Stettler Community Hall overflowed with music lovers and supporters as Stettler Variety Showcase (SVS) kicked off its season with a dinner theatre having The Travelling Mabels take to stage on Saturday evening, Nov. 5.
“It was a huge success,” said Rose Fenske, SVS board member and one of the main organizers. “Our season always opens with a dinner show and this year was no different, with the catering done by Brenda’s.”
With 325 people in attendance, of which 308 were season ticket holders, Fenske was quite happy with the turnout.
The SVS board members had selected the group The Travelling Mabels way back in Oct. 2015 as the first choice for the dinner show.
The group had donated one of their shows to the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta (ATAA) auction that year and with SVS winning the bid, which was a little more than what they would be giving the Mabels, they went ahead with it.
“We’ve been helped a lot and we wanted to donate some funds to ATAA, and this was our way of doing it, and in the end it was a win-win even though we had to pay a little bit more, it was worth it,” Fenske added. “They did not disappoint.”
The band is made up of Eva Levesque, daughter Suzanne Levasque, Lana Floen and her husband Keith Floen, and all four musicians have successful solo careers, besides singing together as part of The Travelling Mabels.
Fenske said that the feedback has been extremely positive, with two standing ovations during the show.
“Most people loved the beautiful harmony and the variety of music they performed, from old country classics, rock and roll piano, soulful ballads, originals scores to humorous upbeat songs about prairie life,” Fenske said. “The audience enjoyed the very humorous stories and jokes they shared, in addition to the good-spirited cheer they exuded.”
SVS hosts six shows each year, with the first being a dinner show always.
There will be a show from January to April, with two being in March.
The lineup for the rest of the shows is as follows – Ellen Doty, Duo Millet & Bareil, Lisa Brokop – The Patsy Cline Project, Everything Fitz and Sultans of String.
With two shows, one at matinee at 2 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m., SVS ensured that they were making this amazing group of artists available to all the community members, who might prefer an afternoon to an evening show or vice versa.
“We want to get good music in the community, that is our sole purpose and at reasonable rates,” explained Fenske. “And we have two timings each day because we are aware that sometimes evenings aren’t the best for everyone.”
Fenske, who is also in charge of marketing and promotion of the event, said that the SVS board members were very thankful to the Stettler community for supporting them, adding, “The 2016-2017 SVS concert series would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors and all those who have helped us with funds, the season ticket holders, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, ATAA, Stettler Independent and the Chautauqua.”
The next SVS concert will be on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 with Canadian vocalist, Ellen Doty, performing.