Performing Arts Society Sounds Off on Success!

The Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society (FPPAS) presented before Cranbrook City council,

touting its involvement in community programming over the last year, opening with a little ditty performed by Jamie Neve (guitar), Randy Tapp (saxophone) and Doug Mitchell (guitar).

Maureen Frank led the group’s presentation afterward, highlighting the growing popularity of Summer Sounds, which provides live entertainment at Rotary Park every Saturday night during the summer months.

But the society is active with many initiatives other than Summer Sound, such as Dancing in the Park, ‘Peak’ music festival, Sam Steele Talent Showcase and more.

The society says economic impacts include sourcing local products and services for programs, paying local artists and technicians, while downtown businesses benefit from having an inclusive social environment.

Frank said collaborations, grant funding and sponsors, effective marketing, fundraising, memberships and donations and passionate and hard working volunteers are key for the group’s success.

And it’s not just events for locals.

The group told council that a couple from Alberta who have a summer home in Wasa chose to come to Cranbrook for a Summer Sounds evening, forgoing a trip to Edmonton for a blues festival, while an American from Texas reached out to the society because he was planning a trip to the area and wanted it to coincide with a Summer Sounds concert.

The society doesn’t receive municipal funding, but is pitching the city’s involvement as part of the 2019 Song of Success, which lays out future goals and action items.

“We hope that this will change and that we can continue our programs, bring the community together, and contribute to the vibrancy of our downtown core,” said Frank.

The Song of Success priorities include municipal funding support and recommending full application amounts to Columbia Basin Trust funding streams. Other aspects include a presence on the city website and improvements to Rotary Park such as increased washroom maintenance, picnic tables and recycling containers.

Mayor Lee Pratt welcomed discussions on how the city can lend it’s support for future events and programming.

“I can tell you this, throughout the summer and at council meetings, once you got going with the performances on Saturday and we saw them growing — the last one I went to, I’m sure there were well over 600-700 people there,” Pratt said. “We discussed numerous times at council that this is a great thing you’re doing there so I think if you’re looking for support and funding, you’re not going to have a problem.”

Coun. Norma Blissett praised the society for the way Summer Sounds helped with community building.

“One of the really big benefits is building community because you get that large grouping of everybody in town, it’s free, it’s an easy place to meet and you don’t even have to clean your house,” Blissett said. “It builds community and I think it really highlights the social aspects of Cranbrook and being downtown, and that’s been a real service, so thank you.”

Next up for FPPAS involvement is the Fisher Peak Winter Ale Series, a partnership with Fisher Peak Brewing Company and the Key City Theatre that hosts performances in the lobby of the building. The Winter Ale series includes a local performing act which opens for a more well-known headliner.

The first concert will be held on Jan. 16, with Alphonse Joseph opening for Calgary’s Dave McCann and the Firehearts.