Mission wants sponsors
Contributed - Sep 21 - Think Local

The sound of businesses speaking up about the homelessness issue in Kelowna keeps getting louder, and it promises to be one of the primary talking points of the municipal election campaign leading up to Oct. 20.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission would like businesses to know they can do something about the issue before they head to the ballot box. They can get involved and sponsor a program that will aid in the fight against homelessness.

“I would like to see companies come on board and actually take ownership of these programs,” Gospel Mission director of development Mike Morrison says.

The first program in which Morrison is looking for sponsorship is outreach, where Kelowna’s Gospel Mission staff move about the city, offering services to the homeless and inviting them to come to the shelter.

“I feel that businesses would be keen to support and sponsor a program that helps the homeless who are just outside their doorstep,” Morrison says. “They can be a part of the solution. Homelessness is in the eyes of the whole community, and it is only increasing. We’re just a piece of it, but we’re the piece that has been there for the last 40 years.”

The second sponsorship opportunity is with the Gospel’s dental program. It would help not only the homeless but the city’s underprivileged as well.

“This is an exciting program and reaches further than the homeless. We help a portion of our community that cannot afford dental care,” Morrison says. “It’s a program that not only assists our guests, but it’s great because it also covers the whole city. There’s a lot of people that don’t have dental coverage.”

The final focus for Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is their women’s supportive housing, which it has been running for more than 22 years.

“This program is focused on the recovery needs of women in crisis,” Morrison says. “It’s a program that leads to independent lives.”

To sponsor a program, visit Kelowna’s Gospel Mission sponsorship page.

Party at Centra Windows
Contributed - Sep 18 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

It’s time to party and celebrate with the entire family at the neighbourhood block party, hosted by Centra Windows.

In celebration of Centra’s brand new showroom, Centra Windows is inviting you and your family to 2350 Acland Rd. in Kelowna on Saturday, Sept. 22, for free lunch, free consultations about the design of your home and a bouncy castle for the kids. Mamas for Mamas will also be on hand to accept donations of new or gently used toys or children’s clothing and new diapers.

It’s a great opportunity to bring the family, get to know your neighbours and visit the new interactive showroom Centra Windows has to offer. There will be consultants on site who can answer questions about your home and provide suggestions while illustrating how to maximize the level of comfort within your home.

Lunch and snacks will be provided for the whole family, and there will be plenty of activities for the kids. It’s an opportunity to learn about the potential of your home, support a great cause and spend quality time with your fellow community.

You will also have a chance to donate unused diapers and gently used toys and clothing for a local award-winning charitable organization that supports mothers in crisis, Mamas for Mamas. The charity is actively engaged with the development of a poverty reduction plan with representatives of Kelowna, the Central Okanagan and the province of B.C. Centra Windows has served the Kelowna community for more than a decade, and it continues to make an impact around the area.

If you are serious about getting the best quality, best energy-savings and best value in today’s window replacement market, then you need to visit the new showroom. Centra is more than a window company; it is a leader in building envelope education and takes great pride in sharing its knowledge with the local community. Come out to the brand new showroom to understand the differences in product design, and how you can save energy and money.

You will also have a chance to meet the team at Kelowna’s classic rock station, K96.3—Kelowna’s Classic Rock. The team will be live on location, speaking with families and providing music and entertainment throughout the day. Come and say hello, have lunch and experience the brand new showroom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Centra Construction Group is the only local B.C. window manufacturer, supplier and installer that is in more homes than anyone else in the province. It views the house as a system and understands how each part must work correctly to maximize the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.

Centra Windows is 100 per cent employee-owned and committed to giving back to each community where it serves.

Fresh Air helping women
Contributed - Sep 13 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

The 35th annual Fresh Air Women’s Run has a fresh feel this year, but it still might be a little familiar to some.

The five- and 10-kilometre event is moving back to its original start/finish location, it is in a new spot on the calendar, and the focus is entirely on women.

“We decided if we were going to change it up, let’s completely change it,” Fresh Air’s Amie Olar says. “Let’s revamp it a little bit.”

This year’s race will be held on Sunday, Sept. 30, and it will start and finish at The Vibrant Vine on Pooley Road in East Kelowna. In recent years the start/finish line was set up at City Park, and the event was held in June.

“We’re going to go back to our roots, basically,” Olar says.

