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Lucie Bernadette Bellemare paintings at the Eptek Centre in Summerside

by Michelle René Sexton

At Last the Day is Coming by Lucie BellemareArtist Lucie Bernadette Bellemare. Lucie’s art was displayed in January in the gallery of the Eptek Art & Culture Centre in Summerside in a solo exhibition called Doors, or The Woman from Away.

Upon entering the gallery, a large painting of blues—navy blue, blue, light blue, turquoise, white, and a splash of peach (“Bathing in the Ocean”)—grabbed my attention. Mixed with blues is a silhouette of a woman (a common theme in Lucie’s art) reaching out, as if surfacing from the depths of the ocean.

“Bathing in the ocean is a healing process. It’s when you get in and out of the ocean and the feeling better afterwards,” remarked Lucie. “This painting started in the summer and I felt the colors. I put it away for three years and rediscovered it, the same spirit. I finished it so I could move on to another project.”

Bathing in the Ocean (detail) by Lucie BellemareThe color of each painting is vivid and eye-catching. PEI sand and rocks make their way into a few paintings to give a distinctive texture. Some works are three-dimensional with skeleton keys, antique doors hung on paintings (doorways to the galaxy; your soul), antique door knobs, and key holes.

Each painting has a message. Poetry and words written in French fit into the theme, such as “J’Attend,” which means “I’m Waiting.” Poetry and music are very influential parts of her work, as is the message of being a woman.

She is a woman “from away,” and has moved to an unknown place to follow a dream. “It’s not easy to know yourself better if you’re always sticking to what you know,” says Lucie, who moved here with her three children from Quebec. “If you want to know yourself better and grow, you have to leave the safe place and seek the unknown.” This is true if you really look at her paintings.

When asked about her artwork Lucie explains as best she can in English how the art speaks to her. In her painting “At Last the Day has Come” Lucie does not remember how she created it. “It just came to me and I painted it!” she exclaims. She then explained how art is something she’d always wanted to do since age five. “I can explain myself through my art. The spirit paints. It’s like a bridge and crossing from away. Being a woman who has to open doors that she doesn’t know is there. Re-finding yourself as a woman and not let the past bind you,” says Lucie.

To reach Lucie: call 902-854-3171; see; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

It was hard for me to choose a favourite painting. Each one spoke to me differently, and I found the exhibit to be unique, motivating, and captivating.

We are the Champions

College of Piping Pipe and Drum Band are North American champions

by Michelle René Sexton

Piper Jessica vanOuwerkerk While associated principally with Scotland, bagpipes date back to biblical times. “It’s an instrument capable of expressing great sorrow and great celebration,” says Scott MacAulay, director of the College of Piping. In Scotland the pipes were used to terrify their enemies in battle because no one could see a person coming, all they heard was the music. Also, the pipes were once outlawed by the English because they motivated the Scots’ passion to fight and win.

The drums can either make great music or great noise. It is when you combine the bagpipes and the drums that the power of the pipe band is achieved.

The College of Piping’s Grade IV pipe band is well aware of the power the two instruments have, and they used both to their full advantage by taking home a great honor this past summer at the North American Championship in Maxville, Ontario. Twenty bands from all over the world (Belgium placed second) competed, with most other bands made up of older, more experienced players. The College of Piping, who took eighth place last year, and is made of teenagers; both boys and girls swept every category winning first place in Grade III. “We were surprised. We thought we had maybe sixth place. Then we cried, and people we didn’t know were like hugging us,” smiled Jessica vanOuwerkerk (piper). Jessica, Alli Walker (piper), and Ashley Brockway (drummer) are a few of the girls in the once dominated male band.

“When you play the pipes everything else in the world goes away,” said Jessica, age fifteen. Talking to the girls about winning made them smile. “No one else understood why it was such a big deal to us, but we were like this is a big thing,” laughed the girls. The entire band became a giant family. They ate together, practiced together, and even went to school together. There were no favorites just hard work and practice…lots of practice. When asked what made them win the three girls answered together “hard work and discipline.”

Speaking to their new drum leader Jeremy White and pipe leader Matthew MacLaine agreed. “Before it was too relaxed and now it’s hard work. I wanted them to have the best. I told them they could win but they would have to work for it. It’s a job you don’t show up just to show up,” said Jeremy. In the end what makes this piping band so incredible is the heart and soul hard work from all the kids; ages eleven to seventeen and the coaches who came out on top to win a tremendous victory. The next stop for this group is Scotland. “We’re going to freaken Scotland,” smiled Alli Walker. “That is like so cool.”

