"Yes Virginia!" A Concert for the Whole Family

Media Release: November 10, 2014
Westben's "Yes, Virginia!" and new Pre CD House Concert

1.The Clock Tower is ticking with concert bands, choirs and a new Pre School Program, but will soon also be the venue for a Pre CD House Concert on Saturday, November 22, 7 pm. "House concerts are usually small, unique venues or in a private home," says Westben's Marketing Director Donna Bennett "and when Ken Tizzard approached us to say he thought the Clock Tower would be a great venue for a House Concert, we whole heartedly agreed." So welcome to a "Pre-CD Tea" featuring Ken Tizzard and Donna Bennett & Brian Finley. Ken, Donna and Brian will talk about the creative process as they share songs from upcoming recordings: Ken's "No Dark No Light" and Donna & Brian's "Up & Adam!" It's a Pay-what-you-can, enjoy the music and a cup of tea! The Clock Tower Cultural Centre is located at 36 Front Street in Campbellford. Please call (705) 653.5508 or visit www.westben.ca for more information.

2.Westben is also presenting a concert for the whole family called "Yes, Virginia!" on Saturday, November 29 at 1 pm (The Barn), Sunday, November 30 at 3 pm (The Barn), Saturday, December 6 at 3 pm (Norwood United Church) and Sunday, December 7 at 3 pm (St Andrew's United Church, Peterborough). Linda Kash brings favourite letters of Christmas wonderfully to life in Westben's ever-popular seasonal choral celebration. Joined by Westben's Festival, Teen & Youth Choruses under the direction of Donna Bennett, with Brian Finley at the piano "Yes, Virginia!" is a 75-minute narrated concert perfect for the whole family based on favourite Christmas letters edited by Mackenzie Cameron. Is there a Santa Claus? Find out the truth! "The Barn is a magical place to see a concert in the winter," says Westben's Marketing Director Donna Bennett. "It can be cold like a hockey arena but has a very warm, seasonal atmosphere. We decorate it with bows of pine and cedar, serve hot apple cider and homemade cookies. Dress warmly and bring a blanket and you'll have a wonderful time," says Westben's Donna. Mackenzie Cameron is a 19 year old student, former Westben Teen Chorus member and aspiring playwright. She first met Linda Kash as a participant in Linda's Improvisation classes at PAPA, the Performing Arts School that Linda founded in Peterborough. Mackenzie has been working with Brian Finley on the script and there may even be some surprise improvisations happening in this concert.

Biography on Actor Linda Kash:
Linda Kash began her professional life at the Second City in Toronto, where she performed, directed and conducted workshops for four years. She has appeared in a number of plays, films and television shows throughout Canada and the US. Linda performed in "At The Hotel", which won her a Gemini Award. She was also nominated for a Gemini for her work in the Canadian series "Robson Arms". As well Linda has been a guest on "Seinfeld", "Third Rock From The Sun", "Cybill", "Everyone Loves Raymond", "Ellen", and "Sabrina". She can also be seen in Cinderella Man, Man of The Year, Waiting For Guffman and Best in Show (nominated for a Canadian Comedy award). In 2011 Linda worked in Budapest playing the role of Molly Brown in a mini series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. She also directed and co wrote the show Push, which ran at Tarragon Extra Space in May. Linda has co created several shows for TV including talk show, "Go Girl!" and "The Joe Blow Show", which she also directed. Linda has taught acting workshops for over two decades and recently opened a Performing Arts School called PAPA. Linda is best known as The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel (a successful campaign that ran for 16 years) but her proudest work to date is her family. Linda lives on a farm outside Peterborough.

New Production of Little Match Girl Messiah

Westben Media Release:
October 22, 2013

Local Rock Musician, singer songwriter, Ken Tizzard, teams up with Westben's Artistic Director, Brian Finley, in a new production of their original work Little Match Girl Messiah

As well as bringing national and international performers to The Barn, Westben is known for producing original productions. Singer songwriter Ken Tizzard and classical pianist- composer Brian Finley have a new production of their original work Little Match Girl Messiah based on Handel's Messiah and Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl with performances by the Westben choruses in Brighton (November 23), Norwood (November 24) and at The Westben Barn on County Road 30 north of Campbellford (November 30, December 1). When one puts a multi-faceted rock, pop, alternative musician together with a multi-faceted classical musician, some very interesting and moving music-making happens, says Marketing Director Donna Bennett. The intertwining stories of a poor, forgotten little girl and the birth of a young, fragile baby boy set the tone for a heart warming, semi-staged concert for the whole family. Some of the characters in the story that come to life are the Goose, Frying Pan, Knife, Fork, Kettle, Ironsides, Street Singers, Little Matches and the Little Match Girl performed by Olivia Rapos and Beatrice Muldoon. Combining the Christmas choruses of Handel's masterpiece Messiah with an original musical setting of one of the most poignant of all Christmas stories, Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl, Brian Finley and Ken Tizzard have created a fascinating presentation that mixes classical and original musical worlds. The music is supplied by Donna Bennett, Brian Finley, Ken Tizzard and the 85 voices of Westben's combined Choruses. For more details and tickets visit www.westben.ca or call the Box Office 877 883 5777.

