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Symphony Nova Scotia

East Coast Holidays

Live Music, Theatre, Parades, and More—Christmas Celebrations Abound in the Halifax Area

 

Grand Parade in Halifax (Photo Credit: Tammy Fancy)

FAMILY FIRST
The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on Nov. 24, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on Nov. 24 (and 25), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

The Celtic Tenors

SEASONAL SYMPHONY
Symphony Nova Scotia offers a full calendar of holiday concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, starting Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with A Celtic Tenors Christmas. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16. As usual, things reach a crescendo on Dec. 21, 22, with Handel’s magnificent Messiah. This year presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, it features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.

 

The Ennis Sisters

MERRY MUSIC
Oh What A Night—The Christmas Show takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Nov. 18. The cast of the Oh What A Night tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons offer audience favourites from the original production, plus a musical tribute to “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams. Prefer your holidays with an East Coast twist? On Nov. 30, The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland combine original songs and holiday classics in a show that features stunning harmonies, recitations, lively step dancing, and playful humour. See them at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. And on Dec. 6, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts Serena Ryder Christmas. The eponymous singer/songwriter offers a mix of new material, old hits, and holiday classics.

 

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

FESTIVE THEATRE
Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.

 

Neon Dreams

AULD LANG SYNE
Join thousands of revellers at Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant fireworks show at midnight.

 

Hot Entertainment

A MIGHTY WIND
Nov. 10
Starting with the philosophy that “music should be fun,” Fifth Wind unites Jack Chen (flute), Suzanne Lemieux (oboe), Eileen Walsh (clarinet), Ivor Rothwell (bassoon), and Mary Lee (horn). The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts the talented ensemble at Woodlawn United Church.

Ken Jeong

COMEDY NIGHT
Nov. 29
It’s a good night for comedy fans in Halifax, with two big stand-up shows to choose from.
• He was once a doctor but Ken Jeong found his true calling in comedy, showcasing an uninhibited and razor-sharp wit. He first appeared in hits like Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and The Hangover, and recently created the ABC sit-com Dr. Ken. See him in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.
• A veteran of the famous Second City club and the influential Just For Laughs festival, Ron James has been a mainstay of the Canadian comedy scene for a generation. The native Nova Scotian brings his wry and acerbic stand-up style to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

REMEMBERING OUR HISTORY
Dec. 6
Some 101 years ago, two ships (one laden with ammunition) collided in Halifax Harbour, sparking an explosion that devastated the city, levelled the North End, and killed some 2,000 people. The Halifax Explosion Memorial ceremony at Fort Needham Memorial Bell Tower marks the tragedy from 8:50 to 9:20 a.m.

TIME TRAVEL
Continuing
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street takes visitors back to a fast-fading era of Japanese history with Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. This unique exhibition showcases woodcut prints by ukiyo master Utagawa Hiroshige depicting middle-class Japanese life in the early 1800s.

DON’T FORGET ME
Nov. 27
Ever since they won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1986, powered by the breakout album The Thin Red Line, pop-rockers Glass Tiger have stood atop the Canadian music scene. They recently marked 31 years together with the aptly titled album 31. Expect a high-energy mix of classic hits and new material when they take over the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue.

Photo Credit: E.S. Cheah

EDITOR”S PICK: HOT HIP HOP
Dec. 7, 8
Two of the nation’s most exciting hip-hop companies collide, as Live Art Dance presents Halifax dance rebels The Woods unleashing the world premiere of ______Interrupted—paired with Klorofyl (billed as a “multi-sensorial roller-coaster”) by Toronto’s Gadfly, featuring original music by world-renowned violinist Dr. Draw.

NOVEMBER EVENTS

Nov. 4
CECILIA CONCERT SERIES
Mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah joins pianist Robert Kortgaard for a performance of Italian art songs, ballads, and musical-theatre curiosities.

Sterling Scott

Nov. 9
LAST LAUGH COMEDY CLUB
The pop-up comedy club returns to the Atlantica Hotel on Robie Street, hosting Mike Delamont, Sterling Scott, and Michelle Shaughnessy.