All New, All Good

by Michelle René Sexton

Change is good. When asked what’s changed since moving the location of the Heritage Pub, owner, Denton Gardner simply replied, “everything.” The transformation is also obvious to everyone who’s been from the old pub to the new pub, and feedback is positive. The most expressed comment was, “it’s not in that dungeon anymore.” Everything about the pub has changed; large windows in front, more light all around, colour on the walls, and there’s an elevated stage for the live bands to stretch out on.

For the restaurant, breakfast served on weekends will start on Wednesday, and the dinner menu has added a few more items. “We turn tables three times as much now that we have more exposure on the main drag,” replied manager, Derek Thompson. The restaurant is also very kid-friendly with crayons, paper, and even a toy box. When asked about the food one patron mentioned being disappointed she was late for breakfast and had to eat lunch instead, but declared it was a “great lunch.” Other patrons replied with the same response about how good the food is.

The atmosphere on weekends is all about dancing and having fun—a mixed crowd listens to a DJ play music on Fridays and the dance floor is full, but the energy is extra charged on Saturday when the pub invites live bands to rock the terra cotta walls wild. The live band is the focal point on a main stage higher and bigger than the previous. Patrons as far as Tignish come down to hear music and dance. “The liveliness of the band makes us want to rock out,” said one girl. “Yeah, but the dance floor could be bigger. We all kinda bump into each other,” giggled another. Laughter and constant talking between friends echo through the larger bar, and breathing room is abundant compared to what it used to be. And the bar is open everyday: Monday, Tuesday and Sunday until midnight, and Wednesday-Saturday until 2am, so check it out and have fun.

When asked what other changes will be made to the pub, Denton said, “We’re going to add a sports bar upstairs that will sit sixty to seventy people, a patio, and who knows what else.”

So, whether you want a great meal or a fun night out the Heritage Pub offers what you are looking for. Oh, and bring the kids.

The Plot Thickens

Cast members of My Big Fat Wedding Crashers, back row from left: Justin Doiron, Tarky Whitlock, front row from left: Heather MacIsaac, Alicia Altass and Matt StewartFeast Dinner Theatre

Review by Michelle René Sexton

Food, laughter, music are rolled into one hilarious routine, played by a small group of young, talented actors. This is what to expect during an evening at Feast Dinner Theatre at the Brothers Two Restaurant in Summerside. My first dinner theatre was Summerside Night Live, which was a cast made entirely of rookies. “With respect to the new cast, I’m loving it. It’ll never compare to being part of an all-rookie cast of six people like it was back in June and lasting all summer, but since this new cast is so experienced, everyone brings something incredible to the stage,” replied Justin Doiron.

True to bringing the audience into their performances, I was chosen as a suspect (SNL) in the disappearance of Alec, his girlfriend Marianne stopped by my table saying she was keeping her eyes on me, and I seemed suspicious because I was seen talking to him. During the four course meal of garden salad, mussels, main course (beef, salmon, or chicken), and strawberry shortcake for dessert, Marianne stopped by my table eyeing me. The plot thickened when guests tried to figure out what happened to Alec while his friends continued with the show. In the end, big wig Lorna McGraw kidnapped Alec and put him in the trunk of her car.

The fall production, My Big Fat Wedding Crashers, was just as entertaining. The Harvest Buffet was delicious and mocked Thanksgiving dinner. This time my friend Joyce was chosen and sung to by Sparky, the Best Man in the wedding. The talent is apparent as the routine starts to take form when two single, flirtatious women crash the wedding reception. They’re asked repeatedly how they know the bride or groom but always side-step the question. A mystery comes up as the wedding presents and guests’ jewelry disappear. Of course, Paulie, the wedding planner thinks the wedding crashers are guilty. Everyone suspects everyone while singing fun, upbeat songs and mingling with the audience.

I won’t give away who did it, because being curious will make you take the family to the theatre to see for yourself. The acting is timed perfectly, and the improv techniques are quickly used when audience members throw something different into the mix. “We’re a very experienced group with about thirty feast shows under our belts. We’ve got a lot of strengths in a lot of different areas. I’ve been lucky to discover dinner theatre as a means to develop my skills. The experience you gain ‘working in the trenches’ of dinner theatre world is invaluable. You are literally inches away from the audience, “ replied Matt Stewart, actor and director.

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Fräulein Klarinette

Piano and clarinet recital at UPEI’s Dr. Steel Recital Hall January 26
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January 25–28
City Cinema 14A, coarse language, nudity, mature subject matter
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