Rawlinson Centre attracts big names for 10th season

Matt Gardner
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The E.A. Rawlinson Centre has lined up some top-notch entertainment to mark its 10th anniversary next year.

Starting in January, the Winter/Spring 2013 season will feature a wide variety of artists, including at least one musical legend.

“It’s pretty hard to find a name that’s much bigger than Kenny Rogers,” the centre’s marketing director Linda Jensen said.

Easily the biggest name playing the Rawlinson Centre next season, award-winning country star Rogers will take the stage on Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m for a special 10th anniversary concert sponsored by Canadian Tire. Regular tickets cost $132.30, though current subscribers pay less..

Rogers isn’t the first artist to ring in the season. That honour goes to musical theatre performers Michael Burgess and Rebecca Caine, well-known for their respective turns in Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, who perform on Jan. 23.

“The two of them together are going to be singing songs from Broadway,” Jensen said. “Definitely we will be hearing some of the songs from Phantom and Les Miz, because that’s what everyone will be expecting.”

The following weeks see performances from Canada’s foremost professional choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, on Jan. 30; Saskatchewan fiddle and violin player Karrnnel on Feb. 3; and vocalist Jully Black, known as “Canada’s Queen of R&B,” on Feb. 7.

Aside from their performance, the Elmer Iseler Singers provide an extra attraction for Prince Albert choir singers.

“A really important feature of that concert is that the Elmer Isler singers offer a workshop to local choirs,” Jensen said. “We have … probably at least a hundred local singers, people from local choirs … who have registered to take part in this, and they’re going to be performing in a mass choir two of the … final numbers in the concert. So that will be very uplifting as well.”

Next up is a special comedy night on Feb. 14 featuring a hypnotist.

“We had Kreskin, who’s a mentalist, a few years ago, and that went over really, really well,” Jensen explained. “So we decided to do something kind of fun and really different for Valentine’s Day, and we have Wayne Lee, who is Canada’s premier hypnotist.”

The next few months see a hodgepodge of artists from various genres play the Rawlinson Centre. These include Patsy Cline tribute group The Inclines on Feb. 23, singer/songwriter Nathan Rogers paying musical homage to his renowned father Stan on Feb. 27, Scottish folk artist Archie Fisher on March 6, the Celtic Crossroads musical extravangaza on March 25, and “powerhouse quartet” Rosie and the Riveters on April 21.

It’s pretty hard to find a name that’s much bigger than Kenny Rogers. Linda Jensen

The last featured performer of the season on May 13 is an “offshoot” band highlighting the original lead singer of the Bay City Rollers. Les McKeown’s Legendary Bay City Rollers consists of vocalist McKeown and a group of backing musicians playing classic Rollers hits.

The season ends with the sixth annual Search for the Stars event, which showcases talented young area musicians and provides them with the chance to learn from industry veterans.

“Everybody who auditions gets on-the-spot constructive and instructive feedback on their performance,” Jensen said. “Then we send that in the mail with the goal that everybody who sets on stage who auditions for this program will come away having learned something that they can take to further on their career or their craft in performing arts.”

The program is open for area youth between the ages of five and 18. Anywhere between 60 and 80 participants sign up every year.

The culmination of Search for the Stars is a final showcase on May 23, in which chosen participants get onstage and perform. There is also a competitive element.

“It’s not the focus, because I don’t think the contest part of it is the most important part,” Jensen said. “But at the end of the day there is a Senior Star, Junior Star and Songwriter of the Year that are named, and there’s very generous cash prizes and whatever that are available.”

Single tickets for season events go on sale Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. and are available online, by phone or at the box office.

The Rawlinson Centre is expecting a high volume of demand this season. Individuals who purchase subscription series or are renewing advertisers will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to especially popular shows.

Organizations: Rawlinson Centre, Canadian Tire, Prince Albert Senior Star, Junior Star

Geographic location: Canada, Broadway, Saskatchewan Bay City

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