For years as a child Thomas Tumbach sat in the audience in awe watching international performers grace the stages in Summerland and Penticton.
He was inspired to study music after he watched percussionist Bill Usher at a Children’s Showcase performance in the 90s. Now the father of four is taking his turn to get on the stage that inspired him.
“At that time you didn’t see a lot of diverse music or international performances. It expanded my ideas of what was possible as a musician and artist. It definitely opened up my eyes to the possibilities of what could be done,” said Tumbach.
“It is really neat to play for a group of people that I used to (belong to when) sitting in that audience. It is a real honour.”
Tumbach will get his chance to pay it back as part of the musical headliner for the next Children’s Showcase performance. He is part of a newly formed group, The Super Cooligans, who will be performing a one hour extravaganza of local talent on Jan. 12 in Penticton to celebrate the Children’s Showcase 30th anniversary.
“I really enjoy performing for kids because they are so excited about music, especially when you can interact with them,” said Tumbach.
Children’s Showcase is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing professional quality live entertainment to the South Okanagan four times a year. Tumbach learned as a youth through the Children’s Showcase that music is to be shared with all age groups together. It is a philosophy he still carries today.
“By incorporating the family, what you have is all of a sudden the parents are really interested and they want to be more a part of it. When the kids see their parents taking part in music, subconsciously it shows the kids that it is OK to have fun as an adult and to enjoy some kind of artistic thing with your family,” said Tumbach. “I really appreciate the fact all of the hard work the Children’s Showcase has done to provide an avenue for performers and to provide something for the children as well as their parents to enjoy together.”
The Super Cooligans are under the leadership of Bobby Bovenzi, known around Penticton as the rhythm specialist and African drum guy.
“The Super Cooligans are about showing kids it is OK to be shy, its OK to take a chance and if you are a little scared it is alright, but to go for it. We want kids to find their inner talent and express it,” said Bovenzi.
The prospect of joining the band and performing for the Children’s Showcase spurred on lead singer Yanti Sharples-Rowland to write a few songs like The Big Mud Puddle and My Twirling Dress which will be premiered on Jan. 12. Joining the Super Cooligans on stage are Milan Starcic (rhythm guitar), Chris Ward (bass guitar) and Thomas Hunter (drum kit). Bovenzi said they will bring a variety of genres of music that are energetic and have lyrics that make it easy to sing along with.
Sharples-Rowland fell head over heels with the community of Naramata and relocated with her husband to the village about 10 years ago. She has performed solo, developed several shows encompassing both jazz and musical numbers, sings with the Naramata Choir, Soundstage Productions as well as branched out to other genres. It was at a family oriented summer music camp, Jam Camp, where she learned to play the ukulele and a seed was planted in Bovenzi to create a show for the Children’s Showcase.
Special guests include Cheline Lacroix (dancer), Jenny Moon (mime/clown), Warren Hooley and Austin George (positive hip hop artists) and Jake and Damien Evans (urban dancers).
Moon warmed to the idea of performance as a child while visiting Granville Island market and seeing various buskers there. As a teen she was insecure and waited until post-secondary to take acting classes that she said changed her life.
“Clowning reminds people to play, and to be silly and to be in their hearts. I hope that my clown can remind people of their own clown, their ability to laugh, to connect and to play,” said Moon.
After years of acting classes she found one particular art form, clowning, allowed her to connect with others and be moved by the work.
“I clown because it makes me feel alive. It propels me to pay such close attention to the present moment and to be affected by what is going on around me,” said Moon. “I want to make people laugh and help people to connect with their own vulnerability. It’s something that everyone can relate to. My sense of humour is one of my greatest tools in my life. I carry it with me everywhere I go.”
The Super Cooligans, along with special guests, perform at the Cleland Theatre at the Penticton Community Centre on Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available at the door on the day of the show. Advance purchase tickets are only available in the form of a season ticket. One season series ticket is $40 and will provide admission to the three remaining shows including The Super Cooligans (Jan. 12), Peter and the Wolf with Figura Theatre (Feb. 9) and Robin Hood with Dufflebag Theatre (April 27). Season series tickets can be purchased at Tumbleweed Gallery in Penticton or The Beanery Coffee Company in Summerland.
A Penticton and District Community Arts Council grant has made The Super Cooligans show with Children’s Showcase possible.