The Stettler Variety Showcase (SVS) hosted their final concert of the season this Sunday, April 9, bringing the Sultans of String to town for two shows at the Performing Arts Centre (PAC).
Three-time JUNO nominees and three-time Canadian Folk Music Awards winners Sultans of String entertained the PAC audience with their genre-bending sounds, which included flamenco, Gypsy-jazz, Celtic, Arabic, Cuban and South Asian influences.
The Sultans of String band, made up of members Chris McKhool (violin), Kevin Laliberte (guitar), Drew Birston (bass) and Jeff Faragher (cello), were joined for this concert by special guest Anwar Khurshid of Pakistan.
Khurshid is a master sitar player who has appeared in award-winning films such as Life of Pi, Kama Sutra, and Love Guru.
Khurshid has been performing and recording with Sultans of String this year as part of the band’s 10-year anniversary.
Hearing the sitar was a special treat for Stettler residents, according to SVS PR representative Rose Fenske.
“The sitar was something we don’t normally see, and that’s what we’re all about; presenting things that people don’t normally see in Stettler,” she commented.
The wide range of musical influences presented by the band also played well into SVS’s mission.
“This show culminated our whole concept of of variety,” Fenske said. “You couldn’t put this group in a box.”
SVS’s 2016-2017 season will go down as a success, according to Fenske, with three sold-out shows and plenty of quality entertainment on offer.
The Lisa Brokop and Everything Fitz shows were among the highlights of the season, although Fenske remarked that SVS “received high praise for all of the shows.”
The next concert series will kick off in November with a dinner show featuring singer/songwriter Blake Reid.
The 2017-2018 season promises to bring the same variety that audiences experienced in 2016-2017, from the classical music of the Chooi brothers to the alternative pop-rock sounds of Canadian singer/songwriter Royal Wood.
Fenske is especially excited about being able to present classical music in Stettler because of the size of the PAC concert hall.
“We’re getting some of the best musicians in the world to come and play in Stettler,” Fenske enthused, “and you’re going to be able to see their fingers moving and see the expressions on their faces. You’re not going to be up on the balcony, miles away from the performers.”
Season’s tickets for the upcoming season are available at Pfeiffer House of Music or online at www.stettlershowcase.com, and single tickets will be available starting in September.