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Brian Sklar
Music
2024 ARTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Brian Sklar was born and raised in Prince Albert. One of Canada’s most awarded country music performers, Brian Sklar has built a reputation as a world-class entertainer in Canada, the United States and Europe. His credits include 43 albums, numerous chart singles, and over 350 network and syndicated television shows.

 

Live performance credits include multiple appearances at the world-famous Calgary Stampede, telethons in virtually every province and state of the union, and headliner status at world-class events such as the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo, the Swiss National Exhibition, the world's largest country jamboree in Mirande, France (130,000 people) and the Canadian National Exhibition, plus guest appearances on the Grand Ol’ Opry and the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.


Sklar’s television series, CTV’s Number One West, has won a total of six national awards for excellence. The show features Sklar and his Band, with a headline guest each week from the Grand Ol’ Opry, as well as appearances by notable Canadian country recording artists. Sklar’s group, the TEX PISTOLS, is a throwback to the days of country superstars like Ray Price, Faron Young, Bob Wills and the Sons of the Pioneers. The band’s originals sound like Nashville 1965, and in some cases, Texas 1933. The group's trademarks are Nudie-style rhinestone suits and interaction with the audience the way entertainers used to in Las Vegas in the 50s and 60s.

 

In the '90s a young fiddler named Donny Parenteau joined Sklar's television family. He went on to tour with Neal McCoy for 12 years and has now settled back in Prince Albert, along with his family. He has three JUNO nominations to his credit and several Euro tours over the past few years. Sklar and Parenteau have joined forces to produce Fiddle Frenzy, a stage show featuring fiddle standards, stories about growing up Metis on Prince Albert's West Flat and on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River. The show is currently on the road and the fiddlers have a new CD, called Fiddle Frenzy, available for sale at their live shows and on this site. Brian Sklar and the Tex Pistols are an extremely entertaining trip back to the future; yesterday’s classic country played with today’s energy.

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Darcy Blahut
Literature

2024 ARTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Darcy Blahut has been a citizen of Prince Albert for almost 25 years. During a hiatus between programs of study, he was introduced to the city as a Katimavik project leader, a time during which he became familiar with this city’s generosity and people—its volunteer and non-profit network, its educators, community leaders, host families, and the wealth of its natural environment. As an early poet, it was then that Darcy was introduced to the Sans Nom writers’ group, which had received support from the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Although Mr. Hicks passed away before Darcy arrived in Prince Albert, Lynda would often comment how much the two would have enjoyed each other’s company—as they appreciate the traditional and experimental both.

 

Darcy completed his academic studies in philosophy and returned to the city to establish a life—to set roots down, to marry, and to begin a career. He would go on to produce three full-length collections of poems, a collaborative book of both prose and poetry, as well as chapbooks. While more visibly and audibly a poet, in and amongst these works he would take furtive tangents into children’s stories and long fiction, producing short stories and novel as, drafting two stage plays, and collaborating with a host of international composers.


Like John Hicks, Darcy would consider his work marked by private and religious experience, though often transcending this in later movements to take on more directly the causes of social justice: the use of art against Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine, the use of art to call attention to issues of endemic poverty, and the use of art to promote the diversity of common goods of a democratic society. He says, “Consider poetry as a form of public service. If it can be distilled down to anything essential it would be becoming a (more human) person—a better neighbour, a better friend. If poetry can guide us to this end, then it is not an entirely useless form of art and never entirely dead.”

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Lana Wilson
Builder
2024 ARTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Lana Wilson is a remarkably committed arts educator, manager, and administrator in Prince Albert. In fall 2024, Lana will have been employed at the Mann Art Gallery (MAG) for ten years. In her role as Manager of Education Programs, she has developed extensive visual arts programs and built relationships with a diverse range of people. Through her vision to connect with communities, Lana is building a meaningful future for citizens of Prince Albert, opening paths for people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and mobilities to have lifelong appreciation and engagement in the arts.


The foundation of Lana’s ability to build the arts in Prince Albert is through her heartfelt communication that is driven by openness and curiosity. As Lana learns about others’
backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences with the arts, she is able to understand local needs and interests, and then develop programming with this knowledge. Just as she prioritizes learning from other people, Lana believes that making art and talking about art helps our community to better understand the world around us: from regional concerns, histories, and cultures; to global issues, developments, and artistic movements. Lana has brought this highly relevant approach to her education programs at the MAG, taking significant steps to do away with classist and colonial histories of galleries.

 

Lana’s contributions to Prince Albert are driven by generosity. She takes on numerous
responsibilities with exemplary thoughtfulness to the short- and long-term needs of the Mann Art Gallery and attention to local artists and communities. Every day, she opens up paths for people to be comfortable in galleries, offering creative experiences that explore artistic ideas and stimulate understanding of the arts. For this, Lana should be celebrated.

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Prince Albert Concert Band

Music
2024 ARTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

The Prince Albert Concert Band is the oldest cultural institution in the city, predating the
founding of Prince Albert. Before the age of amplification and mass media, the band was the communities’ main source of music for entertainment and social events. Over the years it has gone through several rebirths as members come and go. In the 1970’s and 80’s the band was led by Michael Scholfield and David Monette. For that period of time it held rehearsals in the basement of the city hall.

 

The most recent period of their history started in 1996 when Robert Gibson became the
conductor. Under Bob’s direction the band developed a regular season of concerts and playing engagements including performing at Remembrance Day events, Christmas Concerts, Prince Albert Winter Festival, Spring Concerts, and providing music for Decoration Day services. Bob retired from the position in June 2015. Kathleen Clarke was the band director from 2015 to 2017, followed by Nicole Webb and Erika Rybinski, who shared shared the band director job in 2017- 2018 and Kayleigh Skomorowski, who was the band director from 2019 to 2022. Shannon Fehr is excited to begin her second year directing the band for 2023-2024.

 

The band has, in recent years, partnered with organizations including the Prince Albert Children's Choir and Prince Albert String Orchestra, as well as regional groups such as the Tisdale Concert Band and Stobart Drummers. It has also performed in care homes for Christmas and in local schools to foster a lifelong appreciation for music. It routinely provides musical accompaniment during Remembrance Day and other events in addition to putting on two to three concerts annually.

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