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The penultimate Southwest CultureFest, a series of free bi-weekly events in southwest Saskatchewan to celebrate Canada 150 and cultural diversity in the province, took place at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current, Aug. 26. This event featured a Bengali song and dance show with singer Jebunnessa Chapola and three dancers, as well as a performance by Iraqi-Canadian spoken word and hip-hop artist Ahmad Majid. Chapola was born in Bangladesh and has been living in Saskatoon for the past six years, where she is a doctoral student in women’s and gender issues while she is also an activist, radio host and singer. Her performance in Swift Current highlighted Bengali musical traditions and the poetic songs of Rabindranath Tagore. Ahmad Majid of Saskatoon is a second-generation Iraqi-Canadian. He uses his poetry and music to address important social and human rights issues. The final event in this festival series takes place at the Lyric Theatre on Sept. 9. It will include a Filipino cultural showcase as well as other performances. Admission is free and the show starts at 7 p.m.

 

The Swift Current Drag Racing Association hosted the third and final drag racing weekend of the 2017 season at the Swift Current Airport, Aug. 26 and 27. The event was well attended and over 114 cars from across Saskatchewan as well as from Alberta, Manitoba and Montana  competed on the airfield dragstrip. Below are the race results.

Aug. 26 winners: Super Pro class – 1st Ron Schultz, Swift Current, 2nd Rick Starkey, Malta MT; Pro class – 1st Harvey Turner, Medicine Hat AB, 2nd Garry Burr, Bagot MB; Sportsman class – 1st Jarrod Bauer, Moose Jaw SK, 2nd Richard Vogel, McTaggart SK; Junior Dragster class – 1st Rayce Schultz, Swift Current, 2nd Erica Knelsen, Medicine Hat AB.

Aug. 27 winners: Super Pro class – 1st  Zach Lowe, Moose Jaw SK, 2nd Cory Schultz, Swift Current; Pro class – 1st James Frayn, Trossachs SK, 2nd Mike Acker, Swift Current; Sportsman class – 1st Remington Walker, Assiniboia SK, 2nd Jake Knelsen, Swift Current; Junior Dragster class – 1st Hayley Vipond, Swift Current, 2nd Rayce Schultz, Swift Current.

 

The latest in a series of free bi-weekly events in southwest Saskatchewan to celebrate Canada 150 and cultural diversity in Saskatchewan took place at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current, Aug. 12. This show featured performances by Regina interdisciplinary artist Chancz Perry and Swift Current dancers Tintu Sebastian and Pearl Munim. The Southwest CultureFest is organized by the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre to promote inclusion and to build stronger community relationships. The next event in this festival series takes place at the Lyric Theatre on Aug. 26. There will be a dance show by singer Jebunnessa Chapola and the SARGAM Bengali Performers as well as a performance by Iraqi-Canadian spoken word and hip hop artist Ahmad Majid. Admission is free and the show starts at 7 p.m.

 

Producers had an opportunity to learn more about the organic research projects at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Swift Current Research and Development Centre during a tour of organic field trials, Aug. 9. The tour leader was Dr. Myriam Fernandez, a research scientist at the Swift Current Research and Development Centre. The tour included visits to three ongoing trials as well as two new trials that were started this year. The three existing trials are tillage systems for organic crop production to determine the impact of different intensity and frequency of tillage operations on weed control; the influence of allelopathic cover crops and their residues on soil quality and growth as well as the spread of perennial thistles and other weeds; and the effectiveness of the bioherbicide Phoma macrostoma. The two new trials are the evaluation of intercropping as an organic cropping option in the semi-arid Brown soil zone of western Canada; and an evaluation of the use of cover crop mixtures or continuous relay cropping to improve productivity and sustainability of organic systems in the Brown soil zone.

 

The Eliza Mary Doyle trio concluded their western Canadian tour in Swift Current with a performance at the Lyric Theatre, Aug. 3. The band's lead vocalist Eliza Mary Doyle, a former Swift Current resident, is also the banjo player for the popular Saskatchewan blue grass band The Dead South. Doyle's hectic touring schedule will continue into the fall, as she is playing with The Dead South at venues across Canada, the United States and Europe. The Prince Albert band The Wolfe made their debut at the Lyric Theatre stage on Aug 3. This all-female trio was one of the top four finalists from more than 2,000 entries in the 2017 CBC Searchlight competition. The Wolfe appeared at the Lyric Theatre as part of their Can You Hear Me summer tour across central and western Canada.

