Friday night my wife Michelle and I had the pleasure of attending the RHCPA’s 5th Anniversary celebration. Debby Boone was performing, and as usual it was a great evening of entertainment. The event caused me to reflect on what our beautiful theatre has meant to our town over the past 5 short years. In his opening comments before the show, Michael Grit, our theatre manager said, that on some days it seems like it was yesterday that the theatre opened and on others it seems like the theatre has been here forever. I have to agree.
I have attended events and performances at the theatre many times over the past 5 years. My personal favourite performances at the theatre were: the Opening Night Gala (what an exciting evening), Dala (beautiful voices and great original music),Valdy (OK, I love his music and what a great down to earth Canadian icon),Ken Taylor (the Canadian Diplomat during the Iranian Crisis – what a thought provoking presentation), Jesse Cook (I saw him twice – the energy in his music is unreal), Kevin Fox (a cellist that inspired my son in his cello playing and took the time to chat with him after the show – what a great experience), Jazz in the Plaza (a real fun summer evening outside the theatre in the plaza), Hal Holbrook (a great theatrical performance of Mark Twain), Quarteto Gelato (fun upbeat energetic music), Linda Eder (a great Christmas concert featuring a talented choir from our very own Alexander Mackenzie High School), The Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra’s Tribute to the Beatles (excellent musicians are living in our community), George St Kits Love Train Revue (I became much funkier after that show), Ethan Russell (great photographer who photographed many rock icons over the years including The Who and the Rolling Stones).
The RHCPA has become the epicentre of arts and culture in our community. It has hosted big names, smaller names, drama productions, community productions, high school productions, and community events. Our theatre has provided a venue for not for profit organizations to raise money, it has provided a space for visual artists to proudly display their work, it has drawn tourists to our town, it has been the venue for thought provoking presentations, it has been the home to many, many dance recitals and competitions, and it has even provided elegant and catered meeting space for various groups in our community. It has been the venue for a number of festivals including the 5 Senses Festival, and Heritage Village Day, and even some private corporate events. Whenever I attend the theatre I always go home entertained, a little smarter, and more cultured, but I also recognize that it is a place where our whole community comes together. It provides a space to share entertainment and art, with neighbours and friends. Some of whom you have not met, but all share an interest in a particular performer or artist. The bottom line for me however – the RHCPA is about enriching our cultural heritage and it is a place that we have built to strengthen our fellowship and community one show at a time.
Like Michael Grit our theatre manager, it is also hard for me to imagine a time when the theatre was not there, but I know that today the arts have a place to call home and our culture is enriched because of the wise decision by our council and staff, more than 5 years ago to build this facility. I have been to many productions at the theatre and I have sat in many of the seats – all are the best seat in the house.
Congratulations to Michael Grit and his whole team for making our theatre a beautiful facility that is the home to the arts culture and community in Richmond Hill!