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Powering culture through music, dance and theatre

For three days at the end of September, the city will be engulfed with St. Albert Culture Days, a vibrant, multi-disciplinary arts festival where there is always something new to discover.
Scene Culture CC 1541.eps
STRIKING THE RIGHT CHORDS – Music student Stephanie Saccomanno, 12, warms up with a song alongside music instructor Adrianne Salmon at Dominelli Studios on Wednesday. The studio was renovated this summer and it doubled in size. It is divided in two parts with a music school at the back and a recording studio at the front.

For three days at the end of September, the city will be engulfed with St. Albert Culture Days, a vibrant, multi-disciplinary arts festival where there is always something new to discover.

This year’s three-way performance arts – music, dance and theatre – are fairly eclectic with new additions never before presented.

“The arts are creative. They’re imaginative. I’ve been so involved in the arts for years. It’s a big place to learn. It brings happiness and happiness feeds us, and it gives us a sense of well-being,” said Heather Dolman, co-chair for St. Albert Cultivates the Arts Society.

Music, perhaps the most universal of performing arts, sports a set of six wide-ranging activities.

Dominelli Studios jumped on board offering free 30-minute recording sessions and private music lessons (guitar, drums, piano, bass, singing). These mini-workshops are for individuals of all ages and abilities and are open throughout the festival on Sept. 28 to 30 at the studio’s Campbell Park location.

“Music is a path to discover. It gives you an opening to experience different interests and sounds you enjoy. Private lessons provide a deeper path to personal discovery and a recording session is a creative outlet that helps you see music in a new way,” said Brandi Dominelli. She co-owns the studio with her husband Sandro, an award-winning Alberta drummer and recording artist.

Over at St. Albert Public Library, organizers jumped on the humble ukulele’s surge of popularity by scheduling three one-hour workshops. Bring your own instrument or, if you just want to get a feel for the instrument, there will be some on hand.

Uke It Up – For Kids is an introductory Saturday workshop for aspiring ukulele artists 8 to 12 years running from 1 to 2 p.m. Immediately following is Ukulele 101 for adults who would like to take a crack at singing and strumming.

And on Sunday, Gary Glewinski is giving a Ukulele Tune-Up workshop for musicians with previous playing experience eager to learn more about chord inversions.

“There’s something about the ukulele that gives us joy. It’s relatively easy to learn the chords and it’s fun. After listening to it, you can’t leave a room without a smile on your face,” said Dolman.

Perhaps one of festival’s most anticipated entertainment pastimes is the Amplify Acoustic Event on Sept. 29 at The Collective. This two-hour concert showcases three youth acts that performed at Amplify Festival.

The Prototypes, blending a super funky electronic and indie rock vibe, are the featured performers. The threesome includes Cody Shayan (guitar), Kris Pittet (drummer) and Chloe Yakymyshyn (singer).

“She has such a haunting voice. She’s really good. It’s going to be a cool show,” said youth festival associate Kathleen Bell.

Opening the concert is Colin Salcedo, a singer-songwriter who creates piano-based indie pop music. Sandwiched in the middle is Mackenna Babiuk, an up and coming folksinger.

The ongoing Keys for the City keeps attracting new players every year. The Keys are two beat-up upright pianos that are tuned, painted and sculpted into works of art by local visual artists. Just their presence invites passersby to tickle the keys.

Helen Rogers created Van Gogh's Garden. It is a sparkly jewel, a mixed media mosaic of sunflowers, ladybugs, dragonflies and hummingbirds available for playing at VASA.

And Daniel Evans’ piano is dubbed Topos, a landscape of mini-sculptures of St. Albert’s major sites: the grain elevators, the clock tower, the Little White Schoolhouse and sections of the curvilinear St. Albert Place. Topos instead is located at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park.

Power House Dance located in Campbell Park is putting the fun back in dance by offering a free day of dance on Saturday, Sept. 29. Anyone is welcome to participate in the scheduled classes ranging from jazz, ballet and hip hop to tap, acro, contemporary and lyrical.

Rooney & Punyi Productions also drops by St. Albert Place on Saturday for two workshops of kids. Bed Sheet Theatre incorporates a story where everyone has a lead role and a bed sheet magically morphs into props and costumes.

In addition, the Magic of Acting for ages eight to 12 teaches young actors to create worlds through imagination and improvisation.

Visit for days and times of events.