Dallas Smith sings during the country-themed “One Night in the Valley” fundraiser for Variety, the Children’s Charity, at Cloverdale Agriplex on April 27. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

YEAR IN REVIEW: People who entertained us in Surrey in 2019

A look back at some notable musicians, actors, filmmakers and other artists

Brotherhood, an all-male hip-hop dance crew that got its start at a Surrey church in 2011, stepped up its game to win the Vibe Dance Competition in California, among other accolades. The crew was also featured on NBC’s World Of Dance TV show.

For a spring show at Surrey Art Gallery, artist Omer Arbel cut several sections of a large, cone-shaped concrete slab he created with the help of a “giant fabric sock” at his studio in Vancouver – the same process he used to design a unique family home in the Hazelmere area of Surrey.

A Surrey-area family was the focus of Because We Are Girls, a heart-wrenching yet hopeful movie that documents the sexual abuse of three sisters who grew up in Williams Lake. One of the women, Cloverdale resident Jeeti Pooni, led the effort to have the movie made by Baljit Sangra, to shed light on the issue and also protect and empower girls today, including her daughters. The movie was screened at several events in Surrey in 2019.

In April, Langley’s Dallas Smith filled Cloverdale Agriplex for “One Night in the Valley,” a first-time fundraiser at the venue for Variety – the Children’s Charity. More than 300 people each paid up to $249 to attend the event, which raised more than $155,000 to help kids with special needs.

The band Our Lady Peace, along with Bif Naked and others, rocked Surrey’s big Canada Day event in Cloverdale, during one of Canada’s largest July 1 celebrations.

For a time, Shannon Hall was a place for the Cloverdale Concerts series that kicked off with a “Blues & Roots BBQ Kickoff Bash” featuring Steve Kozak Band on June 1. A popular show by The Hip Show and Fo Fighters tribute bands followed, but the concerts had stopped by summer’s end.

Marnie Perrin, artistic director of Surrey International Children’s Festival, focused on the other end of the age spectrum with View From a Window, a play that “seeks to connect the generations through an exploration of the myths, realities and joys of growing older.” In October, the touring show played Surrey City Hall’s Centre Stage theatre.

Surrey-raised Fred Peabody, an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose credits include All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of the I.F. Stone, told the story about how he interviewed John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their famous hotel “Bed-In” for peace in the spring of 1969.

An estimated 45,000 concert-goers filled Surrey’s Holland Park for the two-day FVDED in the Park music festival, headlined by Khalid, Zedd and other R&B, hip-hop and dance acts. Weeks later at the same park, Nigerian Afro-pop artist 2Baba and Indian-Punjabi singer Sharry Mann played Surrey’s free Fusion Festival.

In February, a real-look cabin was built at Surrey’s Joe Brown Park, in the Panorama Ridge area, for four days of filming of Supernatural, the television show. “They spent nearly $120,000 just building it, not including the cost of filming and other costs,” said James Monk, the City of Surreys’ film liaison.

Rick DeBanks’ video of a wild Surrey house party he attended 30 years ago went viral on Youtube. The 33-minute film shows a house full of rocking teens and young adults ringing in the new year at a residence in Newton. “It’s a time capsule, for sure,” said DeBanks, who added the “Surrey BC House Party Dec 31 1989” video to his Rick Richards account on July 3.

Early in 2019 there was a Joni Mitchell buzz at Surrey Arts Centre, where the musical Circle Game was staged in a reinterpretation of her music, followed weeks later by a start-to-finish performance of her classic Blue album by Merideth Kaye Clark, in another Surrey Spectacular series show.

Surrey-based actor James Yi has developed a special relationship with Kim’s Convenience, both on stage and television. This year he earned a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for his role as store owner Appa in a theatre production of Ins Choi’s story, and Yi also has a recurring role on the hit TV show.

Raised in the Green Timbers area, Cole Stevenson has become Merkules in the rap world. Today, he makes songs heard by millions and tours to far-off places, after getting his start years ago at the old Olympia bar/restaurant on King George Boulevard – a place he called “the 8 Mile of Surrey.”

The night of Dec. 11 was a special one for Surrey-based filmmaker Gigi Saul Guerrero, whose debut feature film, a horror-thriller called Culture Shock, had its Western Canadian premiere at Vancouver’s Rio Theatre. Guerrero has made a career of scaring people with her movies and also as a longtime creator of Fright Nights, the Halloween-month attraction at the PNE.

For his sitar-playing skills, CBC Music named Surrey’s Sharanjeet Singh Mand among Canada’s top 30 classical musicians under the age of 30. “It’s a milestone in my life,” said Mand, who moved here from India in 2014. “And it’s the first time an Indian classical musician has been on the list, and that should open so many doors for other musicians, other ethnic musicians. That is something I’m really happy about.”

Artist Alex S. Yu, whose studios is in Guildford, created a dress made of toilet paper for this year’s Cashmere Collection event in Toronto. Early in the year, it took him about two weeks to make a dress inspired by Martin Margiela, a notoriously reclusive Belgian fashion designer.

In November, Mike Browne and Scott Hemenway, creators of the Surrey-based Dark Poutine podcast, were featured at a Vancouver festival devoted to such digital-audio adventures. They recorded the 100th episode of the crime-focused podcast, which is downloaded nearly 100,000 times a week at darkpoutine.com and other platforms.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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