Photo Credit: David Leyes

Nov. 23, 24
SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA
Sarah Slean joins the Symphony, combining some of her biggest hits with new music by Christos Hatzis.

DECEMBER EVENTS

Dec. 1
HALIFAX HURRICANES
As the National Basketball League of Canada season continues, the hometown hoopsters take on Kitchener Waterloo at Scotiabank Centre.

Dec. 15
HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS
In their final home game before the Christmas break, Halifax’s major junior hockey heroes host Maritime rivals Charlottetown.

Dec. 31
BRETT KISSEL NEW YEAR’S EVE
The Canadian country star rings in the new year with two performances (7 p.m. and 11 p.m.) in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

HAVING A BLAST: The Halifax Pop Explosion showcases indie music in a variety of genres

Port Cities plays the Halifax Pop Explosion.

By Trevor J. Adams

From October 17 to 20, Halifax is a haven for fans of edgy indie music, innovative talents who create works you’re not hearing on the radio or top-40 play lists. The Halifax Pop Explosion presents 150 musical acts, comedians, and speakers at venues around the city. After marking its 25th anniversary last year, HPX is bigger than ever, with organizers putting a bigger focus on reflecting a diverse array of cultural communities. Organizers were still finalizing the festival schedule at press time, but have given fans a tantalizing preview of the year’s artists.

As usual, one of the biggest highlights of the festival is sure to be the annual collaboration with Symphony Nova Scotia. This year, the all-star trio Port Cities (comprised of Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro, and Breagh MacKinnon) join the orchestra to perform new orchestral arrangements of their works. Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 19 and 20.

Local talents also get their share of the limelight. Made-in-Halifax talents include DJ Uncle Fester, a 15-year veteran of the local hip-hop scene, and Juno-nominee Ghettosocks, described as a “true disciple of Golden Era rap music.”

Reuben and the Dark is one of the biggest acts on this year’s roster. The Calgary-based folk-rock group led by songwriter/vocalist Reuben Bullock, are best known for their acclaimed songs “Bow & Arrow” and “Heart in Two.” Their sound is contemplative, passionate, and expansive; expect a memorable show.

Headliner Zaki Ibrahim is a two-time Polaris Prize nominee (shortlisted in 2013 and longlisted in 2018) who has quickly emerged as one of Canada’s top hip-hop and soul talents. She released her much-anticipated second full-length album The Secret Lives of Planets earlier this year.

Gaelynn Lea is another artist generating tons of buzz. After two decades of hard work, she won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. Since then, she’s played over 250 shows in 42 states and seven countries. Critics hail her for her unique voice and violin virtuosity, exploring “the contrasting nature of existence: dark and light, birth and death, anger and forgiveness, sorrow and joy.”

Ontario’s Born Ruffians are sure to put on a rollicking show. Together since 2014, the group recently released their fifth studio album Uncle, Duke & The Chief. Continually reinventing their unique rock sound, they’ve drawn comparisons to the Strokes, the Pixies, and David Bowie.

Victoria, B.C. musician and vocalist AppleCat is sure to keep fans grooving into the wee smalls, with a uniquely poetic and graceful sound combining deep dubstep, fairytale bass, trap, world, and IDM influences. Fans may recall her as the subject of the recent documentary Amplify Her about women in the electronica scene.

THE DETAILS
This is just a small sample of what the Halifax Pop Explosion has to offer. For a complete lineup, plus schedule and ticket info, surf to halifaxpopexplosion.com.

 

HOT ENTERTAINMENT

Live Art Dance hosts Shay Kuebler Radical System Art. Photo credit: David Cooper

FUSION FORCE
October 5, 6
Vancouver’s Shay Kuebler Radical System Art offers a unique high-energy evening of dance that blends tap, swing, and contemporary styles. Live Art Dance hosts its Telemetry production at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

FASHION STATEMENT
October 18 to 21
With fashion shows, parties, and special events aplenty, Atlantic Fashion Week is the East Coast’s hottest style celebration. This annual event celebrates the region’s design gurus, with lots of opportunities for up-and-comers to strut their stuff.

