Stettler Variety Showcase (SVS) started its season with a dinner show along with Steve Pineo’s Elvis concert on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Stettler Community Hall.
“The show was very well received as the band played popular numbers and kept the crowd entertained,” said Rose Fensky, one of the event organizers. “We’d like to thank all our volunteers who helped with the dinner, our small board of Stettler Variety Showcase couldn’t have pulled this off without the help of our former board members, spouses, families and friends, who helped in setting up and many guests who cleaned after.”
According to Fensky, out of the 340 guests who attended the evening, 240 were season ticket holders, while the other 100 had just come in for that evening as a one-off.
SVS has been in operation for over 30 years, having started out with only occasional concerts in the early days, the organization now hosts a series of concerts, usually the first of the series being a dinner show, such as this year, followed by another four shows, hosted by the Performing Arts Centre (PAC).
The other concerts of the season are Chase Padgett on Jan. 24, who is a one-guy show with six different and distinct guitar styles.
This is followed by another show on Feb. 21 when Lisa Cuthill will be the opening artist, followed by a gypsy, jazz and swing quartet, Christine Tassan et Les Imposteures on the same show.
The Wardens will entertain the crowds on Mar. 20, with the last concert being held on Apr. 10, when David Myles and band, an award-winning sultry crooner will take to the stage.
One of the challenges that Fensky faces as an organizer is to draw more crowds to the shows, and getting people to buy season tickets.
“Previously we used to have only two shows but because they would usually sell out fast, we decided to go the series route,” said Fensky. “Since we received the Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant, we have to select artists from within that pool, and most of them are very talented, and their shows are sold out in bigger cities where the audience pays a higher price.”
According to Fensky, SVS is struggling to keep the prices down and also bring quality artists because often what they charge are exorbitant.
“We would like to see the PAC filled up to capacity,” said Fensky. “We have two shows, one matinee and one evening but usually one or the other is full, which is not good for us financially and neither is it encouraging for the artists, because no one wants to perform to half a theatre.”
Fensky hopes that this season will be different, and because of the caliber of the artists who are performing this time, more crowds come in to enjoy the music.