Canada Day 2017 (Afternoon)

The Town of Vegreville joined with the County of Minburn and local service organizations to celebrate Canada Day on this 150th anniversary of becoming a nation on July 1, 2017. Perogies and Jam was pleased to provide the sound systems and help coordinate musicians, dancers and other entertainers throughout the day. Don Harfield was the master of ceremonies for the afternoon entertainment.

The entertainment today was selected to promote the four main themes of Canada 150 which are:

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Reconciliation
  • Youth
  • Environment

The afternoon celebrations started with the official Canada Day ceremony at the Pysanka Park. Starting at 11:30 am, Len Babyn representing the Vegreville Knights of Columbus, led the official ceremonies including the marching of the Colour Guard to the music of pipes and drums, the singing of O Canada by Audrey Stefan, and the flag raising and the 21 Gun Salute which closely coincided with the two RCAF jets which flew over at 11:44 am. Rod Stewart of the Vegreville Legion provided a speech recognizing the history of Canada, its soldiers protecting our land and a vision for the future of our great land. The Canada Day cake was ceremoniously cut jointly by Mayor Hayduk and Reeve Konieczny and then offered to the approx. 400 attendees present.

The afternoon entertainment commenced at approx. 12:30 with Anthony Whiskeyjack performing native hoop dancing accompanied by three singers with drums. It was amazing how the dancing integrates up to 28 hoops into complex patterns throughout the performance. They live in the Saddle Lake and Frog Lake areas northeast of Vegreville.
Performers from the Filipino community in Vegreville next demonstrated their traditional dances. Canada is a melting pot of cultures from around the world.

Next up on stage were the Promin Dancers which are also known as the dancers from the Vegreville School of Ukrainian Dancing. They are celebrating their 44 years of Ukrainian Dancing in Vegreville. Their dancers perform at many venues to promote and preserve the art of Ukrainian Dance and encourage the appreciation of Ukrainian heritage and customs through their love of dance and family.

At 1:30 pm, the Darmohrai (which is a male folk music ensemble from the city of Vinnitsia, Ukraine) thrilled the audience with their captivating dancing which is flashing and fiery and often playful and mocking. The group has developed and mastered their singing skills and Ukrainian folk instruments such as kobza, lyre, bagpipes, sopilka, violin, tilinka , bukhalo, kozobas and the surma.

Country Sunshine then came on stage to perform their country, gospel and Ukrainian music. They have been performing in Vegreville for many years.

Next up was Darlene Thibault who is the lead member of the Wild Roses musical trio in Viking. She is a seasoned performer who previously lived in the Ottawa Valley where she played in the country band Smokey Rose for 17 years.

Dawson Brunet is a 13 year-old dancer who has been dancing with the Vegreville School of Ballet for 11 years. She has studied ballet, lyrical/contemporary, jazz, hip hop and tap dancing. She performed her lyrical/contemporary solo choreographed by Tara Kobitowich and danced to the song Golden by Ruth B.

Nolia Jarvis is a 14 year old aspiring singer from Mundare and has just recently performed at many venues including Perogies and Jam in Vegreville, Big Valley Jamboree, K-Days, the Needle Vinyl Tavern and the Almanac in Edmonton.

Audrey Stefan is a singer and keyboard player and recently performed in Vegreville’s Got Talent and at a featured performance with Perogies and Jam. She writes her own music and has been recently in California working with a producer to issue her first CD.

Valentine Thibault lives in Viking and comes from a musical family. Her mother is Darlene Thibault who performed earlier this afternoon. Valentine is a grade 9 student who is involved in the Viking School music club and has recently learned to play guitar.

The Sopilka Dance group followed with traditional dances demonstrating Ukrainian heritage. The Sopilka School of Ukrainian Dance has been promoting and preserving their Ukrainian heritage for the past 32 years. They also performed this morning at the Canada Day event in the Social Centre.

Third Echo is a recently formed classic rock band in a Fillipino style. The band consists of Ericka Lugtu (keyboard and vocals), Denber Berez (guitar and vocals), Dave Ashesborn (lead guitar and vocals) and Denver Balid (drums).

The audience was pleased to have Anthony Whiskeyjack and singers return to the stage this afternoon to perform native hoop dancing.

As an added feature, local folk singer, Tim Boone came to the stage at 4:45 pm to close out the afternoon entertainment.

Don Harfield thanked the audience for their much-appreciated attendance this warm sunny afternoon to help celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation.

Perogies and Jam thanks the Town of Vegreville, the County of Minburn, the Knights of Columbus and the many organizations that helped make this Canada Day a wonderful celebration in our community. Special thanks go to Byron James, Randy Kereliuk, and Peter Thibault for their able assistance as sound technicians, and to Rob Hughes as photographer.

Photography by Rob Hughes

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