SINGER-SONGWRITER Singer-songwriters Stephen Fearing received a standing ovation on Saturday night during his concert at Centre Stage Theatre during the Ryga Arts Festival. (Photo submitted)

Ryga Festival featured variety of events

Music, storytelling and more included in celebration of arts in Summerland

The Ryga Festival filled downtown Summerland with a variety of theatre and musical events, from opera to singalongs and from Dr. Seuss to George Ryga’s poetry.

The festival is held in honour of George Ryga, a renowned Canadian playwright and author who lived in Summerland from 1962 until his death in 1987.

“In this third year of the festival, we are happy that the entire community of Summerland has supported the festival to the extent that it has,” said Heather Davies, artistic director of the festival.

“We were especially honoured that author Bev Sellars and her husband Chief Bill Wilson spoke at the Summerland Library, as did poet Harold Rhenisch,”added Peter Hay, president of the Ryga Festival Society.

Events included an evening with George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe – An Opera by Victor Davies, and the next night, an evening of music and storytelling with singer-songwriters Stephen Fearing and Tavis Weir.

The Theatre Trail was sold out with traveling audiences enjoying short plays in five downtown storefronts including the Summerland Thrift Shop and the Bead Trails.

There was an overflow crowd in the Summerland Arts Centre when Victor Davies, Fearing and the Princeton Traditional Music Festival founders Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat talked about songwriting before the entire crowd joined in a singalong. “There was a great sense of the community spirit as locals got to mingle with guest artists,” Davies said.

The Ryga Festival Society welcomes feedback about this year’s festival as planing will begin for the 2019 festival. Comments may be sent to info@rygafest.ca.

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STORYTELLING WORKSHOP Heather Davies, left, artistic director of the Ryga Festival, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard host a storytelling workshop at the Summerland IOOF Hall. The workshop was one of many events in this year’s Ryga Festival. The arts festival celebrates the life and legacy of Summerland playwright and author George Ryga. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

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