Performing arts to keep you entertained all winter long! By Taylor Shillam | Photo Courtesy of Spokane Symphony
The Inland Northwest is home to a long list of unique performing arts venues known for their ability to amaze and entertain audiences of all sizes. From Broadway shows to symphonies, orchestras and conservatories, those who love music, theater and a quality show can always find the culture they crave here.
Local performing arts are especially valuable in the ways they cultivate talent and inspire connection, allowing community members to come together and share in unique experiences—and one of the best ways to support local performing arts is to attend their events!
Whether you call the Inland Northwest home or are simply visiting for the season, you have an array of local performing arts at your disposal that are sure to keep you entertained well into the spring.
The Spokane Symphony seeks to nurture the human spirit and enhance the quality of life within the Inland Northwest community through orchestral music. After more than 75 seasons, the 70-piece professional orchestra carries tradition as the largest, most active professional performing arts organization in the Inland Northwest.
The Symphony is a nonprofit organization committed to community outreach and development. Its local outreach efforts include educational programs, student discounts and complimentary concert releases—including their annual Labor Day Weekend concerts offered to the public. The Symphony’s volunteer organization, the Spokane Symphony Associates, is designed to support the Symphony in its fundraising efforts and provide the assistance needed to support its education programs. The SSA is founded on the belief that a world-class orchestra enhances the quality of life in the Spokane area.
“Our mission is to raise money for the Spokane Symphony and provide educational opportunities for the community,” the SSA states. With over 300 members, the SSA has raised over $3.75 million for the Symphony since its inception. “In 2019, we gifted the Symphony a record breaking $450,000,” they shared. The SSA is responsible for celebrated local events like Christmas Tree Elegance, a display of breathtaking decorated trees showcased at the Historic Davenport Hotel and River Park Square.
Above all, the Spokane Symphony is known for hosting unique high-quality productions. Their 2021-2022 season includes Holiday Pops with the Sweeplings (the folk-pop duo that includes Spokane native and “America’s Got Talent” contestant Cami Bradley), New Year’s Eve with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert, scheduled in May 2022, which will feature the first-ever “Star Wars” film shown on the big screen while the symphony plays the score live on the stage.
The Spokane Symphony partners with the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox to present a long list of arts and entertainment-focused events to the community. Their complete calendar of events and ticketing information can be found at SpokaneSymphony.org.
Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox
Spokane’s Fox Theater was built in 1931 and reopened as the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in 2007. Owned and operated by the Spokane Symphony, the theater is a historic downtown Spokane landmark. Its mission to showcase local, regional and national events is carried out by a calendar of events that highlight education, culture and entertainment for all ages.
Attending an event at the Fox is a valuable experience in multiple ways—the remarkable Art Deco theater is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the Spokane Register and the Washington Heritage Register.
In addition to the Spokane Symphony’s scheduled events, upcoming 2021-2022 season highlights at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox include a three-part National Geographic Live series running from January through May, a stop on the a cappella group Straight No Chaser’s In the High Life Tour in March, and Napoleon Dynamite: The Film and a Conversation with the Stars! The April 16 event will feature stars Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries for an in-person discussion following the showing of the film. The complete events calendar and ticketing details for the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox can be found at FoxTheaterSpokane.org.
Best of Broadway Spokane
STCU Best of Broadway has now brought three decades of nationally touring Broadway shows to Spokane. Presented by WestCoast Entertainment, Best of Broadway is dedicated to providing quality entertainment experiences and spectacular events to the area.
Its events are hosted at downtown Spokane’s First Interstate Center for the Arts, formerly known as the INB Performing Arts Center. Located in the heart of downtown Spokane, the First Interstate Center of the Arts is an iconic 2,600-seat venue. Its location, along the south bank of the Spokane River, has been home to a long list of Inland Northwest productions, notably the annual Best of Broadway productions.
