The West End Cultural Centre will continue to require that patrons wear facemasks and show proof of vaccination for all events in the venue. We will continue to evaluate this policy as circumstances evolve.
Glenn Buhr became well known in Canada as co-founder with conductor Bramwell Tovey of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival. Buhr has toured Canada twice as a jazz artist, and has recently performed his 2nd Piano Concerto with the Esprit Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. His Symphony no. 3 (a choral symphony) was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in February 2008 with pop singer Sarah Slean as soloist. His full length ballet Beauty and the Beast has toured the UK (five times), Hong Kong, Japan and mainland China for a total of more than 200 performances.
Duncan Mercredi is a Cree/Métis poet, writer and storyteller. A longtime resident of Winnipeg, he was born in Misipawistik (Grand Rapids) and grew up listening to his grandmother’s stories. His affinity for the wilderness and his sensitivity to the deep cultural prejudices of the broader culture inform his writing.
He has published four poetry collections, including Spirit of the Wolf: Raise Your Voice and The Duke of Windsor: Wolf Sings the Blues. His work has appeared in countless anthologies and periodicals including Prairie Fire and CV2, including the special joint issue ndncountry, published in 2018. He has appeared at storytelling and literary festivals across North America and for close to two decades he has been conducting workshops for school children all over Manitoba.
Scott Nolan is a songwriter, poet, multi instrumentalist from Winnipeg, Manitoba Treaty One Territory. His songs have been recorded by Hayes Carll, Mary Gauthier, Watermelon Slim, and Corin Raymond among others. He has recently produced albums for William Prince, Lynne Hanson, and Watermelon Slim.
In January 2015 he started writing poetry, approximately three weeks after his 40th birthday. The plan was to replace smoking cigarettes with walking eight to ten kilometres a day. He is a songwriter by trade and often discovered melodies and rhythms in the shuffling of his feet. He spends most of his time thinking about words, music, and language. Nolan found myself writing short poems based on people and places in his neighbourhood, trying to capture a bit of what was happening around him.
An older cousin of his discovered a gift and passion for poetry while serving time in Folsom State Prison. He was an early influence on him, sending books and letters from prison and encouraging the younger Nolan to read and write as often as possible. This relationship was the subject of a documentary last year called Visiting Day, produced for the CBC by filmmaker Charles Konowal. He was invited to perform and host writing workshops in the very same prison library his cousin wrote to him from all those years ago.
The late Winnipeg poet Patrick O’Connell was also a dear friend and mentor. Patrick is one of his favourite contemporary Canadian poets. His was a lyrical style that had a strong impact on his early songwriting. One of the many benefits of working in the arts community in Winnipeg is the quality of work of his peers. It’s consistently encouraging and inspiring. After more than a decade of relentless touring, he decided to take a year or so away from the road to collaborate, produce records, and enjoy his life in Winnipeg. A play was produced through Manitoba Theatre Projects based on the nine albums he has released since 2003. The play, I Dream of Diesel, enjoyed a two week run of sold-out shows and critical praise from both the community and critics
Active as a soloist in a variety of chamber music series in Winnipeg, Victoria Sparks also performs regularly with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, is principal timpani/percussion for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and works with many other local arts organizations. She is also the founder and director of the annual Manitoba Band Association’s Prairie Percussion Workshop for aspiring young percussionists.
Sparks has performed as a soloist in a number of chamber music series in Winnipeg (Music ’n’ Mavens, Millennium Library, etc), performs regularly with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, is principal Timpani/Percussion with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and works with many local arts organizations, including the Brandon Chamber Players, the Groundswell New Music Series, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Singers.
In February 2019, Sparks performed in the Manitoba Premieres John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit and Terje Isungset’s Beauty of Winter, at an outdoor venue for the Winnipeg New Music Festival, accompanied by members of the University of Manitoba Percussion Ensemble. In 2016, she had the honour of premiering Sid Robinovitch’s Concerto for Percussion and Strings with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. In 2018, she also performed with the Brandon Chamber Players, performing duets and trios for percussion and trombone with Graydon Carter and Aaron Wilson. The group performed Libby Larson’s Bronze Veils, John Mackey’s Harvest Concerto, and Myles Wright’s Pair Up! In 2015, for Groundswell, Sparks performed chamber works by Christos Hatzis and Derek Charke, on vibraphone and multiple percussion instruments. In 2014, Sparks performed at Carnegie Hall with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in the Spring for Music Festival, which included a prominent marimba solo.