Most of us seem to be suffering from varying levels of SAD thanks to one the most gruelling winters ever recorded.
Now that February is nearly behind us, it’s time to get out and about and shake off the cabin fever that may be building up again since the Lieutenant-Governor’s Winter Fest weekend.
Whether or not March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb in regards to the weather, the forecast for entertainment is quite the mixed bag that features a little bit of everything for everybody.
The month in which spring arrives is an exemplary antidote for those who say there’s never anything to do in this town. In fact, March may be one of the busiest months yet on the entertainment scene.
Therefore, in an effort to dispel that old axiom that I, for one, am tired of hearing regarding B-Town, allow me to encapsulate March’s magnificent amusement mix.
And Brandon’s busiest venue for entertainment this month is, without a doubt, the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium.
For starters, there’s nothing like kicking off the month of happenings with a little comedy. If you enjoy a good laugh, may I suggest world renowned comedian Brent Butt’s "Almost a Movie Star" live comedy tour.
Tisdale, Saskatchewan’s most famous son and star of the hit TV series "Corner Gas" will take the stage to tickle your funny bone this Sunday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the WMCA. This is the perfect opportunity to wrap up your week with award winning sardonic style of comedy that only Butt can serve up.
He has won severalCanadian Comedy Awards, including Best Male Standup (2001), Best Male TV Performance ("Corner Gas", 200405) and Best Writing TV Series ("Corner Gas", 2004). The Comedy Network Sir Peter Ustinov Award was awarded to Butt in 2008.
This cross-Canada standup tour culminates with the international release of Brent’s new feature film "No Clue", which is scheduled to hit theatres March 7.
Tickets are available at the WMCA box office or by phone at 204-728-9510.
For the kids
Next up is a must for parents of toddlers. It’s the theatrical production of the hit children’s television show "The Backyardigans!"
Treehouse TV’s famous group, featuring Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha, Uniqua and Austin, invites you to join them for their "Sea Deep Adventure."
This promises to be an enjoyable afternoon full of underwater magic mixed with a splashy range of song and dance. With non-stop excitement and surprises, this watery tale will mesmerize, entertain and delight audiences of all ages. Audiences will marvel at innovative 3D video design that will create a magical and exciting underwater world.
Showtime is Saturday, March 8, 1 p.m. at the WMCA. As of press time, the $28.50 tickets were nearly sold out.
Pop-rock for all ages
On Monday, March 10, the Park Community Centre presents an all-ages show for the masses featuring Halfway to Hollywood- This Vancouver-based pop-rock trio has been together just over a year and has quickly built up a sizable social media profile, most notably on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
This, along with their rigorous touring schedule, has allowed the band to cultivate a loyal following in most major towns and cities across Canada, selling more than 7,000 digital singles and 500 copies of their EP in such a short time span.
HTH’s sound is a high energy mix of Canadian and American pop influences and they are often compared to Hedley, Mariana’s Trench and Faber Drive.
For those with more refined musical tastes, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is the perfect concert.
WSO audiences and musicians resoundingly hailed Augustin Hadelich's performance of Barber’s "Violin Concerto" in February 2012, asking that the WMCA bring this young master violinist back as soon as possible.
He’ll be back on the WMCA stage Sunday, March 16 at 3 p.m. when Hadelich and the WSO will perform Mendelssohn’s "Violin Concerto in E Minor" as well as Mahler’s "Symphony No. 4."
Mendelssohn’s eternally sweet-tempered work is one of the most popular violin concertos of all, while Mahler’s fourth symphony is his most compact, with music that is both touching and cheerful.
Ticket prices are $47 for adults, $43.75 for seniors and $12.50 for students — but they’re going fast.
On Wednesday, March 12, BOB FM, the Brandon Sun and the Keystone Centre present legendary Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top (with special guests TBA). Tickets are still available at the Keystone Box office or charge by phone 204-726-3555. Prices are $65.50 plus service fees for the floor and $55.50 plus service fees for the stands.
Yuk Yuk’s for charity
Have a fun night full of laughs while supporting a great cause Friday, March 14 at Houston’s as they feature Yuk Yuk’s Comedy with Christophe Davidson and a special guest funnyman.
Davidson has left audiences rolling in the aisles with his razor sharp wit. He is one of those naturally funny comedians whose delivery is unforced, charming, warm, relaxed and secure with a hint of danger.
Proceeds from every ticket sold go to the Alzheimer Society.
Prior to the comedy show, the Alzheimer's annual chili cook-off will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Houstons.
Best of country
On Tuesday, March 18, the Mavericks bring their award-winning hits to the auditorium.
Country radio listeners from the early ’90s will recall their earliest hits, which include "Oh What a Thrill", "Here Comes the Rain" (which won the band a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1996) and "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" (their highest country charting song at No. 13).
This year marks the 25th anniversary since this award-winning group got their start. Led by Cuban American singer Raul Malo, the Mavericks serve up a unique blend of country and neo-traditional country with a dash of Tex-Mex to spice things up.
After an eight-year hiatus from the music biz, they’re back with the same desire and love of music that enables them to electrify audiences wherever they play.
Tickets are $56.50, which includes taxes and service charge, and good seats still available at the WMCA.
All that jazz
March is also the month that all Westman area jazz aficionados look forward to. This year marks the 31st year of the Brandon Jazz Festival. I’m told that no fewer than 160 musicians will perform throughout the festival, which will run March 20 to 22.
The main attractions this year are the Brandon University Jazz Ensemble with special guest Luis Bonilla — plus Rajaton, a six-voice a cappella ensemble that performs more than 100 shows and workshops each year. They will wow audiences with their diverse repertoire and dynamic vocal style and expertise.
Tickets for these performances are going fast. Get yours now at the WMCA box office.
Last, but certainly not least, Canadian country music’s latest sensation Brett Kissel.
He was THE Canadian country music story of 2013. His debut single "Started With A Song" became a Top 5 radio hit and the video for the track sat at No. 1 on the CMT video charts for three weeks. He’s also up for two Juno awards (Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Country Album of the Year).
Here’s your opportunity to catch him in this timely pre-Juno Awards performance on Thursday, March 27 at The 40.
There you have it! March is chock-full of choices for your hard earned entertainment dollars. Maybe we’ll see you out at one of these shows. Be sure to support live entertainment!
*** Just announced at press time: Jess Moskaluke, Saturday, March 8 (venue TBA) ***
Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.