EMCA – Focus on Local Artists – Issue #29

September 2014

The Winnipeg River Arts Council features Eastern Manitoba Concert Association (EMCA).



For over four decades, the Eastern Manitoba Concert Association (EMCA) has presented professional entertainment, providing a venue for talented artists and enriching cultural life in Eastman.

The idea originated in the laundry room of a Pinawa apartment block. In 1971, two young mothers, Yvonne Oldaker (ballet tutor/examiner) and Joyce Hart (formerly with Winnipeg Art Gallery) met while folding diapers. Both lamented the loss of their previous artsy lifestyles. To fill this gap, they decided to hire artists to perform in Pinawa. Neither had money, but they agreed to risk it.

The first concert, a quartet, was held in Kelsey House (now Wilderness Edge) and sold enough tickets to convince the women to continue. A second concert, at F.W. Gilbert School, featured Winnipeg dancers. A third event showcased George Swinton (artist and historian) and was allegedly held in Pinawa Public Library.

The EMCA formula is simple: quality concerts and a rewarding volunteer experience. It has hosted hundreds of Manitoban, Canadian and international artists. Winners of Junos, Prairie and East Coast Music Awards and even Grammy and Oscars have appeared on the Pinawa stage. Some examples: Buffy Ste. Marie, Leona Boyd, Ian Tyson, Stan Rogers, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Natalie McMaster.

With volunteer production and local sponsors, EMCA gives Eastern Manitobans A-list performances at affordable prices. Subscribers come from Pinawa, Lac du Bonnet, Whitemouth, Seven Sisters, Powerview-Pine Falls, Beausejour, Nopiming and Whiteshell Parks.