GET IN THE RING
October 13
Up-and-coming fighters from Canada and the U.S. go head-to-head with national pride on the line as Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts an evening of team boxing action.

CLASSICAL CONNECTIONS
• October 13: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association’s autumn season begins at Woodlawn United Church with a baroque concert by Ensemble Les Songes, featuring soprano Samantha Louis-Jean, recorder player Vincent Lauzer, cellist Camille Paquette-Roy, and harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney.
• October 14: Violinist Jolente De Maeyer and pianist Nikolaas Kende visit the Cecilia Concert Series for European Afternoon, a matinee concert at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. The lineup includes Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 and Kreutzer and Schubert’s Sonata in A Major, D. 574, Grand Duo.

ART AFTER DARK
October 13
Discover unique art in a variety of media, with exhibitions and performances at venues around Halifax during Nocturne. Running from 6 p.m. to midnight, this one-night-only festival takes over galleries and public spaces where you wouldn’t normally expect to discover cutting-edge art. Free bike-valet and shuttle-bus service make it easy to get out and explore.

EDITOR’S PICK – OUT OF THIS WORLD
October 26 to 28
Hal-Con is the East Coast’s biggest sci-fi, gaming, and fantasy festival and it returns this month. Scheduled guests include Star Trek: The Next Generation’s LeVar Burton (“Geordi LaForge”) and John de Lancie (“Q”), plus comic artist Brenda Hickey, author Delilah S. Dawson, cosplay guru Cassie Seaboyer, and many more. This event usually sells out, so get your tickets early and catch all the action at the new Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street.

October 7
A CIVILIZED CONVERSATION WITH CHELSEA HANDLER
Handler joins Civilized publisher Derek Riedel for a townhall on politics, culture, and cannabis.

October 13
JILL BARBER
The jazz/folk-pop vocalist returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre with an intimate show for her hometown fans.

October 19, 20
SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts as Port Cities joins the Symphony at the Dalhousie Arts Centre for a special Halifax Pop Explosion concert.

October 22
DEAN BRODY
The Canadian country powerhouse brings his Dirt Road Acoustic Tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

October 26, 27
LAST LAUGH COMEDY CLUB
Angelo Tsarouchas joins Efthimios Nasiopoulos and Comus for It’s All Greek to Me at Atlantica Hotel Halifax.

October 27
HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS
After starting the season with a long road trip, the Mooseheads play their home-opener at Scotiabank Centre versus Cape Breton.

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Cadence

IN PERFECT HARMONY
May 4

Combining raw talent, hard work, and infectious charm, the cappella quartet Cadence is one of Canada’s top vocal ensembles, performing a lively mix of bebop classics, jazz standards, and contemporary favourites. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts them at Woodlawn United Church.

 

Entertainment_Dirty-Dancing

CENTRE STAGE

Continuing at Neptune TheatreMamma Mia! is Halifax’s most-talked-about theatrical production of the season, featuring lively choreography and the music of ABBA.

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage comes to Scotiabank Centre on May 22, bringing the beloved 1980s story (with the musical hits you’d expect) to life on the big stage.

 

Entertainment_Blue-Nose-Marathon

BORN TO RUN
May 18 to 20

The Blue Nose Marathon is a Boston qualifier, following a 42-kilometre route beginning at Citadel Hill and winding through the South End, Point Pleasant Park, downtown, across the Macdonald Bridge to Dartmouth, and back to the Citadel. Events include a 5K and youth run on May 19, followed by the full marathon, half marathon, and 10K race on May 20. 

 

Entertainment_Atlantic-Motorsport-Park

TOP GEAR

May 11 to 13, 16, 18 to 21, 26, 27, 30: Atlantic Motorsport Park hosts regional motorcycle and auto-racing events plus national competitions on a 2.5-kilometre, 11-turn road circuit.

