Saanich honours winners of inaugural arts and culture awards

Margaret Bachman, St. Luke's Players, Mike Geric Construction and Sheila Blake recognized for contributions to the arts

Coun. Vicki Sanders and Jenny Waelti-Walters

District of Saanich councillors, directors and staff held a private tea and reception before publicly recognizing the inaugural winners of the Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Awards on Dec. 5.

Margaret Bachman (Unsung Hero) and members of the St. Luke’s Players (Cultural Stewardship) were at council while the other two winners, Mike Geric Construction (The Art of Business) and Sheila Blake (Individual Lifetime Achievement) were absent due to illness.

Each are given an original print, framed in glass, by artist Jenny Waelti-Walters.

The awards were created by the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee, chaired by Coun. Vicki Sanders.

Bachman was given the Unsung Hero award for kickstarting Saanich’s Music in the Park series 10 years ago, though it’s been three years since she was last on the organizing end of it.

“I’m very humbled by this award. I share it with my entire committee, they were stellar,” Bachman said.

The series mirrored a similar program in Brentwood Bay. Bachman wanted to start it in Saanich, and with a team of go-getters, they turned it from a three-series event at Rutledge Park into a much larger summer affair at several Saanich neighbourhood parks throughout the summer. Music in the Park is now funded by the Saanich Legacy Foundation, and includes food vendors, local crafters and artisans at the events.

“We had a vision for it, myself and a few friends,” Bachman said. “We didn’t have music-promoting experience, we just said, let’s get off the couch and do it, and we made it happen.”

At first, she thought she’d fund it herself, but as the vision grew, it was clear the community would have to chip in. Among the key supporters was Jim Bates of Lumberworld, who provided the materials to build the stage. Locals Ron and Betty Otke are also key as they matched donations to help Music in the Park grow.

“It was the business community who made it a reality. I went to many businesses and asked them for help and they wrote cheques, they funded a dream,” Bachman said.

The awards also honoured the St. Luke’s Players theatre group, which are now in their 68th season, with the Cultural Stewardship Organization award. St. Luke’s has run a successful theatre operation out of St. Luke’s Cedar Hill Anglican Church, ‘promoting and nurturing the arts’ with grassroots theatrical productions.

Jane Guy is the vice-president of the St. Luke’s Players board, and accepted the award on behalf of the group.

Total membership for St. Luke’s is about 180 people with an active group of about 30 each show.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t want to be on stage but they love being part of the organization. They’ll help as stage managers, with props, sets, lighting, sound, or selling coffee, tea or tickets at the front of house,” Guy said.

For the use of the St. Luke’s facility, the theatre group shares 80 per cent of profits.

“It’s a very good relationship, it gives us a home, and we’ll hang this award in the church.”

Saanich’s Mike Geric Construction won the Art of Business for its work supporting arts and culture through the decades. Current head of the company Ed Geric was ill and did not make it to the reception.

Among the developer’s many achievements are its work with the Saanich Heritage Foundation, and its work to prepare a Heritage Revitalization Agreement for the Royal Oak Schoolhouse which was built in 1885.

The Lifetime Achievement award was given to Sheila Blake, who’s lived in Saanich since the 1970s. For 50 years she’s taught, mentored and organized art and cultural activities that showcased the talents of countless Saanich residents, Sanders said. Blake brought dance into Saanich schools and organized dance and music events throughout the Greater Victoria region that are still being offered today.

The Next Gen youth award was not awarded, as there weren’t any nominations. Sanders said the Arts, Culture and Heritage Awards will be awarded at least once a council term but will not be an annual event.

 

Just Posted

International Astronomy Day lands in Victoria

Activities run April 27 at the Royal B.C. Museum and Observatory Hill

Gardeners can stock up for spring at Saanich’s Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Spring Plant Sale runs April 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Harbour of Hope reaches $100k fundraising goal to help refugee families

Organization aims to cover the families’ living expenses for a year and beyond

French for the Future event to host 300 students in Victoria

Victoria event welcomes students from Greater Victoria and Vancouver

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

Most Read