Dekker Centre plans to showcase local talent

Local talent will be the focus of a new initiative announced this week by the Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts.

To be held March 5 and 6, On Stage at the Dekker Centre will be a showcase for performing artists from the Battlefords and area. It will feature exceptional emerging talent, woven into a cohesive production centred on the theme “Home.”

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A volunteer committee is organizing the showcase and local musicians Dianne Gryba and JoAnne Kasper have been persuaded to come on board as producers. Gryba and Kasper, as artistic directors, have presented a number of shows at the Dekker Centre since the 385-seat facility opened in September of 2012.

Auditions will be held Jan. 7 and 9 on the main stage at the Dekker Centre to select performers.

Board chair Karen Ulmer notes part of the Dekker Centre’s mandate is to encourage and foster local artists. In 2015, the Rawlinson family made a generous donation to the Dekker Centre, which has made possible the creation of the showcase. It is anticipated that it will become an annual event.

To book an audition time, volunteer to help the committee or for more information about On Stage at the Dekker Centre, email your questions to

When the Raise the Roof committee kicked off its fundraising campaign in June of 2010 with a flurry of announcements, several groups and organizations were on hand for the launch, which was broadcast live on radio across the region. The kickoff included announcements of naming rights in perpetuity for two of the four components of the CUplex.

The first major announcement came from David Dekker, then general manager of what was known as Rawlco Radio in North Battleford. The Northwestern Radio Partnership (CJNB, Q98 FM. 93.3FM) had, back in 2006, made a pledge of $1 million to the multipurpose facility, which included $500,000 in cash and $500,000 in promotional support for the fundraising effort. Dekker announced the company had also secured the naming rights in perpetuity for the theatre component.

The centre is named in memory of Harry G. Dekker, the longtime broadcaster in the Battlefords who together with his wife Christine hosted “The Double Dekker Breakfast Club” on CJNB Radio.

“Dad loved radio and the wonderful people who made it happen here. He loved his family. He was born here and the Battlefords is home to four generations of Dekkers dating back almost 95 years,” David said.

“The Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts will be a lasting legacy for a man who was recognized as playing a key role in helping to make the Battlefords such a great community to live, work and play.”

Harry's wife, veteran Saskatchewan broadcaster and female radio pioneer Christine Dekker, was in the audience as her son paid tribute to his father, whose career in broadcasting spanned 63 years. Christine has since passed away at the age of 82.

In April of this year, the Dekker Centre was the scene of David's retirement party. It paid tribute not only to Dekker’s radio career but his service to the community.

Among those who attended was Gordon Rawlinson, longtime owner of the local stations in partnership with the Dekker family, who announced a major contribution of $50,000 to the Dekker Centre in David’s honour.  

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