May 12, 20, 25, 26: Scotia Speedworld reopens for the season, hosting auto-racing events in several classes.

 

Entertainment_Philip-Glass

MUSIC MASTERS *Editor’s Pick*
May 27 to June 10

The Scotia Festival of Music is a must for classical purists, showcasing chamber-music artists from around the world with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, master classes, and more. Guests include Philip Glass (composer), Elissa Li (violin), and Sharon Wei (viola).

 

Entertainment_Touch-a-Truck

FAMILY FUN
May 12

Touch-a-Truck is intended for all ages, but machine-loving kids will especially enjoy it. Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road hosts several fire engines, cars, bikes, diggers, boats, and more, all in one space; hop up to driver’s seat for a photo. There are sessions for people with sensitivities to loud noise from 11:30am to 12:30pm and 2:30 to 3:30pm. 

 

Entertainment_Bull-Riding

RIDE ‘EM
May 26

While bull riding is huge in Western Canada, it’s a rarely-seen sport on the East Coast. This month, the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Tour comes to the city, bringing top competitors from across the country and around the world to Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

 

Entertainment_Kevin-Hart Entertainment_Bernhard-Gueller Entertainment_Mary-E-Black-Gallery

MAY:
4th: Kevin Hart
Hart’s Irresponsible Tour just keeps growing, with dozens of new dates added recently, including an unexpected stop at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre.

8th to 12th: Symphony Nova Scotia
The season concludes at the Dalhousie Arts Centre with “Gueller’s Grand Finale,” two concerts honouring outgoing Maestro Bernhard Gueller.

13th: Mary E. Black Gallery
Continuing until today, the exhibition Wreaking Havoc features works by textile artist Jane Whitten. See it at the Marginal Road gallery.

Entertainment_Cheng2-Duo Entertainment_Jason-Cyrus Entertainment_William-Roache

13th: Cecilia Concert Series
The season concludes with a concert by the Cheng² Duo, a sibling team featuring pianist Silvie Cheng and cellist Bryan Cheng.

18th: Jason Cyrus
The renowned hypnotist performs an intimate show, with lots of audience participation, in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

28th: The Ken Barlow Effect
William Roache has played Ken Barlow on Coronation Street since the show’s inception 57 years ago. He shares behind-the-scenes secrets at this Spatz Theatre Q&A session. 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_The-Sheepdogs

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
March 3, 4: 
St. Andrew’s United Church on Robie Street hosts Symphony Nova Scotia, as violinist and leader David Greenberg joins them for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

March 7: St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Argyle Street hosts the Kirk MacDonald & Harold Mabern Duo for an evening of jazz standards and original works.

March 10: The Cecilia Concert Series hosts the Ladom Ensemble: a young and passionate group of musicians from across Canada. See them at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. 

March 16, 17: The Sheepdogs put on a lively old-school guitar-rock concert every time they visit Halifax. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs open the show.

March 23: The Brogue Saxophone Quartet goes well beyond what you’d expect from a traditional saxophone ensemble, constantly adding to their repertoire. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association features them at Woodlawn United Church.

 

Entertianment_Marlene-Creates

THE BEAUTY OF NATURE
Continuing through May 6

Newfoundland environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates has fought tirelessly to share the East Coast’s natural beauty and help preserve it. Places, Paths, and Pauses at Dalhousie Art Gallery offers a retrospective on her career.

 

Entertainment_Ahdri-Zhina-Mandiela

EXPLORING A DREAM *Editor’s Pick*
Continuing through March 18

Ahdri Zhina Mandiela directs as Neptune Theatre and the Black Theatre Workshop team up for The Mountaintop. Playwright Katori Hall reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours as he confronts his destiny and legacy. Tristan D. Lalla plays the civil-rights leader.

 

Entertainment_Grafton-Street-Dinner-Theatre

DINNER & A SHOW
Continuing

Grafton Street Dinner Theatre pairs lively music and witty comedy with a three-course dinner and lots of audience participation. The current production, The Show Must Go On, is a murder mystery featuring pop hits from the 1960s to today.

