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Eagle Festival entertains and educates

Gypsy jazz, Valdy Eagle Band and speaker series just a few of the events taking place

The 24th annual Eagle Festival continues through January with some scintillating jazz, a fascinating speaker series and educational arts workshops.

Sunday (Jan. 10) marks the start of a four-part lecture series entitled Out of the Natural World with Damien Gillis. Gillis will present a 23-minute documentary exploring the environmental, socio-economic and cultural impacts of the salmon farming industry.

The doors to the lecture series presentations open at 8 p.m. each Sunday and admission to any of the lectures is by donation.

Crowds can expect things to heat up Saturday, Jan. 16 as Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars take to the BAG stage with their swinging gypsy jazz numbers.

The seven-piece Vancouver-based band combines the energy of swing with sultry jazz for a unique experience. The doors open at 8 p.m. and admission costs $20. Tickets are available at the BAG or at The Bookshelf.

Then on Sunday, Jan. 17, a world-renowned biologist and writer David Hancock presents the second lecture in the Out of the Natural World series.

Hancock, who is best known for creating a wildlife video streaming Internet channel, will discuss the correlation between salmon and eagles and the decline in their populations.

"David Hancock is certainly a highlight," Froslev said. "He was the one that made me aware of the eagles even before I came up here."

The Brackendale Art Gallery School of Art will be hosting a two-day drawing workshop on Jan. 23 and 24. The session will focus on replicating famous masterpiece artwork as well as basic colour theory. Dorte Froslev will lead the session, which costs $130 and includes materials.

On Saturday Jan. 23, Canada's only repertory opera, Opera Pro Cantanti performs Verdi's Macbeth, combining Shakespeare's regicidal tragedy with music.

"I'm really looking forward to that," Froslev said. "Opera is one of my favourite things and it's not widely popular but it's just a good thing."

Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission costs $15 and tickets are available at the BAG and The Bookshelf.

Norman Rich is the third speaker in the Out of the Natural World series on Sunday Jan. 27, with his discussion of creative intent and visual choices along with his showcase of wildlife photography featuring bears, owls, caribou and ravens.

The entertainment portion of the festival wraps up with a Canadian folk music legend, Valdy on Saturday Jan. 30. Over the last 38 years, the Ottawa born musician has released 14 records and more than 22 singles. Valdy will be performing with The Valdy Eagle Band, which includes Doug Edwards on lead guitar, Lee Morin on bass, and Jim McGillevray on drums.

"They have all played for over 40 years, so that's 160 years together. They can play anything, anytime, standing on their heads," Froslev said. "They're just great."

Admission to the 8 p.m. show costs $20. For $35, patrons can enjoy a caesar salad and salmon bisque dinner with dessert starting at 7 p.m.

"Don't miss Valdy's wing-ding dinner and dance, that's for damn sure," Froslev said. "They're my favourite."

The last of the lecture series will take place on Sunday Jan. 31 with biologist Alexandra Morton speaking about the legal system and her fight against Norwegian salmon farming in Canada.

For more information on the 24th annual Brackendale winter eagle festival and count visit