Little Match Girl Messiah
by Brian Finley & Ken Tizzard
based on Handel's Messiah and Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl
Donna Bennett, soprano
Ken Tizzard, guitars & MIDI suite
Brian Finley, piano and director
The Westben Youth, Teen and Festival Choruses

November 23, 2 pm: Trinity St Andrew's United Church, Brighton
November 24, 3 pm: Norwood United Church, Norwood
November 30, 1 pm and December 1, 3 pm: The Barn

Media Contact:
Donna Bennett 705-653-5508/877-883-5777
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.westben.ca
Facebook: westbenconcerts Twitter: @westbentheatre

The Book of Broadway

Media Release June 6, 2013              

Sunday, June 9th at 3 pm the Westben Barn will be filled with laughter and song as the Westben Youth, Teen and new B Natural Choruses present their spring concert called The Book of Broadway.  36 Youth ages 8 to 19 from Trent Hills, Peterborough, Roseneath, Stirling and Colbourne have been working since February on solos, duets and ensembles from the musicals Oliver, Les Miserables, Jungle Book, Wicked and Joseph & the Technicolour Dreamcoat and the movies Tangled and Muppets.  The New B Natural Chorus is making its debut with the 4 part singing of John Lennon’s Imagine and We are One from Simba’s Pride Lion King II. The Youth and Teen Choruses recently performed selections from Oliver in costume at the Aron Theatre in May before Westben sponsored the showing of the musical movie Oliver.  Directors Donna Bennett and Brian Finley explained that “Westben has always involved youth in the community musicals but after the musical Rapunzel in 2005 we realized we wanted to build an ongoing choir.  The Westben Youth Chorus was founded in the Fall of 2005, a year later the Teen Chorus was formed and then this spring 2013 the new Westben B Natural Chorus. We’ve never had had a Youth Chorus for changed voices before and when a young man’s voice changed it wasn’t possible to continue in the Teen Chorus.  So at the request of some of these young singers the B Natural Chorus was born.”  “It’s thrilling to see the growth in the choruses, says Bennett.  The first few rehearsals everyone is scrambling for notes and words and a few months later, they have it all memorized and are singing with pride.”

Members of the Youth Chorus: Jessica Cochrane, Lila Lynch, Lowell Smith, Caitlyn White, Mia Allanson, Teagan Burns, Kayla Christensen, Kayla Elliott, Spencer Finch, Victoria Hamelin-Giroux, Augist Milko, Abby Partington, Jessamyn Pedersen, Zoe Saito, Makeda Smith, Mackenzie Towns, Skye Towns, Esmeralda Wang-Acker, Mackenzie Ward, Alyssa West, Madisyn Wynn

Teen Chorus:  Jordan Bartley,Madison Begbie, Delaney Cameron, Mackenzie Cameron, Madelyn Clarke, Hannah Finch, Beatrice Muldoon, Hannah Myers, Taylor Russett, Bethany Spiers, Josee Stephens, Caitlyn Tizzard

B Natural Choir Luke Benjamin, Daniel        Benjamin, Delaney Cameron,

Mackenzie Cameron, Christian Hodge, Beatrice Muldoon, Bethany Spiers

Westben presents The Book of Broadway

Sunday June 9 at 3 pm at The Barn

6698 County Road 30, 3km north of Campbellford

Tickets: 1-705-653-5508 or toll free 1-877-883-5777


Media Contact:  Donna Bennett This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Westben Announces 14th Season

Campbellford, ON – The Westben Arts Festival Theatre today announced the details of the music festival’s 14th season, called Stories That Sing.  Celebrating the arrival of the Steinway Concert Grand Piano, a multi-piano-concerto Gala Weekend June 29, 20 features Robert Silverman, Brian Finley, Leonard Gilbert, Lisa Tahara and the Westben Festival Orchestra, director Daniel Warren in concertos composed by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Rachmaninoff. UBC Opera Ensemble returns in a fully staged version of Bizet’s masterpiece opera Carmen and new to The Barn is Rule Britannia!- a British Isles weekend featuring Irish Pub Night, England to a Tea and Burns to Brigadoon.  Opening on June 8 and running to August 4, 2013, Westben’s 14th season of Concerts at The Barn is held in a rustically sophisticated 400-seat theatre-barn located amidst the gently rolling hills of Northumberland County just outside of Campbellford in Trent Hills. Tickets are now on sale. 

