It’s official – our prairie town was host to a slice of Champs-Élysées night life on Saturday, October 24.
The performance space in La Cité des Prairies is elegantly minimalist, and provides a warm room with a small stage to showcase smaller ensembles of almost any description. The Experience portion of the evening, which took place on the mezzanine, sold out and got things started with a nod to learning – also appropriate since the venue is attached to a school.
“It was a great evening of fine foods by our partner LA Chefs,” explains music director Glenn Klassen, “complemented by a fun guided wine tasting with Kyle Baines of Andrew Hilton. And of course, amazing music by our Musaeus string quartet, ably assisted by Sandra Stringer, a wonderful mezzo-soprano from the University of Lethbridge!”
The evening’s theme was French all the way, with a prairie twist. The wines were all Canadian responses to traditionally French libations, while the cheeses paired with them were also domestic versions of unique flavours from the old world. A familiar classic by Ravel started the program off with a scintillating showcase of the quartet. Smiles popped up on faces around the room as the famous strains of the second movement filled the hall.
“The music was all connected to Paris in some way, and it was a really fun mix of Édith Piaf tunes that everyone nodded along to, plus some really great chestnuts by Satie, Debussy, and Fauré,” notes executive director Nick Sullivan. “And it somehow seemed appropriate to kick off the Extras with a French theme, since the venue is the local Francophone cultural centre.”
Attendees and performers alike enjoyed a nearly full house and with January’s Cellos & Canapés Experience already more than half-sold, the re-imagined chamber music series is off to a roaring start. Additional concert-only tickets are also available, and a second concert-only matinee has been added to accommodate families.