Organizers used to hold a YMCA Strong Kids race in conjunction with the women’s run, but this year they want the focus to be entirely on women. Fresh Air is still conducting YMCA Strong Kids races, but just at different times of the year.

Photo: Contributed

Proceeds from the event’s silent auction—another new feature this year—will benefit the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society, whose primary mission is to support and empower those affected by sexual abuse, exploitation or violence.

“If you’re going to choose a run,” Olar says, “choose this one, because you’re giving back to the community.”

The silent auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Fresh Air Concept, where participants will pick up their packages. Some of the silent auction items include ski-and-stays from Big White Ski Resort and SilverStar Mountain Resort, a golf-and-stay from Predator Ridge, not to mention packages from Smartwool and TWP Fitness.

“This year we decided to put some emphasis on these bigger prizes that we are going to get and let’s raise some money for the charity,” Olar says.

Saturday’s package pick-up will also serve as an expo, with running and fitness companies displaying their wares, and a bottle of wine will be the featured goodie bag item for each participant. There will still be draw prizes, as in previous years, and a pair of New Balance shoes will be given away to one of the first 100 registrants.

The five- and 10-kilometre runs aren’t competitive events, although small prizes will be given to those who finish first, second or third.

“There’s a few people who turn it into a little bit more of a competitive event, but it’s open to anybody,” Olar says. “If you want to come and walk it you’re more than welcome to come and walk it. It is timed. Everyone’s going to get a timing chip, but it’s not going to get you to Boston.”

No, the Fresh Air Women’s Run is all about having fun, getting some exercise and raising money for a deserving women’s charity.

“We’ve got great numbers so far,” Olar says. “I’m really impressed by that. And a lot of positive feedback saying, ‘Yay, we’re so excited to go back to southeast Kelowna, especially at that time of year, through the orchards.’ ”

The entry fee is $50, and registration can be completed here.

Schewe ready to be mayor
Contributed - Sep 12 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Bob Schewe has been in the trenches, just retiring from the Kelowna city bylaw department.

And he knows how the City of Kelowna works and doesn’t work behind the scenes.

That is why he is running for mayor on Oct. 20, and that is why he has targeted the homeless and street people situation as one of the key issues facing the city.

“People want genuine change,” Schewe says, “and I’m hoping they’ll look at my experience and know that I do know what I’m talking about. I love this community. It’s been great to me. There’s genuine passion there.”

Schewe has lived in the Okanagan for nearly 25 years and spent the last dozen in the Kelowna bylaw department as an enforcement officer. As a result, he is well aware of the homeless and transient situation downtown and other similarly affected areas in Kelowna. He believes the current administration has let it get out of hand.

Schewe comes to the table with answers, too. He says, as an example, Kelowna needs a loitering bylaw like Calgary has. He believes the unfortunate homeless who qualify and are willing to live within the community’s rules should receive assistance but those who are career petty criminals and their way of life are not welcome.

“I’m experienced with boots on the ground, first-hand dealing with these people,” Schewe says. “Anybody who knows anything about addictions or mental health and so on, we’re basically enabling this way of life on the street with some of the current policies. And that’s not right. It’s not really helping anybody. We are all human beings. You’re just prolonging their way of life, and they’re slowly killing themselves. I do know what works and what doesn’t work.”

Schewe says one of the first things he would do as mayor is push for the closure of the Cornerstone Shelter on Leon Avenue. A possible relocation, if proven justified, would be an industrial area well away from commercial businesses or residential areas. Small shelters would also have to scrutinized as to location. However, getting the qualifying homeless placed into housing as soon as possible must remain a social priority.

“We’re understaffed with RCMP per capita,” he says. “The city tries to get by with a minimal amount of staffing. You can’t do that with the RCMP. This is a very busy town.”

Schewe is also running for the affordability, livability as well as safety for all Kelowna citizens. To that end, one of his goals, if elected as mayor, would be to keep property tax increases at or near zero for the first two years. These are issues facing vulnerable, retired seniors and younger families, he says.

As for development and large project expenditures, he wants to see a slowdown in the rush to become a big city—with all the associated costs and big-city problems that come with that. Big expenditures and projects at the planning stage have to be more open to scrutiny by the public, existing property owners and businesses directly affected. “I’m not against development,” he says, “but projects have to be good for all our existing property owners, residents and businesses.”

Schewe says electing him as mayor will bring common sense to city hall and install a leader who will do what is right.

