I’m a musician and over the years I’ve worked in theatres, churches and some of the best concert venues throughout Kingston and the surrounding area. Since its opening, The Isabel Bader has been my main home, as a member of The Kingston Symphony, but I still spend a good amount of time at The Grand Theatre, St. George’s Cathedral, Chalmers United, The Octave Theatre, Grant Hall and a variety of different venues in and out of Kingston with other projects.
As a performer, I can say that The Bader is certainly a gift to our city and a place where I love to perform. Based on the nearly constantly sold out seasons the symphony has had since its opening, I think it’s safe to say that audiences feel the same way. However, there are certainly benefits to other venues. The Octave, for instance, offers a much more intimate experience for concert and theatre-goers, and a far more accessible and affordable venue for individual performers and companies putting on the shows. When it comes to church venues, of which we have plenty in ygk, sometimes they are the best and most appropriate place to catch a performance by a local choir or chamber orchestra. The acoustics allow for less interference of microphones and speakers and lead to a more natural performance. There aren’t many places that aren’t churches where a singer can belt out an a capella tune completely un-mic’d and be heard by the whole building.
So, while I know we have a quite a few performers residing in Kingston, and, I hope, reading Kingstonist, this poll question is for audience members – and that should cover musicians too since we also love to be on the other side of the stage. Accordingly, we want to know:
The best venue for enjoying the performing arts in Kingston is:
- The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (49%, 580 Votes)
- The Grand Theatre (31%, 369 Votes)
- The Octave Theatre (12%, 147 Votes)
- Sydenham Street United Church (5%, 58 Votes)
- Grant Hall (2%, 20 Votes)
- Chalmers United Church (0%, 5 Votes)
- St. George's Cathedral (0%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,181
This isn’t about pitting venues against each other. Different venues have different things to offer – all of which can be beneficial to certain types of performances. The venue can completely change the type of performance you are about to see. I have seen bands I love in The Grand and enjoyed it because it was big and loud there was clearly some money behind the show. But I have also seen the same band play in a small bar downtown where the intimacy and the audience vibe made the show one of the best I’ve attended. Large or small, new or old, every venue has its great and not-so-great qualities. Tell us which venue you chose and why.
Photo credit to Queen’s University.