 

Entertainment_Prime-Suspsects

THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Continuing

This month is your last chance to see Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Award-winning cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon depicts Canada’s prime ministers in caricature with his trademark wit and incisive satire.

 

Entertainment_Chris-HadfieldEntertainment_Matthew-GoodEntertainment_Halifax-Mooseheads
Chris Hadfield Photo: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

MARCH
1st: Chris Hadfield
The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station shares an evening of stories, images, and songs at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

5th: Our Lady Peace & Matthew Good
Matthew Good and Our Lady Peace share the stage at Scotiabank Centre for an evening of high-octane rock.

14th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey team hosts New Brunswick rivals Saint John in regular-season play at Scotiabank Centre.

Entertainment_Heather-RankinEntertainment_Halifax-HurricanesEntertainment_Bruce-Guthro

16th, 17th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Heather Rankin joins the orchestra for an evening of Irish and East Coast folk favourites.

22nd: Halifax Hurricanes
The Hurricanes host Moncton in minor-pro basketball action at Scotiabank Centre.

29th: Casino Nova Scotia
Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle returns to the Schooner Showroom, exploring the art of song writing.

Hot Entertainment

Matt-Mays-Credit-Tammy-Fancy

Photo: Tammy Fancy

ROCK OUT
January 20

A favourite on the Halifax music scene since his days as an open-mic mainstay, rocker Matt Mays—best known for hits like “Cocaine Cowgirl” and “Take It on Faith”—returns with July Talk to perform at the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street. The Beaches open the show.

 

Compagnie-Marie-Chouinard

STEP UP
January 11 to 13, February 14

Live Art Dance Productions brings two unique contemporary-dance performances to the Dalhousie Arts Centre this winter. From January 11 to 13, Toronto Dance Theatre marks its 50th season with a showcase of Christopher House’s work, while on February 14 Compagnie Marie Chouinard offers Preludes by Chopin and Le Cri du Monde.

 

Folk_Funk-clipped

ARTISTIC EXPLORATIONS
Continuing

Until January 14, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street hosts Kepe’kek from the Narrows of the Great Harbour. The photo exhibition explores an early Mi’kmaq settlement destroyed in the Halifax Explosion. And continuing through the winter, the gallery features Prime Suspects (Canada’s Prime Ministers in caricature by Bruce MacKinnon) and Folk/Funk (a whimsical look at the use of clay art to make social and political statements).

 

Letterkenny-Live

HOW ARE YOU NOW? *Editor’s Pick*
February 27 & 28

Absurd, crass, and hilarious, the Crave TV show Letterkenny has become a Canadian cult comedy hit. Letterkenny Live brings the show to the Dalhousie Arts Centre stage for an evening of sketches and stand-up comedy. Starring K. Trevor Wilson (Dan), Jared Keeso (Wayne), Nathan Dales (Daryl), and Mark Forward (Coach).

 

Vesuvius-Ensemble

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
January 13, 14:
 The Vesuvius Ensemble joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a celebration of Southern Italian baroque.

February 9: In between Blue Rodeo tours, a Canadian folk-rock legend tours his solo project—The Jim Cuddy Band visits the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

February 10: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts cello duo VC², spotlighting the works of Beethoven.

February 10: Country favourite Gord Bamford takes the stage in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

February 23: Pop-rockers Hedley return to Scotiabank Centre, performing work from their new album Cageless.

 

Brides-2018-Credit-Alex-MacAulay

WITH THIS RING…
January 21

A one-stop-shop for the soon to be married, Brides 2018 at Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street features some 135 wedding-related exhibitors: florists, photographers, jewelers, bridal fashions, wedding planners, wedding decorators, tuxedos, catering services, wedding cakes, travel planners, financial services, and more.