“STCU Best of Broadway shows this winter and spring really highlight that there’s a Broadway musical for every interest and taste,” shared Peter Rossing, director of marketing. “They’ll take audiences from Imperial Russia with Anastasia, to 1950s New Jersey with Jersey Boys, then to Oz and colonial America with Wicked and Hamilton, offering romance, intrigue, history, fantasy, and lots of great music!”
To view the complete event calendar and secure your tickets, visit BroadwaySpokane.com.
Spokane Civic Theatre
Located next to the Spokane Arena in downtown Spokane’s North Bank neighborhood, the Spokane Civic Theatre is an award-winning nonprofit community theater. Founded in 1947 and inhabiting its current location since 1967, the Civic Theatre hosts multiple stages that have produced a selection of annual events. Hundreds of young artists participate in the theatre’s long list of classes, workshops and onstage productions. The theatre will return to live onstage productions this January, with health and safety protocols set in place. “Details and policies will be communicated on a rolling basis to provide the safest and strongest opportunity for a wonderful day at the theatre,” the theatre shared.
Beginning in January, Spokane Civic Theatre will kick off 2022 with at least one production per month. Highlights of their 2022 event calendar include The Play that Goes Wrong, Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, Funny Girl, and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, known as a “plot-twist masterpiece” that has thrilled mystery-lovers across entertainment mediums of all kinds.
For additional information and tickets, visit SpokaneCivicTheatre.com.
Spokane Valley Summer Theatre
Big things are in store for the Spokane Valley Summer Theatre, with a brand-new performing arts center on the way. The plans for the $36 million facility were revealed in October, detailing a location near Spokane Valley’s Mirabeau Park that is set to become a haven for local students engaging in the performing arts, with additional possibilities for use of the space abounding.
All SVST productions are currently held at the Central Valley High School Theatre. As they wrap up their 2021 season with a Big Band Christmas on December 17 through 19, visit their website (SVSummerTheatre.com) and social media pages for updates to their 2022 event calendar. Season tickets for their 2022 productions are available now, with single tickets set to become available March 1.
Music Conservatory of Coeur d’Alene
The Music Conservatory of Coeur d’Alene works to “nurture musical talent by connecting the Inland Northwest community to musical mentors, performances and collaborative partnerships, to inspire a future generation of musicians.”
Located in the historic Hamilton House, built in 1908 for the second mayor of Coeur d’Alene, conservatory performances often carry the appeal of the musicians who once resided there. Professional musicians who inhabited the Hamilton House throughout history included opera star Florence Gregory Tiffany, Dean Elder and William Hawkins. “Inside the Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene can be found a wide variety of musical activity at any time of day,” shared the conservatory founder and director Julienne Dance. “You will hear the glorious cacophony of music lessons, solo and group singing, children's ukulele strumming, a Bach Brandenburg Concerto rehearsal with violin and viola, the ethereal sounds of flute and strings, rollicking piano duets, and delighted toddlers prancing to the Nutcracker ballet.”
The Music Conservatory of Coeur d’Alene has now been welcoming students for just three-quarters of a year. In the fall semester of 2021, they added group piano classes to their state-of-the-art piano lab, made possible by Women's Gift Alliance. Their courses include Music Theory, Ear Training and Integrative Performance Wellness, plus introductory courses to voice, guitar, ukulele and much more. With classes for children, adults, ensembles and individuals, the Music Conservatory truly offers something for music lovers at nearly any age and skill level.
Dance praises the conservatory’s experienced faculty, who shares its talent in select faculty showcases throughout the year. “The faculty is the goldmine of the conservatory and has higher education credentials and experience abroad and around the country,” she said. “It is our utmost pleasure to share what we are most proud of!”
Regular recitals and performances are offered to highlight its students and faculty. “Every third Saturday of the month features a student recital, nourishing students and audience alike,” Dance described. “Each season brings a new path on the journey of learning music as classes, teachers and students evolve. The future is bright for the Music Conservatory of Coeur d’Alene and the tapestry of music and art in our beautiful city. Come visit us!”
