Penticton summer staple of music returns

It is a summer staple in Penticton, and once again the Sunshine Cabaret will return to Gyro Park.

Romanza

Romanza

It is a summer staple in Penticton, and once again the Sunshine Cabaret will return to Gyro Park.

“It is a free event that is great for families to come and enjoy the music,” said Barb Haynes of the Downtown Penticton Association. “We have this great venue in the park that I think would otherwise go unused.”

The Sunshine Cabaret features musical entertainment with an emphasis on local performers every weekend from 7 to 9 p.m. at Gyro Park.

This weekend is the kickoff to the concerts in the park with the Penticton Concert Band on Friday with Gerald Nadeau conducting a wide variety of band selections including big band, classical, musicals, broadway and more. Guest vocalist is Madison Johnson. On Saturday, Cynthia Leigh-Ann & Band take the stage.

“We try and highlight as many of our local groups and entertainers as we possibly can and yet still accommodate some coming through town. We get emails almost daily starting in October until the lineup is completed from people wanting to perform in Gyro Park,” said Haynes.

Last year, over 2,500 people packed the park for Romanza, who are returning this year with opening act Penticton-based Fiddlekidz at 6:30 p.m. on July 13. Romanza consists of three classically trained singers — Philip Grant, Ken Lavigne and Paul Ouellette. The trio re-invigorate opera hits, Italian favourites, popular folksongs and well-loved ballads with their own arrangements for the contemporary audience.

On Aug. 13 a special concert features the critically acclaimed Michael Burgess. The Canadian singer and actor is best known for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the Toronto Royal Alexandra Theatre.

The remainder of the schedule is a good mix of talent and genres including Fluxx on July 14, Out of Eden on July 20, Aidan Mayes and Mandy Cole on July 21, Cod Gone Wild on July 27, Oceans & Lights with Mayes and Cole on July 28, Willy Blizzard on Aug. 3, Kettle Valley Brakemen on Aug. 4, About Time on Aug. 17 and Kirk Dixon on Aug. 18.

Haynes said Sunshine Cabaret is an initiative that was created by Barry Reid over a decade ago, when he worked for the City of Penticton recreation department. Now, the summer music concert series receives a $19,000 grant from the city to help pay for entertainment and is organized by the DPA.

“The Downtown Penticton Association also puts significant dollars in to do all of the marketing, staffing and taking care of the logistics from lights and sound to having someone go through music contracts,” said Haynes. “It is a fairly big project.”

The concerts also extend to the lunch hours with musical performances happening at Nanaimo Square, from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday’s.

“It is great. We invite people to grab their lunches and some co-workers or friends and come down and listen to music over the lunch break while enjoying the weather,” said Haynes.

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