F E A T U R E D   E V E N T

Kelowna Culture Days 2021 Kick-Off Reception

While there were a handful of events the day before, Kelowna Culture Days 2021 officially began with a Kick-Off Reception in the Rotary Centre for the Arts Atrium.

Emceed by local poet Rawle James, the event included speeches from dignitaries such as Colleen Fitzpatrick, who is the Executive Director of the Rotary Centre for the Arts, along with other notables such as Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, and Westbank First Nations Cultural Leader Krystal Lezard. Councillor Loyal Wooldridge was also in attendance.

Their dance performances, along with the narrations around the cultural origin stories behind them, were mixed with those of the Okanagan Mexican Folklore Dance Group in the Mary Irwin Theatre inside the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Leona | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography
Leona at Kelowna Culture Days 2021
First Nations Performer | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

First Nations Greeting & Performance

Westbank First Nations Cultural Leader Krystal Lezard gave a territorial welcome to start off the proceedings, which she followed with a song which she accompanied herself on using a traditional hand drum.

Colleen Fitzpatrick

The Executive Director of the Rotary Centre for the Arts extended a warm welcome to all in attendance

Colleen Fitzpatrick | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

All photos copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Rawle James | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Culture and Let Culture

By Rawle Iam James

If you cup your hand just right, you can hear the echoes of distant drums beating to a rhythm of change. As its tribal sound entices a dance between light and dark that birth’s a gentle kiss of hope. Our beauty is Okanagan because the land is rich and vibrant. The fires of possible cleanse old perceptions as smoke purifies to awaken our souls to the spirit of those who came before. And as a reminder to the air that binds the village and fuels imagination's dream.

Seeds of change float upon the four winds as each breath inhaled by the people carry the unfulfilled promises of our ancestors. And each exhaled breath an inspired piece of our essence for generations to come. An artist's vision comes to life as sculptures housed in pillars of black steel. Streets valleyed by two stories brick buildings facelifted to house the stories of everyday people.

Look around Kelowna, K-town is art in living colour. The spirit of a people blended into the fabric of life. A renaissance of the village ushering balance between days gone by and days to come. Our parks alive with strumming guitars and harmonious melodies, fruitful in unity. Singers sing songs that passion a movement of love that stirs the waters of the mighty Okanagan. The spirit, power, and grace of the grizzly bear wash upon the shore to watch over our playful souls.

Inspired words capture her beauty as art imitates life. Our culture is all around. It’s in the air, in the earth, in the mountains. It lives in our orchards, in our vineyards, in our beaches, and in our boardrooms. It can be found in our streets and homes that castle our inner art. It is reflected by numerous and joyous encounters with Ogopogo.

From Reid's hall to Carson's landing, it is the living history of the museum. The uniqueness of Summerhill's pyramid, to the tranquil roar of Gallagher canyon waterfalls. It’s the sound of laughter on our playgrounds, the cheers of the crowds at the apple bowl. To the many hikes up to Paul's tomb and back to ground zero, the sails.

Our story is still being written and we are her authors. Our hearts flow with the sounds and notes that form our village. We are her living art! The festival is Kelowna nestled under a big blue sky. The winds of change howl through the streets as we create new connections that speak and reflect the rainbow culture. Hearts filled with the spirit of the Syilx people that draws inspiration from the land and her majestic waters.

We are her guardians to her legacy. The keepers of the flame as each step reflects her inner art. Kelowna awaits with the patience of time as the village collectively composes her next symphony, pens her next poem, sings her next song, dances to her next beat, and reads from her next chapter. We are culture's mosaic!

Culture and Let Culture.

Jazz from Kelowna Secondary Music Programs

Students from the OKM jazz music program joined their teacher, Megan Frederick, in providing some jazz music during the evening.

Megan Frederick | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography
Mayor Colin Basran | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran closed out the formal festivities by addressing the Kick-Off reception crowd.

Kelowna Culture Days 2021 Dignitaries

Loyal Wooldridge, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Mayor Colin Basran, Rawle James

Kelowna Culture Days Dignitaries | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Rotary Centre For The Arts

421 Cawston Ave Kelowna BC V1Y 0B4

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