 

Bahamas 15442159_10157911358245188_471421218338694718_n Jennifer-King

JANUARY
12th: Bahamas
The acclaimed Toronto folk artist and guitarist performs material from his new album Earthtones at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

17th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey heroes take on Maritime rivals Moncton at the Scotiabank Centre.

21st: Cecilia Concert Series
Pianist Jennifer King performs music inspired by the night in a matinee show at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

 

Halifax-Hurricanes Daniel-Bartholomew-Poyser Martin-Luther-King-Jr.

FEBRUARY
1st: Halifax Hurricanes

The city’s minor-pro basketball team hosts Saint John at the Scotiabank Centre.

10th, 11th: Symphony Nova Scotia
With Black is Beautiful, conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser showcases black composers and performers.

27th: Neptune Theatre
Opening tonight and continuing through March 18, The Mountaintop reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s last hours.

 

Hot Entertainment

FIBA-World-Cup-Qualifier

HOOP DREAMS
November 24

Team Canada takes on the Bahamas in international men’s basketball action, as Scotiabank Centre hosts a FIBA World Cup Qualifier. The teams battle for slots in the 2019 World Cup in Beijing. Canada is ranked 24th in the world; the Bahamas is 82nd.

 

@rileysmithphoto-0081

Photo: Riley Smith

MAD SCIENCE
Continuing

Recently re-opened in its new home on the Halifax waterfront, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre offering a huge array of education-made-fun experiences: the perfect escape on a foul-weather day. Kids can explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and math through changing exhibits, themed galleries, an innovation lab, and the East Coast’s only immersive dome theatre.

 

TheStrumbellas

AULD LANG SYNE
December 31

Ring in 2018 with Atlantic Canada’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. The action begins at 10:30pm in Grand Parade Square in front of Halifax City Hall. Highlights include a performance by indie rockers The Strumbellas and local singer/songwriter Ria Mae.

 

DavidMyles-cropped

3 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
November 17:
 David Myles is folksy and warm, writes good music, has a charming stage presence, and jams with hip-hop stars like Classified—there are a lot of reasons why he’s one of the East Coast’s most-beloved singer/songwriters. See him in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

November 24: Virtuoso pianist Wayne Weng has drawn acclaim worldwide—this is a rare chance to see him locally, hosted by the Dartmouth Community Concert Association.

November 25: A West End sell-out now on international tour, The Simon & Garfunkel Story pays homage to the legendary duo with a full live band and state-of-the-art video projection.

 

Prime-Suspsects

ARTISTIC EXPLORATIONS
Continuing: 
Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street features caricatures of Canadian prime ministers by local artist Bruce MacKinnon.

Continuing through November: Wood, Wind and Water at Art 1274 Hollis showcases works by painter Marilyn Lohnes and wood-turner Ted Monk.

November 2 to 26: Located where the Halifax Transit ferries dock at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, the Craig Gallery hosts Portraits, a collection of new paintings by George Smith.

 

Cyndi-Cane

LET’S GET IT ON *Editor’s Pick*
November 17, 18

Vocalists Cyndi Cain, Owen Lee, and Dutch Robinson join Symphony Nova Scotia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre for Symphonic Soul: The Music of Motown. The lineup includes funky favourites from Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and The Supremes; expect hit songs like “Get Ready,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Dancing in the Street.”

 

Frank-Mills JaneCoop Jesse-Cook

NOVEMBER
1st: Frank Mills
It’s an intimate evening of soothing instrumental favourites with the perpetually popular pianist at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

12th: Cecilia Concert Series
Jane Coop performs masterpieces by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

24th: Jesse Cook
This renowned nuevo flamenco guitarist is always a local favourite. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Coleman-Lemieux-&-Compagnie Halifax-Mooseheads TomCochrane

DECEMBER
7th to 9th: Live Art Dance Productions
With this Mixed Program of James Kudelka Dances performance, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie explore one of Canada’s top choreographers.

16th: Halifax Mooseheads
In their final home game before the Christmas break, the Herd hosts Nova Scotian rivals Cape Breton at the Scotiabank Centre.