Look for their Friday Night Live performances beginning in January. Additional information regarding events, private lessons and educational courses can be found at CdAConservatory.org.
North Idaho Youth Symphony
The North Idaho Youth Symphony is a premier student ensemble led by some of the area's finest educators and a team of parent volunteers. For student musicians aged 10 to 19, NIYS provides professional ensemble training and opportunities through rehearsals and coaching from principal players of the Coeur d'Alene Symphony, along with students and faculty of the University of Idaho.
The NIYS orchestras perform several concerts throughout the year. Conductor Michael Harrison described the orchestras’ return to the stage in November as “joyous,” and they look forward to that joy carrying on through the winter and spring seasons.
The North Idaho Youth Symphony 2021-2022 season includes a Philharmonic Orchestra performance with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra, a Fundraiser Concert at Anthem Church in February, and their Finale Concert to conclude the season on May 9 at the Coeur d’Alene Kroc Center. Event and ticketing details can be found at NIYSMusic.org.
Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra
The Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to producing classical music for communities across the Inland Northwest, with a mission to “inspire, enrich, and commit to the highest level of artistic achievement through a shared sense of pride, education and community engagement.”
The talented musicians of the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra present several performances and events per season. Their upcoming 2021-2022 highlights include a Swords and Sabers Family Concert January 29, a Young Artists Winners Concert March 19, and a concert titled Symphonic Solace coming in May. Their full calendar and ticketing details are available at CdASymphony.org.
Music Conservatory of Sandpoint
As an inclusive, accessible school of performing arts, the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint operates with a vision to instruct and inspire musical excellence. With experienced instructors and a space dedicated to serving over 500 students, MCS seeks to support young musicians in developing and mastering their skills. MCS provides a safe and consistent environment for the next generation of artists to learn and achieve.
It has earned accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The MCS provides an array of opportunities for its students including the Music Matters! program. In partnership with the Lake Pend Oreille School District, the program provides affordable after-school classes in orchestra, choir, and percussion for various levels and age groups.
“Located in rural North Idaho, these access programs are essential to the inclusion of youth at any age,” shared Kathi Samuels of the MCS. “All are welcome at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint!”
The young musicians of Music Matters! will take the stage for their free community event on December 14. The Winter Concert will feature the El Sistema Music Matters! Youth Orchestra, percussion groups, and youth choir playing Christmas music at the First Lutheran Church. Up next in the 2021-2022 season, look for student recitals coming January 31 through February 4, a Jazz Piano Master Class in March, and April’s Music without Borders concert celebration at Sandpoint’s historic Panida Theater.
Their complete event calendar and tickets are available at SandpointConservatory.org.
The Panida Theater
The Panida Theater is a state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of downtown Sandpoint. Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the Panida presents concerts, music, live comedy and more for local and international audiences of up to 500 people. As the Sandpoint area’s premier full-feature performing arts facility, the Panida is a cherished, community-supported and mission-driven theater organization. Keep a lookout for additions to their winter and spring calendar, updated online on their Facebook page and website at Panida.org. In the meantime, any community support provided through volunteerism and donations is greatly appreciated.
Attend a show this season!
The performing arts have a unique way of bringing people together. At the same time, they celebrate history, expand perspectives and enhance the culture of their surrounding communities.
If you’re looking for high-quality entertainment near the Inland Northwest, you won’t have to look far. Across Spokane and North Idaho, an array of talent has found its home, offered in unique venues that amplify each experience. The area’s cherished historic venues are well equipped to host everything from local talent to internationally renowned Broadway productions.
Just as there are countless ways to enjoy local entertainment this season, there are so many ways to support it, whether it’s by attending a show, engaging as a volunteer, or making a donation to your favorite venue. It’s largely a community effort to help the Inland Northwest’s performing arts continue to thrive and ensure that the show does go on.
As winter makes way for spring, don’t hesitate to add performing arts to your plans this season!