June has traditionally been reserved for celebrating community artists surrounding Westben.  The award winning CDHS Jazz Ensembles perform their annual year-end concert highlighting the stars of tomorrow at The Barn June 8. and on June 9th  a musical storybook full of favourite Broadway moments is sung by the 40 voices of the Westben Youth, Teen and SATB choirs.  From rock bassist to composer of community musicals, Ken Tizzard offers an evening on June 15th of musical reflection on his unique journey living in Trent Hills for 13 years. From inspiring lyrical concepts to offering new perspectives on a life of music, hear how the area and its artists have influenced this colourful, creative musician.   For Kids of All Ages, there are two exciting debuts on one concert June 16th!  The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, director Michael Newnham makes its long awaited debut at the Barn with favourite musical stories for orchestra including Prokofiev’s beloved Peter & the Wolf narrated by Westben’s own Teresa Castonguay and to start the concert, Nancy Elmhirst guides the newly formed Westben Wind Ensemble in its public debut. 

Westben celebrates the arrival of the Steinway Concert Grand Piano at the Barn! This beautiful instrument is at centre stage for two spectacular concerts featuring full symphony orchestra, chorus and wonderful piano music.  Watch for details about the “Key Note” Fundraising Campaign. Westben’s Co-founders Donna Bennett and Brian Finley on June 29 are joined by Canadian pianist emeritus, Robert Silverman, Westben Festival Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Dan Warren offering a regal salute to some of the most magnificent classical music ever composed. Mozart’s—Regina Coeli, K. 108 for Soprano, Chorus & Orchestra, Beethoven’s—Choral Fantasy in C minor, Op. 80; and the “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat, Op. 73.  June 30 gets to the heart of the great Romantic repertoire for piano and orchestra with two young titans of the next generation of Canadian pianists: Leonard Gilbert (winner of the 2010 Canadian Chopin Competition) and Lisa Tahara (Doctoral Candidate at U of T’s Faculty of Music). Chopin—Andante spianato & Grand Polonaise, Op. 22, Schumann—Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 54, Rachmaninoff—Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18

Westben brims with Opera, Art Song and Broadway July 4 to 6 with the UBC Opera Ensemble performing Bizet’s Carmen, July 21 Sunday at the Opera with Richard Margison and John Fanning and July 30 Suzie LeBlanc in concert with Julius Drake. July 25, 26, 27, 28 at 2 pm dreams really do come true in a colourful review of favourite places from Broadway called Broadway Rainbows with Virginia Hatfield, soprano; Brett Polegato, baritone; James Levesque, baritone; Brian Finley, piano

New this season is Rule Britannia! A weekend of music and merriment celebrating the British Isles. Irish Pub Night July 12 brings The Dardanelles -Tom Power, Aaron Collis, Emilia Bartellas, Matthew Byrne, Rich Klaas Armed with jigs and reels, fiddles and accordions, and naturally, a keg full of toe-tapping talent, the Dardanelles are set for an unforgettable end-of-the-week party of Irish music with a Newfoundland accent! Led by CBC personality Tom Power, the group was recently nominated as Group Recording of the Year at the 2013 East Coast Music Awards. A great night of fun music complete with pre-concert barbeque and beer tent! Saturday, July 13 Burns to Brigadoon with Donna Bennett, soprano; Colin Ainsworth, tenor; Brian Finley, piano. The musical heart of Scotland!  Scotch Tasting at Intermission starting at $5 Sunday, July 14 England to a Tea: “This Sceptred Isle” David Kemp, actor/singer, Brian Jackson, piano. Enough Shakespeare, Flanders & Swann and Noel Coward to fill an English county garden full of music High Tea $15 (Must be Pre ordered 24 hours in advance)

Tuesday, July 16 Words & Notes explore stories of home and home away from home as authors Judy Fong Bates and Martha Schabas read from their work and Brian Finley performs Preludes from Rachmaninoff and from his own collection of evocative piano solos Preludes to Canada.

Friday, July 19 features artists from the upcoming Prince Edward County Jazz Festival Bob DeAngelis, clarinet, Brian Barlow, drums and Friends offer a Benny Goodman Tribute and a sneak preview of the 2013 Prince Edward County Jazz Festival.   

