All eyes were on Saskatchewan Express at the Sizzlin' Summer Firehall Fundraiser in Englefeld, Sunday, August 21.
The group of young performers, ages 15-18, gave two stellar performances in the village's arena at the event organized to help raise money for a new firehall, and brought spectators from as far away as Regina, Meacham and Kelliher to see the group's last show of their summer tour.
Although the polished performers were the main draw for the fundraiser, the volunteer firemen had brought out a vintage red fire engine as well as their newer model for viewing, and Fire Chief David Regie gave the children water-spraying demonstrations with the fire hose.
The idea of doing the fundraiser was the brainchild of five women from Englefeld, including Lani Best, administrator at the village office, and Kathy Winand, whose son Patrick is one of the performers in Saskatchewan Express.
For Winand's son Patrick, performing in his hometown was a great way to end his season with the troop. The 17-year-old student is off to university in Regina this fall to study music and education after two summers with Saskatchewan Express.
He took a few moments before the show to talk to the Journal about his experience this summer.
"You make a lot of friends that you want to keep when you do a show like this together," Winand said, "and the people who worked with us - we had eight or nine people teaching us - were really great."
Winand explained that it had been quite stressful for him during rehearsal period because he had to travel to Regina every weekend while he was finishing his school year and preparing to write his Grade 12 exams.
"In the end I think I did better," Winand said of the results of his exams, "because I knew I had to try harder to keep up with the workload."
Before the show, visitors who came to support the project had a chance to bid on items in a silent auction, or enter their names for draws, or to simply make a donation to the volunteer fire department. The volunteer firemen were happy to discuss the plans for the new firehall. The proposed 60' by 40' building will have three doors and room to house the main pumper, a tanker, and an emergency vehicle.