Could Surrey be the next cultural capital of Canada? In a recent interview, Catherine Murray, codirector of the Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities at SFU, says the opportunity is there for Surrey to put claim to the title.
"I think there's a critical need to rethink the design of the city centre area and really make the existing, fantastic new library and new theatre development the anchor to the city," Murray related in an interview with News1130.
Of course, this news tag caught my attention. First of all, I wasn't aware that there even was a Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities and, secondly, I think Murray underrated Surrey's civic strides in connecting to the cultural community.
Murray believes there's a strong business case to be made for making Surrey into more of a cultural hub. "You could generate a huge portion of your revenue from your creative economy," she said.
Let me just point out the Fusion Festival, Surrey Children's Festival, Surrey Symphony Society and Surrey Festival of Dance as just a few of the examples of what is already happening in Surrey on a grand scale.
Community theatre, such as Surrey Little Theatre and Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society, both generate dollars to businesses and offer quality theatre experiences to our city.
I could go on, but you get the drift. Mayor Dianne Watts is already looking at the future of the arts in Surrey, and we are on the right track. Of course, there is more to come, and development of the new infrastructures could encourage more arts-related businesses to thrive in the more affordable spaces available in Surrey - but we are on it, and in no small part of the vision of Mayor Watts and the city councillors.
OK, so you get it. Surrey does have a vibrant arts and culture community, and a population interested in participating. Last week I told you about some opportunities
for auditions. Here's more: "Sing your heart out" is the banner for the B.C. Girls Choir. Auditions are now being held for the 2013-2014 season. The tenth season for this acclaimed choir is a year of celebration in song. Already planned for the year are concerts, camps and festival performances. Exciting additions to the calendar will be hosting the world famous Australian Girls Choir and being the opening act for a Valentine's Day concert with The Nylons.
The choir is led by professional singer and music educator Fiona Blackburn. "By providing the girls with an environment in which they can be taught to sing well, perform great literature and create strong and long lasting relationships, how can they not succeed? Children are innately creative beings and they want to share their work with the people they love and admire. As a choral leader, my job is to facilitate what comes naturally to young people," Blackburn explains.
To book an audition, visit the choir's website www.bcgirlschoir.org, or phone or email Lynn van Zanten at 604-542-1698, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, "like" the choir at www.facebook.com/BCGirlsChoir (I know you like to "like" on Facebook).
Auditions for the 17th Season of Surrey Youth Theatre Company and Mini SYTCo are being set. The youth company offers training and performance opportunities for boys and girls ages eight to 17. For the audition, you need to prepare an ageappropriate monologue and two selections from musical theatre. Mini SYTCo is designed for ages six to eight. To register and get all the current, correct information regarding this company, email sytco@shaw. ca or call 604-538-9793. It always amazes me how many people want to sing, dance and act all at the same time, but there it is. Musical theatre is popular - and there are so few jobs available in the industry. It doesn't matter, though; we live in Surrey, and there are ample opportunities to participate in community theatre. It is a lifetime social recreation, and gives us all our chance to make Surrey a hub of the arts.
Just one last parting comment: In 2008, Surrey was named a Cultural Capital of Canada by the department of Canadian Heritage. Vancouver received this designation in 2011. Thank you very much.
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