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This article was published 15/5/2017 (1664 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Things are heating up with the announcement of plans and performers to open and close the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg
After two years of planning, officials said Monday there will be over 500 performers involved during the opening and closing ceremonies for the multi-sport games, which runs from July 28 to Aug. 13.
The games will welcome over 4,000 athletes and coaches from across Canada and is expected to draw more than 20,000 visitors to Manitoba.
"We're so excited. This is the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games, the 150th birthday party for Canada and this is the largest centre where the Canada Games have ever been staged. It gives us permission, if you will, to have a fantastic, epic opening ceremonies," said Patrick Roberge, producer of the opening and closing ceremonies.
Game co-hosts Treaty No. 1, Treaty No. 3 and the Métis Nation represented by the Manitoba Métis Federation, will play a special role, with traditional indigenous culture incorporated into both ceremonies.
The opening ceremony on July 28 will be held at the MTS Centre with the theme of We Are Canada to celebrate the unique quality of a national games which brings athletes from all corners of the country.
"There is an electric moment sharing a moment in time. That's what we are hoping that people will come out and experience," Roberge said. "That moment when those athletes hit the stadium floor, no matter what team they're from, the energy is electric. That's what we want people to celebrate, that collection of whether you're cheering on an athlete or you're there to just celebrate the games in general. There's something special about sharing that moment in time."
He said the Canada Games can be the beginning of prominent careers for athletes, but it is also the pinnacle of careers for other athletes.
The opening ceremony will be set to the backdrop of winter giving way to summer with rays of sunshine over a prairie horizon, which ties into the game's slogan, "The hottest summer in half a century."
Roberge said the whole community will come together over the course of the two-hour show with dancers, singers, acrobats, puppeteers and indigenous performers joined by alumni from past Canada Games and other sports celebrities.
Musical headliners for the opening ceremony include Ontario’s Serena Ryder, Québec’s Coeur de Pirate and Winnipeg’s own Juno-award winning Bros. Landreth, who will perform with a youth chorus from Studio Works and young dancers from Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
The closing ceremony, dubbed Grand Summer Party, will be Aug. 13 at Investors Group Field to wrap up the games and pass the torch to the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
Roberge said it will be a collection of Manitoba's festivals in one venue that will "fill the stadium with colour and dance."
"We're taking the whole stadium and turning it into a festival site. We've partnered with all the big festivals of Manitoba — folk fest, Folklorama, Festival du Voyageur, the country fest — all coming together to do a big celebration," Roberge said.
The two-hour show will also celebrate the natural beauty of the province and call attention to the vibrant culture of Winnipeg.
Perennial favourite Fred Penner and Manitoba star fiddler/singer-songwriter Sierra Noble are among the local artists on the bill, while Alberta’s country music sensation Brett Kissel will play at a party for the athletes.
Athletic events will also be held in Gimli and Kenora.
Roberge said rehearsals are underway for both ceremonies, but there is still an opportunity for the public to be involved.
"We're putting together a mass choir that's going to sing the national anthem at the closing ceremony. We call it the Canada Games Gold Choir. If you'd like to participate, there's still time," Roberge said. The performance will be under the direction of Neil Weisensel.
The deadline is May 31. Interested singers can go to https://www.manitobasings.org/singers-wanted-blog/2017/5/3/canada-summer-games-gold-choir for more information.