Saturday, July 20 in celebration of the actual 40th birthday of Westben’s Steinway concert grand piano André Laplante, one of Canada’s most revered pianists shares his spectacular interpretation of Franz Schubert’s  masterpiece Wanderer Fantasy, Op. 15.  Music of the Night Series continues Tuesday, July 23 with Viola of the Night Featuring Janice LaMarre, viola; Michael Berkovsky, piano. With repertoire ranging from Bach’s haunting Chaconne (here, for solo viola) to Schubert’s melodious Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821, this talented young Canadian violist is the recent winner of the Viola Congress’s Canadian Music Competition.

Friday, August 2 starts a weekend of Jazz & World music.   Room of Wonders  with Jayme Stone, banjo; Rob Mosher, saxophone; Joe Phillips, bass; Nick Fraser, drums Thrives on unexpected inspiration such as Japanese poetry, Brazilian literature and instruments from remote Malian villages, two-time Juno award winning banjoist Jayme Stone presents a world of fascinating musical wonders exploring everything from JS Bach to music from Mali, Bulgaria and beyond. Saturday, August 3 singer Diana Panton with Guido Basso, trumpet; Don Thompson, bass, piano & vibes; Reg Schwager, guitar.  Westben’s summer season ends Sunday, August 4 with the Finale-Fundraiser  Viva Italia!an Italian-flavoured Olé! With more than six gold and platinum recordings to his credit, Robert Michaels returns to Westben for a fabulously fiery afternoon of Flamenco fireworks featuring selections from his most recent album Viva Italia!

Food, Glorious Food!  Westben introduces new menu items to add a little refreshment to the concerts.  In addititon to Windswept Picnics, Tapas, Plougman’s Lunch, High Tea, Irish Pub Night Barbecue and Buona Appetito Platter will be available for pre order.  Some restrictions apply.Tickets are now on sale for Westben’s 14th season.

Single ticket prices (including taxes) are as follows:   

Concerts: $38 (adult) / $36 (senior) / $33 (wing) / $15 (student) / $5 (youth)

Opera & Finale: $55 (adult) / $53 (senior) / $39.82 (wing)* / $13.27 (student) / $4.42 (youth)

Piano Gala Concerts: $60 (adult) / $58 (senior) / $56 (wing) / $15 (student) / $5 (youth)

*wing seats are NOT available for Carmen or the Finale . 

CREATE YOUR OWN SUMMER SUBSCRIPTION: Pick 3 Events, Save 8% / Pick 5 Events or More, Save up to 12%!

For tickets and a complete list of performances at Westben, please visit: www.westben.ca. 

The Story Behind The Story

Media Release June 5, 2013

The Story Behind the Story

Westben’s 14th Season of Concerts at the beautiful 400 seat timber framed Barn offers Stories that Sing; the story behind the story.  Did the Wolf really eat the duck?  What does a Bassoon sound like? Why do the oboe and a bassoon sound different but similar? On Sunday June 16 at 3 pm, the Westben Barn will be filled with kids of all ages bubbling with excitement of hearing Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece Peter & the Wolf featuring the Peterborough Symphony with director Michael Newnham and narrator Teresa Castonguay.  The new Westben Wind Ensemble also makes its debut opening the concert.    Peter & the Wolf is a great work for any age, says Marketing Director Donna Bennett as it introduces the many colours and characters of each instrument to the audience.  The story is told by the orchestra and the narrator.  Westben is a great venue for introducing youth to classical music as the setting is relaxed and open.  The doors of the 400 seat theatre open onto the beautiful meadow which sits on a 50 acre farm.  Nature becomes part of the performance.  All youth tickets are only $5 for 18 years and under.  Picnics may be pre ordered through the Westben Box Office or everyone is welcome to bring their own lunch and enjoy at one of the picnic tables on the meadow.  Explore the new picnic area across the pond.  No wolves at Westben (except in the orchestra) but lots of butterflies, frogs and of course the birds who love to sing along.   More stories on Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 pm as Ken Tizzard welcomes his friends to Westben in his new show, This Town of Mine, a journey of musical reflection of living in Trent Hills for 13 years; from rock bassist to composer of community musicals. Daniel Greaves (The Watchmen), Jane archer, Janet Jeffery, Dave Mowat , Brandon Scott, Caitlyn and Cassidy Tizzard and the Variety Show Players join Ken. Visit wwwwestben.ca for tickets and information.

Media Contact: Donna Bennett,

Westben Arts Festival Theatre

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1-705-653-5508 or toll free 1-877-883-5777


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