Celebrating Community and Creativity

For years, the Fernie Arts Theatre Ensemble Society has brought captivating plays to the public, celebrating community and creativity, often relying on grants from CBT’s Cultural Alliance program to make these productions possible. Typically, attendees purchased tickets to enjoy these performances. However, this year marked a departure from tradition as the society arranged for dinner and a play, fully sponsored and free to the public.

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, more than 125 individuals gathered for a delightful evening. Starting at six pm, guests savored a scrumptious dinner featuring lasagna, salads, fresh buns, desserts, juices, and coffee, followed by the eagerly awaited play, “New Beginnings.” The theme of the play aligned with the criteria set forth by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors grant, emphasizing the experiences of seniors.

“New Beginnings” showcased a talented cast led by Orlan Weber as retired architect Edward Wilson and Barbara McFarlin Kosiec as his wife Rita, a retired public school art teacher. Nicole Zathey portrayed their daughter Kirsten, a clinical psychologist, while nine-year-old Amelia Powell charmed the audience with her role in the production. Written and directed by Barbara McFarlin-Kosic, the play unraveled the story of a retired couple embarking on a new chapter in life, only to encounter unexpected twists and turns. From fishing misadventures to political aspirations, the narrative explored themes of adaptation and resilience.

Intermission featured captivating performances by local vocalist Jael Wong and the talented Lindsay Valance, who mesmerized the audience with a rendition of George Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm.”

The event was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL). Celia Roccamatisi, one of the organizers, shared insights into the preparation process, highlighting the community spirit that infused every aspect of the evening. Barbara McFarlin-Kosiec’s proactive approach to securing funding through the New Horizons for Seniors grant ensured that the event could be enjoyed by all without the need for ticket sales.

The evening wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of numerous individuals and organizations. Special thanks are extended to Barbara McFarlin Kosiec, Dave O’Haire, Gabbie Escobar, Alex Hutton, Andrew Brown, Holy Family Parish Office, Rosanne Anselmo, Fernie Printing Co., and many others who lent their support.

As the curtains closed on “New Beginnings,” it was evident that the power of collaboration and creativity had once again brought the community together in a celebration of art and camaraderie.

By Mary Giuliano

Mary arrived in Fernie in May of 1953 and has lived here ever since, by choice, because she loves the Elk Valley and everything it stands for. Read more from Mary here.

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