Schewe can be contacted directly with questions at [email protected].

This content was authorized by Bob Schewe, financial agent. 250-300-1137.

Get results at Final Round
Contributed - Sep 11 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Jay Saunders says the sentence like he’s rattling off a grocery list or making small talk with someone.

“I haven’t had a client not get results yet,” he says.

If that doesn’t convince you to give it a go at Final Round Gym in West Kelowna, nothing will.

Final Round Gym is a non-contact facility that provides all the training a boxer or a mixed martial arts fighter would do before a big fight. Saunders, who is a boxing and MMA veteran, calls it “functional fitness without the injuries.” You can get some contact if you want, but “you gotta pay a little extra for that,” he said with a smile.

Photo: Contributed
One Final Round client is a shell of her former self.

Saunders moved to Kelowna to take a forestry job, but it wasn’t long before a gym hired him to do personal training. He worked at several gyms in the central Okanagan before deciding to go out on his own, taking the best attributes of every place he was employed.

The one thing that bothered him was how much people had to pay just to get in the door of gyms. Final Round Gym offers unlimited classes for $120 per month. It’s only $80 per month for children. There is a three-month minimum, but, as Saunders says, you are going to see results. Potential clients can take advantage of a seven-day trial membership to get a feel for just how good Final Round Gym is.

Saunders is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He specializes in weight-loss and sport-specific training programs designed to increase speed, strength, power, agility, reaction timing and functional fitness. His training style incorporates high-intensity cardio with resistance. He also has extensive striking and boxing experience, which started with an amateur boxing career at eight years old.

Saunders enjoyed a successful 10-year amateur boxing career and followed it up with five years in the professional ranks, so he is well aware of what it takes to be successful. He’s lived it.

“It’s having a passion for it that makes me different than other people,” he says. “I love getting people results.”

Photo: Contributed
Fadrina Gaudenzi went from left to right thanks to Final Round Gym.

One person who saw those results at Final Round was Fadrina Gaudenzi.

“When she first came in she was very timid, very shy and very quiet, but you could tell she wanted it,” Saunders said. “She got tired of feeling the way she was feeling. Fadrina was one of my most stubborn clients. She didn’t want to change her diet. She is an Italian girl.”

Now she boasts washboard abs. Was it easy? No, but Saunders motivated her to get it done and he is adamant that you will feel the same way if you’re looking to lose weight, get ripped or just plain feel better about your body and your life.

“Fitness has been part of my life for a very long time now, but I was never quite able to get where I wanted to be,” Gaudenzi said. “I’m not a morning person, but I was able to change that for Jay Saunders 6 a.m. fight fit classes because I love them so much. He is so motivating and really knows how to get you results, not to mention that he’s just a super nice and fun guy. I’m so happy to have Final Round to work out at with a fun group of motivated people. I have never felt better.”

All classes incorporate heart rate and calorie monitoring to ensure clients are giving it their all to crush their goals and get to where they want to be. There is no cheating with this technology.

“It’s hard and intense,” Saunders says. “I train them like I would any of my professional fighters. Come in and get going. You’re here to work. You’re too busy dying on your bag to care about who’s beside you, what’s going on around you. You’re too busy listening to me screaming and yelling at you to push harder and listening for the combinations I’m calling. I don’t let people go through the motions.”

Photo: Contributed
It’s not just boxing and MMA at Final Round Gym.

Final Round isn’t just about boxing, MMA or kickboxing. Saunders also offers high-intensity training (H.I.T) and youth MMA classes—a perfect combination of the best training under one roof.

There is also a scale that will give you the cold, hard facts about yourself, including body fat and muscle mass. There have been plenty of tears when people have stepped on the scale.

“It cost 15,000 dollars, and it won’t lie to you,” Saunders says. “It will tell you exactly what your body mass index and body fat percentage is.”

Saunders is also passionate about helping youth feel good about their bodies and gain confidence. He is even thinking about buying a bus for an after-school session.

“With young men it raises their confidence big-time,” Saunders says. “I watch their grades go up. I watch them have more respect around the house and with their parents. They sleep better.”

Click here to take advantage of the seven-day trial membership, or enter to win a free month membership for you and a friend.

Learn to earn at Tax Academy
Contributed - Sep 05 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Anyone searching for flexible, in-demand career training may want to enrol in H&R Block’s Tax Academy.

