Concert Society kicks off 17th season

NICS season to include a world-champion dance troupe and self-styled purveyor of “post-modern vaudeville” on the bill.

PORT HARDY—The North Island Concert Society has developed a well-earned reputation for bringing a wide range of musical styles to the region throughout its first 16 years.

But, while the previous seasons saw the occasional mix of a comedy act, season 17 will really break the mould.

Taken as a whole, the 2014-15 season will play like a variety show at Port Hardy’s Civic Centre, with acts including a world-champion dance troupe and self-styled purveyor of “post-modern vaudeville” on the bill. Also included is the acclaimed 6 Guitars — an act that is both more and less than the name implies.

Kicking off the season Nov. 1 is noted jazz pianist Michael Kaeshammer and his trio. A specialist in the boogie-woogie and stride piano styles, Kaeshammer is an accomplished pianist, vocalist, composer and arranger comfortable in a range of styles from New Orleans jazz to blues and standards.

The month will end with an appearance by the Tishomingo String Band, a Vancouver-based bluegrass quartet whose members bring a diverse range of influences to create a unique and high-energy sound. Brothers Chris Russell (guitar) and Jacob Russell (mandolin) are joined by veteran players Colin Cowan on double bass and Devon Wells on banjo for what promises to be a toe-tappin’, knee-slappin’ evening of fun.

The season continues with a Valentine’s presentation Feb. 14 of Six Guitars, actually a one-man show performed by Chase Padgett, an actor, musician and improv specialist from Orlando, Fla. In Six Guitars, Padgett portrays six different guitarists, ranging from a 19-year-old rock prodigy to an 87-year-old blues veteran, in an act that blends the discovery and history of a range of styles of guitar technique and application.

Next up is Grupo America, a Vancouver-based, Latin dance troupe which has performed internationally for more than 10 years and which won the Cuban Salsa World Championship in Miami in both 2007 and 2012. When the NICS installed its new Civic Centre stage a year ago, directors said it would allow the society to incorporate dance acts into the season schedule. Grupo America should prove an ideal fit in the Mar. 28 show.

The season wraps up with the concert society’s annual dinner show Apr. 18, featuring the Amazing and Impermeable Cromoli Brothers. Or, to put it another way, another one-man show with a deceptive name. A high-octane mash-up of sketch comedy, stand-up, vaudeville and musical theatre, The Amazing Cromoli Brothers is the twisted brainchild of Lucas Myers, an actor, comedian and musician who invites, encourages and tolerates audience participation in what promises to be an uproarious evening.

The show includes catered dinner by Seto’s Restaurant with dinner music by the North Island Community Band.

Season tickets are $130 for adults, $110 for seniors or $75 for students up to age 17. Single tickets are $25 adults/seniors or $10 students for each of the first four shows; $45 adult/senior and $25 student for the dinner show with the Cromoli Brothers.

Tickets are available at Cafe Guido and Port Hardy Museum in Port Hardy; at Port McNeill Flower Shoppe; and in Port Alice by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927. For additional ticket info, call Kathleen Davidson at 250-949-7676.

Other concert society info is available at www.niconcert.ca or by calling society chair Brian Hicks at 250-902-2228.