31st: Casino Nova Scotia
Life is a highway and you’re going to ride it all night long, as Tom Cochrane welcomes the new year with two shows.

‘Tis the season

By Trevor J. Adams

Parades, live theatre, concerts galore and more—Halifax is abuzz with Christmas magic.

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events to celebrate the holiday season. Read on for our favourites. With an exciting mix of traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.

YULE PARTIES

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 21 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Also on November 21,

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The event continues on November 22.

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Back downtown on November 28, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 5, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS

Back for its 38th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques, and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 6 to 8.

THERE’S A SONG IN THE AIR

Alexander Weimann

Alexander Weimann joins Symphony Nova Scotia for Handel’s Messiah

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on November 28 and 29, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 4 to 13, and Handel’s Messiah on December 18 and 19.

A King’s Christmas is back on December 13. A special guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs.

The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 20, as the Barra MacNeils perform A Cape Breton Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Barra MacNeils

Barra MacNeils

MAKING MERRY

Beloved humourist and storyteller Stuart McLean brings his Vinyl Café Christmas Show to the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street on November 20. December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy event on December 11 and 12. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 11 and 12, with a lineup that includes Australian funny guy Jim Dailakis and Newfoundlander John Sheehan.

PLAY ON

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 28. A Year With Frog and Toad brings Arnold Lobel’s character to the stage in a Tony-nominated musical. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, The Emperor’s New Clothes runs from November 26 to December 12.

 

Musical collaborations

By Trevor J. Adams

Rising stars and beloved veterans join forces for a fiery month of music in Halifax.

This month Symphony Nova Scotia’s new season is going full swing, seeing some remarkable collaborations between local stars and touring talents. The excitement begins on October 2 and 3, as hip-hop artist Buck 65 (AKA CBC Radio host Rich Terfry) returns home to Nova Scotia. The Symphony promises fans “a mind-blowing mash-up of symphonic electronic hip-hop.” The Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue hosts the show.

Buck 65

Buck 65

Up next, the Symphony welcomes back Giora Schmidt. This concert is a must for classical purists. The violin virtuoso has wowed audiences on previous visits with his classical mastery. This time, he turns his considerable talents to Sibelius, marking the 150th anniversary of the conductor’s birth with an in-depth exploration of his music. See him on October 15 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre and on October 18 at Alderney Landing—where the Halifax Transit ferries dock—in Dartmouth.

On October 23 and 24, the Symphony returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for one of its most popular concerts of the year: the Halifax Pop Explosion collaboration. This year, it shares the stage with indie rocker and Halifax native Rich Aucoin. A critically acclaimed master of indie rock, indie pop, and experimental music, Aucoin is sure to take audiences on an unforgettable trip.

Giora Schmidt

Giora Schmidt

And that concert is just a taste of what the Halifax Pop Explosion offers. Running from October 20 to 24, the festival celebrates the best in alt and indie music, with accomplished veterans sharing stages with rising stars.

Rich Aucoin. Photo: Vanessa Heins

Rich Aucoin. Photo: Vanessa Heins

Venues include public spaces like Government House and Saint Matthew’s United Church, plus traditional nightspots The Carleton, The Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street, the Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street, Gus’ Pub on North Street, the Company House on Gottingen Street, Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street, and Reflections Cabaret on Sackville Street.

With 150 performers at 15 different venues around the city, this is the East Coast’s biggest celebration of alternative music. This year’s lineup includes Travi$ Scott, Purity Ring, Stars, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Black Tiger Sex Machine, and many others.

Leonie Rettig

Leonie Rettig

And on October 29, the Symphony wraps up its busy month with another gem for true classical aficionados. Hailed by Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maestro Bernhard Gueller as “an extremely talented, wonderful player,” German virtuoso pianist Leonie Rettig makes her Canadian debut with Ravel’s breathtaking Piano Concerto in G, a fantastically colourful work famed for its brilliant melodies and heartbreaking slow movement. Then, the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Second Symphony, brimming with energy and temperament. See her at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Making merry

By Trevor J. Adams

Victorian Christmas. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas. Photo: Parks Canada

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events marking the holiday season. Read on for our favourites—with an exciting mix traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.