You can see what it takes to become a pro at taxes by studying with industry leaders, oftentimes near your own home.

Classes are beginning in September. You could learn the skills and knowledge needed to open doors to real job opportunities.

By choosing Tax Academy, you can:

  • Train with industry leaders
  • Learn the ability to tackle any tax situation
  • Learn about working as a part-time tax professional at H&R Block
  • Gain flexibility and independence

H&R Block district manager Tracy Szczepaniak said Tax Academy appeals to a wide cross-section of people, from those starting their careers to retirees looking to keep engaged.

“What seems to attract people to our schools and wanting to work for us is the flexibility,” she said. “We have numerous positions and shifts available that work with most schedules.”

Recent retirees who still want personal interaction will find working for H&R Block an ideal option. They have the opportunity to work with people who are fun and excited to help the clients.

Students like the flexibility with their class schedules while they build their skills to continue with their careers.

Parents who are re-entering the workforce appreciate the flexibility and support from their fellow associates.

“We have associates that return year after year because they enjoy working with the clients and enjoy working with their co-workers,” Szczepaniak said.

“It can be a fun, exciting atmosphere that offers challenges plus continued education.”

H&R Block’s Tax Academy is a 78-hour training program that readies students for careers in tax preparation.

Students learn everything from employment and investment income to health-care expenses, pension income splitting and the Canada Child Benefit, plus more.

“We also work well with those that are new to Canada,” Szczepaniak said. “I have many associates that come from very high-level careers in other countries that are looking to build a new career in Canada. My associates support each other and help each other to succeed.

“I’m extremely proud of my associates.”

There’s never been a better time to enrol. Classes start in September. Visit H&R Block’s Tax Academy.

Perfect radios for business
Contributed - Aug 30 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

If you have a mobile workforce, Omega Communications Ltd. has a new system that will lead to better efficiency while also keeping your employees safe.

It is also a legal way to communicate while operating a vehicle.

SmartTalk is a private, digital, two-way radio network for the Okanagan Valley, which allows for two or more people to communicate with the simple push of a button.

“The intent is for anyone with a mobile workforce,” Omega president and GM Warren Saari says. “If you’re dispatching your people or communicating with your people—it could be any of the construction and or trades companies such as plumbing/hvac, security companies, pool and landscape companies, delivery companies … the list is endless—and you’re using cellular technology, you’re putting your business at a risk.

“Two-way radio is much safer, first of all, and it’s legal.”

The SmartTalk system is also the area’s most expansive. As of last week, one employee in Armstrong can push a button and speak immediately with someone in Okaganan Falls—or anywhere in between. Omega is already in the works to make the coverage area even bigger, from the U.S.-B.C. border to Salmon Arm. Kamloops and Merritt are also targeted to be in the network before years end.

Other companies offer two-way radio service, but customers are restricted to one tower. Not with Omega, whose radios can be mounted in a vehicle or on an employee’s belt.

“There’s ability for it now to work very similarly to a cell phone fashion as far as roaming from tower to tower,” Saari says.

The radios have private and public capabilities, meaning you can have a one-on-one conversation with someone on your network or send out a message to everyone.

“You get tremendous amounts of efficiency using your all-inclusive company channel than from one-to-one conversations,” Saari says. “Everyone stays in the loop. Instructing one employee to pick something up when another may be a block away gets missed when using cellular.

“And it’s fast, too. No looking up numbers and dialling. You just push and talk. But if you have a sensitive topic requiring one-to-one privacy the system can accommodate that, too.”

There are other possibilities when it comes to using SmartTalk, too. Saari envisions a network where construction and subtrade workers can put out a call for equipment or trade workers needed in a pinch. Or perhaps even a social group, where a Friday afternoon get-together can be arranged over the network.

Give Omega Communications a call at 250-860-8016 for a no-obligation trial.

Myrtle CBD offers relief
Contributed - Aug 21 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Are you stressed or anxious?

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Do you suffer from chronic pain?

If you answered yes to any of those questions and have been unable to find answers elsewhere, Myrtle CBD has what you need to get relief from any or all of those afflictions.

Now, you’re probably thinking Myrtle’s pure hemp CBD oil is going to have you feeling higher than a kite. That, however, could not be further from the truth. Myrtle’s pure hemp CBD oil is third-party tested, pharmacy grade and contains none of the materials that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain.