 

An event to celebrate Métis culture and heritage took place in Swift Current, Aug. 3. The Métis Culture Camp was hosted by the Art Gallery of Swift Current in partnership with the Swift Current Museum. The camp was located on an open site next to the  Battleford Trail Ruts municipal heritage site in the city. In the morning the camp participants took part in a departure ceremony at the heritage site for a group of walkers who were leaving on a 18-day walk to Battleford. There was a full program of activities at the camp in the afternoon. Red River cart craftsman George Fayant of Regina presented a workshop on the history and construction of the cart. Camp participants learned different dances from master Métis jigger Yvonne Chartrand of Vancouver and they listened to stories by aboriginal storyteller Joseph Naytowhow of Saskatoon. Live music was provided by Phil and Dallas Boyer of Saskatoon. Camp participants had an opportunity to ride on a full-size Red River cart built by Armand Jerome, a Métis master cart builder in Manitoba. Tracey Bickford of Prairie Percherons supplied a horse and drove the cart. This cart will become part of the Art Gallery of Swift Current's permanent collection as a culturally authentic Métis artifact.

 

A departure ceremony took place in Swift Current on Aug. 3 for a group of walkers on a 18-day walk to Battleford. The ceremony took place at the the Battleford Trail Ruts Municipal Heritage Site. Speakers at the ceremony included walk organizer Hugh Henry, Métis elder Cecile Blanke, and Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges of the Swift Current RCMP detachment. Some of the people at the ceremony accompanied the walkers to the outskirts of the city and along the initial few kilometres of a gravel road. The walk was organized by Swift Current resident Hugh Henry, who is the vice-president of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society. The walk will closely follow the route of the historic Swift Current – Battleford Trail, which was an important trade route between the two communities from 1883 to 1890. Only a few walkers, including Henry, will complete the entire distances. Some of the walkers who started in Swift Current will only go halfway while other walkers will join the group for a day or two along the route. The walk will conclude with an event at Fort Battleford on Aug. 20.

 

Visitors to the Doc's Town Heritage Village in Swift Current had an opportunity to experience the traditional art of blacksmithing during a blacksmith hammer-in at the William Ball blacksmith shop, July 30. This annual Made by Hand event at Doc's Town included an exhibition of hand-made quilts by Linda Duclos of Admiral in the old church building. Special programming takes place every Sunday afternoon at the heritage village, which is located at Kinetic Exhibition Park. The buildings at Doc's Town are open from 1-5 p.m. from Friday to Sunday as well as holiday Mondays until Labour Day. Upcoming events include hymn singing at the church on Aug. 6 at 2 p.m., a line dance party at the Airmen's Billet on Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. and a country music jam session at the Airmen's Billet on Aug. 13 at 2 p.m.

 

The third in a series of free bi-weekly events in southwest Saskatchewan to celebrate Canada 150 and cultural diversity in Saskatchewan took place at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current, July 29. The Southwest CultureFest is organized by the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre to promote inclusion and to build stronger community relationships. This event featured performances by the Creeland Dancers from the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation and the Swift Current progressive rock band The Moon Runners. Tinto Sebastian danced during a brief appearance at the event to give the audience a preview of her upcoming performance at the Southwest CultureFest events in August. The next two events in this festival series takes place at the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre in Shaunavon on Aug. 11 and the Lyric Theatre on Aug. 12, with both shows starting at 7 p.m. The performers at both these events will be Tunde, the African warrior (a West African dance fusion project) and Tinto Sebastian, who will perform Bollywood and traditional Indian dances.

Young musicians had an opportunity to perform on stage in front of an audience at the Lyric Theatre, July 27.  The Blenders summer concert concluded the weeklong Swift Current Music Camp for musicians between the ages of 13 to 18.  The students were able to learn from experienced musicians during the week with sessions on listening, techniques, performing, theory, group dynamics and stage presence that will help them to get ready to play in a contemporary band. The camp activities took place at Maverick School, the Lyric Theatre and outdoors at Gowan's Grove on a farm near the city. Canadian singer-songwriter Dagan Harding spent the final afternoon of the camp with the students and he also performed that evening at the concert. The ambient alternative rock band Bears in Hazenmore was the opening act at the music camp's summer concert, July 27. Band members were instructors at the Swift Current Music Camp. Four music camp bands performed at the concert.

 

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