PARTY PEOPLE
The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 15 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Back downtown on November 22, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on November 22, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on November 29, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS
Back for its 37th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 7 and 8. Another beloved market, the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market returns on November 28 to 30, as Dalplex on South Street showcases dozens of Atlantic Canadian vendors.

JOYFUL MUSIC

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with A Merry Cable Christmas (featuring contemporary holiday classics) on November 27 and 28, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 5 to 14, and Handel’s Messiah on December 19 and 20. A King’s Christmas is back on December 14. Canadian actress and author Shelley Thompson joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 21, as the Barra MacNeils perform an East Coast Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

HILARIOUS HOLIDAYS
December sees the return of a pair of popular holiday-themed comedy events. On December 8 and 9, Cape Breton comic Bette MacDonald returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre with her annual Tis the Season show. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 12 and 13, with Derek Edwards hosting an evening of stand-up comedy.

PLAY ON

Halifax Christmas Tree. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Halifax Christmas Tree. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 25. A Christmas Story, based on the much loved-tale of young Ralphie’s efforts to secure a BB gun, continues through January 4. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, it runs from November 27 to December 13. And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Scrooge. Jeremy Webb brings his remarkable one-man performance of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street on December 23, 24 and 26.

AULD LANG SYNE
Finally, head to Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall on December 31 to say farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015. The New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off at 10:30pm, featuring live entertainment and Atlantic Canada’s largest fireworks celebration at midnight.

The right notes

By Trevor J. Adams

Natalie MacMaster joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a Maritime Fusion concert.

Natalie MacMaster joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a Maritime Fusion concert.

After giving audiences a taste of the new season during Symphony Week last month, Symphony Nova Scotia takes things into top gear with several big concerts throughout the month. Acclaimed Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster joins the orchestra at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 3 for the year’s first Maritime Fusion concert. The Grammy-winner always puts on a high-energy show of Maritime roots music—jigs and reels abound. There’s an encore performance on October 4.

Up next is someone special for classical purists: legendary Canadian violinist Martin Beaver (whose resumé includes 11 years as first violinist with the Tokyo String Quartet). Maestro Bernhard Gueller conducts as Beaver joins the Symphony at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 16. They’ll perform the Haydn Variations by Brahms, Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 3 (Scottish) and Max Bruch’s Violin Concert in G minor. They repeat the performance on October 19 at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, where the Halifax Transit ferry docks.

On October 24, the Symphony returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for one of its most popular concerts of the year: the Halifax Pop Explosion collaboration. This year, it shares the stage with Canadian indie darlings Whitehorse. With strong arrangements, brilliant songwriting and intense vocal chemistry, it’s no surprise that the husband-and-wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland were nominated for the prestigious Polaris Prize in 2013. Their distinctive alt-country sound is sure to hit a new level when they team up with the Symphony. A repeat performance is scheduled for October 25.

And these concerts are just a taste of what the Halifax Pop Explosion offers. Running from October 21 to 25, the festival celebrates the best in alt and indie music, with accomplished veterans sharing stages with rising stars. Some 200 bands will perform in 20 venues, in front of 30,000+ fans.

Venues include public spaces like Government House and Saint Matthew’s United Church and traditional nightspots like Casino Nova Scotia, The Carleton, The Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street, the Seahorse Tavern on Argyle Street, the Company House on Gottingen Street, Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street and Reflections Cabaret on Sackville Street.

Lights

Lights

Although performance schedules weren’t set at press time, organizers are already tantalizing fans with an all-star list of performers. Highlights include Calgary’s Astral Swans, Wu-Tang legend Ghostface Killah, singer/songwriter Mo Kenney, Toronto rockers Tokyo Police Club, pop multi-instrumentalist Lights, and many more.

For schedules and ticket information, surf to halifaxpopexplosion.com