Myrtle CBD extracts the hemp using a carbon dioxide extraction method and then further removes other unwanted ingredients like the psycho-stimulant THC, resulting in the isolated CBD product. It is a safe, natural alternative to commercialized pharmaceuticals.

And that CBD oil is what can work wonders for the aforementioned ailments that affect so much of the population. CBD acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, a strong antioxidant, antinociception, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsive, analgesic, antiemetic and neural protector. It also supports a healthy immune system, and early evidence indicates CBD has anti-tumour properties. Trial participants reported having a decrease in daily pain and less stress, and were more rested and less drowsy.

“I’ve been experiencing chronic varied pain since I bulged and herniated discs in my lower back 6 years ago,” Myrtle CBD client Angelica said. “I have tried a number of prescription pain medications over the years with little to no relief. I started strength training for my back injury, and my trainer suggested I try CBD oil. I’ve been taking it orally for a month and have experienced positive results. I’m sleeping better at night because I don’t have pain in certain areas anymore, and I’m able to lay in positions I couldn’t since my injury.”

There has also been plenty of testing done to ensure CBD oil safety. It is considered safe and well tolerated in humans, even in high doses and chronically, up to 1,500 milligrams per day.

“I have found that taking the hemp oil has helped me relax, fall asleep and stay asleep longer and deeper,” Myrtle client Connie said. “Plus, lately I dream and remember the dream every night. I stopped taking sleeping pills, which I have taken for seven years now. I started taking the hemp oil on July 4, and I have not had to go back to sleeping pills, which I am very grateful for.”

The most commonly reported side effects are tiredness, diarrhea and changes in appetite/weight, but, compared with other commercialized pharmaceutical drugs, CBD has a better side-effect profile. Ultimately, it could lead to improved compliance and adherence to treatment methods.

“I was happy to observe no side effects from the CBD oil,” Angelica said. “This is important to me, because other medications made me feel dizzy or tired, not to mention the long-term effects prescription drugs could have on my body.”

Myrtle CBD also recognizes that animals, like humans, have the same cannabinoid system and has partnered up with CBD 4 Paws, a company that helps pets deal with ailments. CBD 4 Paws donates a dollar from every bottle to a local pet charity.

Luxury camping at its best
Contributed - Aug 09 - Think Local

If you buy a piece of land at Cottonwood Cove, get ready for a beautiful, amenity-packed RV Resort surrounded by premier Shuswap waterfront in a private, secluded cove.

“My idea behind developing Cottonwood Cove was a wilderness camping feel—there’s lots of beautiful Cottonwood trees that dot the shoreline and the property has a rustic look—but it’s a five-star luxury resort,” Cottonwood Cove developer Greg Darroch says. “You have access to all the vacation-style amenities, the bells and whistles. People want to go in their RV, and the hair dryer better work, and the air conditioning better work. They think they’re roughing it, but they’re at home, so to speak.”

Cottonwood Cove offers whole ownership RV lots complete with full-service hookups, 50-amp power, fire pits and the option to personalize your lot with deck, fence or shed upgrades. After six years of the required red tape Darroch finally was able to start selling lots earlier this year, 40 of which have already been purchased.

What makes Cottonwood Cove unique is its one-kilometre stretch of sandy beach on Shuswap Lake. Normally in a camping area there is one small beach, but at Cottonwood Cove you can choose any spot in the entire development.

Cottonwood Cove allows you to enjoy both the relaxation of the outdoors and the comforts of home with access to wireless Internet, laundry services, shower facilities and municipal water. The resort features a marina and private boat launch, an outdoor pool and spa, a watersport rental shop, two playgrounds, a designated dog park, and internal hiking trails connecting to a provincial park.

Other notable features include a newly built clubhouse featuring The Cove Bar and Grill Restaurant, an ice cream shop, a convenience store and community pavilion.

“It’s really a second property,” Darroch says. “Guests RVs are fully loaded and equipped with everything necessary to ensure a ‘home away from home’ experience. Once through the secured entry gate, it’s easy to park and play.”

The best part is you can leave your RV and boat at the resort all year long, as security is on site 12 months a year. Owners can also rent out their lots with onsite management.

The resort is only a 10-minute drive off the Trans-Canada Highway and located next to Tsútswecw Provincial Park, formerly known as Roderick Haig-Brown. Darroch boasts that Cottonwood Cove is turning into a community of its own.

