On Friday night, my wife and I went to a variety show. I have never been to a variety show. This show is unique. It is a fund-raiser for the Beverly Heights Community League. This year the theme is “We’re Still Here” playing off the Mayan Calendar running out of Written by Tamaray Curtis, Jason Grilo and Lily Becker, the show moves well and all actors (amateurs all) are quite good. The costumes and make up are really well done and the sets are excellent. The band features keyboards, bass guitar, lead guitar and drums and are very good. They’re timing is great and they all sing back up to all songs and some leads. I cannot repeat the jokes here as I remember laughing but also drinking heavily. I could never do them justice.
The Variety Show is written, produced, directed, acted, sung, played and viewed by the citizens of Beverly Heights since 1970. Every year is different and the job of putting the show on has now passed on to second and third generations. It is funny, outrageous, witty, happy, rude (but hardly crude) and wonderful all at once. It is also about being entertained and that we were. We were entertained by those on the stage and those we came with. We brought our own snacks and sat at long tables. Rarely is the house not sold out.
For the uninitiated, the City of Edmonton is a collection of Community Leagues. Edmonton has the distinction of being the first city in Canada to adopt the idea of community-based organization in 1907, however the original concept had its roots in the City of Rochester, New York; then called the ‘Social Centre Movement’.
When I grew up it was the Community League building was where the skating rink was located. Today, in 155 communities in Edmonton, it still is. They also have a far greater responsibility to the community than being “the rink shack”. They are the hall that you can rent out for an event, the playground your kids play at and then there is the programming. It really is the centre of the community. We didn’t have a variety show.
The Community of Beverly Heights is unique. Beverley was a coal mining town that Edmonton amalgamated as it expanded back in 1961. It rests on the east side of the City. If you didn’t know it was a town before, you would just think it was another regional commercial area. Look deeper. Beverly still retains some of its uniqueness that Whyte Avenue (City of Strathcona until 1912) or Stony Plain Road west of 149th street (Town of Jasper Place until 1964) also have. If you were a student at a High School and were from Beverly, you were one of the “Beverly Boys” or a “Beverly Girl”.
It was good fun with good friends. Highly recommended…can’t wait for #44!
Show runs Feb 22 – Mar 23, 2013.