MELANIE MINTY: Final days for ‘Queen’ at Surrey Museum

SURREY — May day, may day! Oh, make that May days.

I just love May. The weather is often sunny, but not hot. Flowers are blooming. Even the rain has a warmth. Mother’s Day falls in this month. I could go on.

Of course, we all recognize that "may day" is a distress call — it got anglicized from m’aidez (help me). So "may day" these events in May.

We have a new princess, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, who is the great granddaughter of our reigning queen. Well, move out of the headlines, little Charlotte, Queen Elizabeth II has been the British monarch and Canada’s Head of State for 60 years! Accordingly, Surrey Museum (at 17710 56A Ave., Cloverdale) has a feature exhibit that recalls Her Majesty’s many visits to our country through commemorative items, historical images and a quiz on royal protocol. The "A Queen and Her Country" exhibit, from the Canadian Museum of History, is on display until May 16.

You might want to get to know our museum a bit better. Interactive displays, unique artifacts and graphic images tell the stories of Surrey’s growth as a city. And you never know when you might need to know some royal protocol. The facility is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is sponsored by Friends Society. For more details, visit

The White Rock Chamber Music program is holding the final concert of its season on Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m., at Crescent Gardens Retirement Community, 1222 King George Blvd., South Surrey. Featured on the program are Trio Lumina (featuring Tracy Lott on violin, Erika Hadi on piano and Judy Oa, cello), 13-year-old Vivian Wu on piano, Cantrix Women’s Choir (conducted by Sarona Mynhardt), nine-year-old Zoe Chen on pipa and also Russian pianist Kirill Bolshakov. Everyone is welcome to watch, admission is $5. All proceeds go toward scholarships for young people in the arts, administered by Peninsula Arts Foundation.

Ellen Neal, one of the event organizers, would like to thank everyone who supports these concerts.

"Our April concert had an audience of about 120 people and about 40 of those people are residents of Crescent Gardens Retirement Community. They are a group of very gracious residents. They provide greeters, ushers, sound system people who know what they are doing and, not least of all, they offer and deliver refreshments at break. It is rather interesting that some people put in the pot more than the $5 admission fee. Some wonderful people out there." Yes, there are some wonderful people out there.

Some wonderful people out there are dance teachers. I don’t know where I got a passion for dance — I’m not particularly gifted in that area — but as long as I can remember, I have loved dancing. My sister got tap dance lessons. I didn’t. She didn’t like dancing. I do. Go figure. She was also born on Mother’s Day, and you just can’t ever make that up. But look who is dancing now. Me!

May 25 is International Tap Dance Day. But my way of thinking, there are a lot of days in May and one day is not enough to celebrate this particular dance art. The West Coast Tap Dance Collective will help you celebrate Tap Day (it is really an international event) by hosting a tap dance workshop on May 23 at Dance Express, 4247 Lougheed Hwy., Burnaby. Everyone who can tap is welcome – kids and adults. Advanced beginner is at 3:30 p.m., and intermediate is at 4:30. Cost is only $10 for WCTDC members and $15 for everyone else.

I know there are many passionate tappers out there on this side of the river. Don’t miss this opportunity. The workshop is being led by Aaron Tolson. Don’t recognize the name? Tolson performed with Riverdance for about six years. In 2006, Aaron began working with longtime friend Derick Grant on Imagine Tap!, a Chicago-based show that would become the subject of a featurelength documentary, titled Tap or Die.

Aaron is currently on faculty with Broadway Dance Center in New York City and is the director of Tap2You, a travelling workshop series. Well, what are you waiting for? Reserve your spot now. Email the collective at

Meanwhile, Surrey Art Gallery, now celebrating 40 years, welcomes proposals for UrbanScreen. The deadline isn’t until June 15, so you have plenty of time to discover just what the project is all about.

Imagined by artists and built by the City, Surrey’s UrbanScreen is Canada’s largest non-commercial outdoor urban screen dedicated to presenting digital and interactive art. Surrey Art Gallery invites proposals for site-specific and responsive artworks for exhibition on Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre’s west façade, at 13458 107A Ave., Surrey. Proposal guidelines and more information can be found at

UrbanScreen uses high-powered data projectors to illuminate the entire west wall of the recreation centre with imagery generated by computers. Since its launch in 2010, the gallery has curated and partnered to present a rotating program of exhibitions and events at UrbanScreen during an annual season, which runs from September to May.

Beginning 30 minutes after sunset and ending at midnight, UrbanScreen is seen by visitors to the recreation centre and adjacent youth park, as well as SkyTrain passengers travelling between Gateway and Surrey Central stations (30,000-plus people daily). With the support of federal funding, equipment will be renewed this summer so the venue can continue to present innovative art after dark. Cool. And so fitting that May days mark the end of the Urban Screen season. Just too many daylight hours after May. This art show is only good after dark. So even May days are not perfect for everything.

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