Carmen will electrify you
Contributed - Aug 08 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

George Bizet’s Carmen debuted in 1875, but the two women who will play the lead role in the Opera Kelowna version later this month believe it resonates today in ways that are personal even to them.

Carmen, according to the playbill, is the story of a “flirtatious and hot-tempered Gypsy seductress who steals the hearts of an army officer, Don José, and a bullfighter, Escamillo.” The story covers the full scale of emotions and ends with a “bloody, final confrontation outside a bullfighting arena.”

Barbara King, who will play Carmen on Aug. 17 and 19 at Kelowna Community Theatre, and Suzanne Lommler, who will take the lead on Aug. 16 and 18, both jumped deeply into the role for different reasons.

Barbara King

“With this role, especially in this day and age, with all this #MeToo and women’s rights and empowerment, this is a really great opportunity and venue to show that empowerment,” says King, who has performed for both the Edmonton and Calgary operas. “Carmen is not a weak woman. She is a strong woman, and she’s the leader of these gypsies, including the men, the smugglers. She’s the one that leads this group and helps them survive, and they really look up to her.

“So she’s a very strong woman who does what she needs to do without putting herself in a situation or tries not to put herself in a situation where she’s going to get hurt. Thinking about that, just as a woman, it is extremely empowering.”

It goes even deeper than that for King, however, whose own violent past will play a part in how she presents Carmen to the audience.

“I really have to dig deep into myself, because I actually do come from an abusive relationship with my ex-husband, so it brings up a lot of those emotions with physical abuse and mental abuse,” King says. “So doing this character just makes me feel so in control. I’m powerful right up until the end, and then she realizes her fate is death, and she comes to that realization, but at the same time I feel so strong going through it and keeping my people fed. It’s quite deep, actually.”

Suzanne Lommler

Lommler, meanwhile, remembers watching Carmen as a youngster and not liking what she saw. She didn’t like the way Carmen was presented—so much so that she didn’t even sing the arias when she was learning her craft. That all changed when she was offered the opportunity to play the role in Kelowna. She has been working on it for more than a year.

“Having the offer forced me to really think about the character and how to make her human, because she should be human,” says Lommler, an American who has performed in Chicago and Italy. “So I’m thinking the whole time how to show her raw sensuality and passion and fiery spirit and her freedom without having the audience get the wrong idea.

“It’s hard to do. And then you also have the added complication of a big theatre. You have to show it all the way to the back row, but the people in the front row have to believe in it, too.”

King and Lommler both praised the cast that has been assembled for the productions. Bernard McDonald is returning to Opera Kelowna as the conductor, and Carmen will represent the debut of award-winning theatre and opera director Amiel Gladstone.

Usually when there are two casts, one gets more rehearsal time, but both leads report the stage time has been split down the middle. That means there will basically be two different productions over the four days.

Bernard McDonald

“People should come to both shows,” King says, “because although it’s the same opera it’s going to be a completely different opera.”

As for anyone who has never been to the opera, Lommler believes Opera Kelowna’s production of “the heart-wrenching story of fiery passions and desperate acts” would be a good one for a newcomer to break into the genre.

“We promise you you’ll know what’s going on,” Lommler says. “A little tip to prepare would be just to read a synopsis online so you have a general idea of which characters are going to appear on stage, and there will also be English text up above the stage.

“So if you want to know exactly every word that’s being said in time you can just glance up above. It helps to maybe read a synopsis beforehand.”

Tenors Steeve Michaud and Ernesto Ramirez will share the role of Don José, joined by soprano Lara Ciekiewicz as Micaela and baritone Geoffrey Sirrett as toreador Escamillo.

Jessie Award-winning costume and set designer Drew Facey will create an animated contemporary setting. Makeup artist Missy MacKintosh will incorporate body tattooing, while master cutter Keren Huyter will design corsets, all with a cutting-edge, modern take on steampunk style.

The production will also draw particular focus on nomadic global residents, immigration and urbanization.

“We go to the theatre sometimes to escape, but we also go to the theatre to identify with each other and to lean on each other for support,” Lommler says. “So when you feel something—yeah, I understand that—then it’s a release that everybody needs.”

A series of free concerts and community engagements will support and inform Carmen’s run. Details can be found here.

For tickets and further information about Bizet’s Carmen, visit operakelowna.com.

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