Performing Arts Centre presents new set of artists in FOCUS online series

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More than 1,200 people checked out the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre's inaugural FOCUS online series.

And on Thursday, a new set of artists are being presented.

Episode 2 will feature well-known North Okanagan and Julliard-trained opera singer Melina Schein; jazz duo Gerry Sholomenko and Neil Fraser; Lake Country songwriter Gord Wilson and Vernon singer-songwriter Shaughnessy.

The centre launched the series Jan. 21, to rave reviews for the 15-minute Episode 1 over its four-day run.

“We were so excited for Episode 1. It surpassed all our viewership expectations,” said Camillia Courts, marketing director and recording crew member. “There were people who tuned in from all over Canada, the U.S., Europe and China as well as all over the North Okanagan.”

The series is an online extension of the centre's live, on-stage SPOTLIGHT season presentations, streaming for free online.

The bi-weekly series is comprised of seven, 15 to 25-minute episodes showcasing the region’s rich established, mid-career and emerging talent.

Twenty-two performing artists will be featured in this first FOCUS series, including the rockabilly band Dixie Fried Hep Katz; the Maritime Kitchen Party; fashion designer Jill Setah; ballroom dancers Heather Stranks and Jens Goerner; emerging singer-songwriter Justin Moore; new-wave artist HaidenLaird; popular area band Chipko Jones, and more.

“This is the first time the Performing Arts Centre has produced original online content,” said Courts, “And we are thrilled to be able now to give performing artists in the Okanagan Valley a worldwide platform with a high-quality presentation that truly represents their talent. Who knows where it might lead?”

Artists are paid performance fees from VDPAC’s annual presenting grants and supplemental government funding received to help support artists through COVID’s prolonged shutdown of touring and live performances.

Audiences also have the option to donate online to help support to the Performing Arts Centre’s continued development of online programming.

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