Submitted by Anne Jardine
An original musical theatre production in celebration of our local heritage will be presented at Pynelogs Cultural Centre from Wednesday, March 11th to Sunday, March 15th.
The Visionary and the Ghost of Pynelogs portrays the life and times of Robert Randolph Bruce, his romance with Lady Elizabeth Northcote, and the story of her famous ghost.
The entertaining show features eighteen original songs composed in the style of a Victorian/Edwardian operetta and performed by a talented local cast of nine.
The storys leading man, Randolph Bruce, was born in Scotland. He was drawn to Canada by the mining boom, attained his metallurgy degree at McGill, and then came to the Rockies where he fell in love with the Windermere Valley. He bought the Pair-o-dice claim in 1900 and it soon grew to be a productive mining operation. He employed over a hundred men to work the mines seven shafts. Towns and villages in this part of the Columbia Valley grew up as service points for the mining industry.
Agriculture in the valley was developed in large part because Bruce and other mine owners needed a cost effective way to feed their miners. This led to a settlement plan to bring in farmers and ranchers to grow produce and livestock so that foodstuffs would not have to be shipped in at great expense.
As an early land developer of the Columbia Valley, Bruces poetic enthusiasm for this landscape has never been equalled. His gorgeous 1912 brochure extolling the beauties of this valley remains one of our most remarkable historic publications. Many settlers were enticed to come here in response to Bruces vivid descriptions of this place. He collaborated with CPR, selling land for farms and orchards, thus settling the region and establishing a local economy, river and road transportation, and East Kootenay commerce. Even though his irrigation system was not reliable, and many farms did not flourish, Bruce is considered to be a visionary pioneer of this part of the province. His expansive personality, as well as his mining industry and CPR connections led to his appointment in 1926 as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.
Tickets for the musical are $25 on sale at Pynelogs, Tiffanys Thredz, and Radium Bighorn Gifts. For each night of the performance, doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. and ending around 9:30 p.m. An intermission will take place between two acts, each roughly 45 minutes in length. A Sunday matinee will start at 2 p.m.
With permission from the Windermere Valley Historical Society, The Visionary and the Ghost has reprinted a souvenir 2015 edition of the historic booklet featuring beautiful artwork by Canadian impressionist artists Frank and Caroline Armington. It will be on sale for $20 to help fund the theatre production.