It is 1993 — Corinne Lonsdale is the mayor of Squamish. Kim Campbell is the first female prime minister of Canada. Whitney Houston’s I will always love you, is top of the charts and everyone wants to see either Sleepless in Seattle or Dazed and Confused, on the big screen.
It is also the year the Howe Sound Performing Arts Association was launched by a couple of Squamish piano teachers, Joanna Schwarz and Carol Grolman.
“The theatre was being built at Eagle Eye and we thought we needed a piano for our theatre,” Grolman recalls. “We got our teacher friends and had a meeting and decided that is what we would fundraise for. We started calling ourselves the Howe Sound Performing Arts Association.”
With the help of the Rotary Club of Squamish, and local developers the Tiampo family, they got the grand piano.
The association is throwing a 25th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, Sept. 29 back where it all began, in the Eagle Eye Theatre.
So many groups have come and gone over the years since they launched, but the association has carried on giving up-and-coming artists the exposure and practice they need to succeed on the world stage while at the same time the organization was drawing world-famous acts to Squamish to perform.
Two of many global artists enticed to Squamish over the years include German-based pianist Janina Fialkowska and Michael Kaeshammer, Canadian jazz and boogie-woogie pianist.
One of the homegrown successes will host the upcoming event, Gio Amenta from The Canadian Tenors and Destino fame — he was also the association’s first Star Search winner in1993.
Local musical talents Sonoma Brawley and Lyndon Ladeur accompanied by Erik Musseau and the Sea to Sky Orchestra will also be featured.
Squamish’s rising local talent Lucy Gill, 14, is excited to take the stage.
The Grade 9 Don Ross Middle School student will be playing bass with the Bluesberry Jam Showband for one of its sets. It is her first time performing with the band.
“I feel pretty comfortable on the stage,” she said in a phone interview with The Chief while she was at Squamish Academy of Music waiting for a rock band class to begin.
At the gala, she will also be singing two songs with piano accompaniment.
She’s been singing since she was seven years old and playing bass for three years.
The fostering of local, grassroots talent, like Gill, has always been the primary driver behind the association, Grolman said.
For anyone one who hasn’t ever been out to a Howe Sound Performing Arts event, Grolman said to expect an excellent program at the anniversary celebration.
“They will not be bored,” she said. “It is going to be an exciting celebration of the successes that we have had for the last several years.”
In addition to musical entertainment, the evening will include appies, a cash bar, silent auction and 50/50 draw.
The event kicks off with a reception at 6:45 p.m. The concert gets underway at 7:30 p.m.
For tickets and more information go to howesoundarts.tickit.ca/events/4973-hspaa-25th-anniversary-gala.