cultural highlights of Winnipeg

A huge congrats to the Winnipeg Jets hockey team for making the NHL playoffs! Fans in the Manitoba capital have not seen big-league playoff hockey since 1996, and they have been going crazy with anticipation, as the Jets gear up for the first round of playoffs.

The cast of the Rat Pack is Back!

The cast of The Rat Pack is Back!

Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, you can’t help but feel the excitement. The subject even came up at yesterday’s performance of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) where the Rat Pack is Back! re-enactors dazzled the crowd with songs from Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Joey Bishop look/sound alikes. It was a most enjoyable concert.

I love the way the WSO has created an assortment of concert series to appeal to different kinds of music lovers. There is the traditional Classics series in which you are exposed to an array of classical music from composers that include Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Handel. There are also Kids Concerts and WSO Music Festivals. And there is the Pops series of concerts sponsored by Air Canada.

I really love the Pops series because it provides you with a little bit of everything. Next season’s Pops looks like a winner, with the Best of Rufus Wainwright, Cirque Mechanics that features some dazzling acrobats and contortionists performing to the an assortment of classical masterpieces, and the one I’m really excited about … Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band next April, in which a fresh treatment of Beatles favourites will undoubtedly take me and the rest of the audience on a wonderfully colourful ethereal journey!

Another one of my favourite cultural indulgences in Winnipeg is Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE), where this week, I’ll be attending what’s said to be a hilarious rendition of The Hound of Baskervilles. You get so close to the performers at PTE that you can practically touch them in the intimate setting of the 323-seat theatre. Quite different than the more elaborate performances staged at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. I could go on, but I think you get the picture! Winnipeg is a small city with a big appetite for all things cultural.

If you live in Manitoba, what’s your favourite cultural event in Winnipeg? If you live outside of Manitoba, what is at the cultural heart of your own city? Let’s talk about culture in centres large and small.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

12 Responses

  1. A.K.Andrew
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    Sounds like you’ve been having a great time Doreen. It really is rejuvenating to go and see live performances of any kind actually. I don’t go to enough, for various reasons. There are lots of opportunities both in town where I live, but also within an hours drive. But locally there’s a theatre and a number of music venues. And of course in San Francisco there’s a ton of things.,But I only manage to get down there a few times a year.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Oscar Wilde:120th Trial Anniversary in National #Poetry MonthMy Profile

  2. I live in a small town, but there are a surprising number of cultural events here, and in the area. We’re about 40 km either way from the cities of Kingston and Belleville, so there are lots of choices there too. Then, if we want to venture further afield, it’s about a 200-300km drive to Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal–easily done in a couple of hours–where there are endless cultural offerings.
    At this time of year, my favourite thing is to head to Toronto for a Blue Jays game and some dinner with friends or family. I still remember going to a baseball game in Winnipeg in 2008, which was fun.
    No matter what you’re looking for, you can usually find it, and if it’s something more expensive, then you save for it. It’s great to have so many choices. Great post, Doreen.

  3. Linda
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    Thanks to my stepfather, I adored Dean Martin. My mother hated that kind of music and comedy, so without my stepfather’s insistence, I’d probably never have been exposed to him. I’m glad his style and music is still around.

    Boise has lots of cultural events for a city of its size. Our Philharmonic works hard to stimulate interest among a wider audience. I think this is a sink or swim proposition for orchestras around the world. There is so much competition for our attention these days, that its hard to get young people involved in supporting the arts. Our Philharmonic music director has been introducing all sorts of new concepts in his concerts. He usually has at least one old school rep piece to satisfy the q-tips, but he has also performed newly commissioned works and done multi-media productions, as well as, collaborating with other arts organizations like Ballet Idaho, Opera Idaho, and the Boise Master Chorale.

    I also enjoy the Boise Dance Theater, which performs on stage at the university. My favorite stage company is Boise Contemporary Theater, which is a small venue in an old restored warehouse downtown. Their productions always push the ticket in surprising and risque ways.

    I love the arts. (BTW, the Philharmonic sells wine, coffee, and truffles during intermission. ;-))
    Linda recently posted…An early spring Saturday in BoiseMy Profile

    • Hi Linda and thx for your comment.

      Yes, we’re really lucky when someone influences our cultural intake by introducing us to a performer beyond what we’d normally be exposed to or consider. My husband has done that with me and music. Thru him, I’ve learned to appreciate the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan, and the classical interpretations of Andre Rieu. Neither would have been on my radar without his influence.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  4. Linda Strange says:

    We’re so lucky here in Winnipeg – a small venue- to have all forms of culture as well as sports. We’re renowned for our choral music; and for the performers from opera to rock who have contributed to the world scene. Theatre, symphony, dance, and now with the “new” stages at the MTS Centre and the sports arena, there’s room to welcome popular big-name performers from other countries . Just think – soon it will again be time for Folklorama! If you’re thinking of visiting Manitoba during our glorious summer, that would be the very best time. Come & make beautiful music with us!

  5. Susan cooper
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    Who knew Winnipeg was such a cultural hot spot? In Sacramento we have top notch performing arts groups…Sacramento Ballet, the Sacramento Opera, etc. And we have a variety of theaters showing indie shows to Broadway favorites. I just need to make more time to enjoy them.

    • Doreen
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      Ain’t that the truth, Susan? Having/making time to enjoy the pleasures of life is something we need to be mindful of. I would have liked to have had much more time to explore your neck of the woods. Maybe next time …

  6. Donna Janke
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    Having spent the last 3 winters away from Winnipeg, I’ve missed attending the symphony and PTE. I could probably squeeze in one of the first shows in the season before we leave, but it is always a busy time. I’d like to attend the Best of Rufus Wainwright show.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum: Fusion ExperienceMy Profile

    • Hi Donna and thx for your comment. It’s always a trade-off, isn’t it? When we go away, we get something of what we want, but we miss something else that may be going on at home. Yes, I know I’d love the Rufus Wainwright show, too. He has a lot of great songs. Welcome back to Winnipeg! Or should I say “Windypeg?”
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

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