly memorable show, and I listen to her CD daily.

I was embarrassed for her as I noted all the vacant seats and was also confused as to how I had seats so far back — behind dozens and dozens of empty seats — when I had bought “best available” off the website. I can’t really blame Sarah Slean for also noting and commenting about the attendance. She is, after all, a Juno nominee and a fantastic performer.

Perhaps the timing of the show was the problem, as it was on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe everyone who would have enjoyed live music was out of town or busy entertaining guests?

I also saw the Nikki Yanofsky concert, another excellent performance, and happily, that show was closer to a sell-out.
Fast forward to the Freddy Fusion show with my kids at the Grand Theatre. Again I was dumbfounded that more parents and children weren’t there. The organizers did a great job of not putting out too many seats, so it looked full, yet there couldn’t have been more than 100 people there.

It was an educational show, blending science and magic, and I wish more people had seen it.

As I understand, the Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment series, founded in the early 1990s, aims to install a love of the performing arts in young people. People from the arts community and those who appreciate the arts volunteer their time to organize the series. It is uplifting, educational, and fun, introducing our children to various types of theatre and different styles of music.

Sometimes I think I live under a rock, because I had never heard about Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment before. It seems to be another of the Sault’s well-kept secrets. I’m assured there were ads in this very newspaper, but somehow they didn’t catch my attention.

Luckily a member of the committee has become a friend of mine, and I found out about it via word of mouth. Parents purchase passports for their kids for a small fee, and each passport gets one adult and one child into the show.

As instructed, I packed my kids into the car in their pyjamas, for the 7 p. m. performance. We were greeted at the door, found great seats, were well entertained, and had a bedtime snack of popcorn at the theatre. There were even a number of donated door prizes.

At the end of the show the children got to meet the performer — which I understand is always part of the plan. Performers autographed the children’s passports, giving the evening a personal touch.

The next Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment show is Dufflebag Theatre, presenting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, on Wednesday, Nov. 18 as a pre-Christmas fun family event.

If you also had not heard of this series, please consider yourself now officially in the loop. I feel strongly that others need to know about it, so if you don’t have young children or grandchildren, please tell someone who does or perhaps consider donating a product or service.
In the New Year, on Feb. 3, Norman Foote will be in town, another Juno nominee (three times nominated for best children’s album). I’m looking forward to that show after reading a few reviews online noting his sense of humour in children’s music.

Then, April 23 the season concludes with a bang — or should I say a bam? — with Bam Percussion: Explosion! Sounds like I’ll be up dancing to exciting rhythms with the kids at that one.

If you were equally in the dark about these events, know that tickets can be purchased for the rest of the season or per event by contacting the Arts Council at 945-9756.

Considering there is not a lot of non-sports related entertainment for children in the Sault, I hope you will join me in supporting Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment.

Thank you to the performers, the organizers, the sponsors and the volunteers for making both the fall festival and the children’s series possible.

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