Dala Delights

On Thursday night, a large, appreciative audience at the Sun Valley Opera House was treated to a night of beautiful music, courtesy of the award-winning Canadian duo Dala. Comprised of best friends Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine, and armed only with guitars and a piano, Dala wowed with intricate harmonies and angelic melodies.

Dala during the sound check

Dala during the sound check

Dala came to the Wood River Valley courtesy of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ performing arts series. The Center’s Kristine Bretall, Director of Marketing and Performing Arts, said their artists really enjoy playing the historic Opera House. “The acoustics are very good and the room has a lot of personality,” she explained.

The sound for the concert was rich and round, so much so that when Amanda and Sheila started to play during their sound check, I literally held my breath. Their gorgeous voices and authentic lyrics go straight to your core.

For sound worthy of the musicians’ talent, thank members of Sun Valley’s Entertainment division. Jay Cutler and his team spent three days getting ready for Dala’s performance. “The Opera House is a multi-use theater,” explained Jay. “But the sound systems are entirely separate for films and for live performances. For concerts, the acoustics are outstanding and the room is tuned for low frequency. It really is state-of-the-art.”

Jay Cutler manning the sound check

The view from the sound booth

The Opera House, built in 1937, is a 340-seat venue, offering an intimate, unique experience.  From the high ceilings to the one-of-a-kind waterfall curtain, the theater is anything but a cookie-cutter auditorium.

Dala talking to a group of high school students

Dala talking to a group of high school admirers

When it is only two voices on stage and storytelling is of utmost importance, as was the case with Dala, sound matters – a lot. Their music is very intimate and they use what they call “every tool in their arsenal” to create it.  This includes a lot of dynamics, eye contact with the audience and plenty of collaboration. The young women shared their process prior to last night’s concert with a vocal class at Wood River High School during a workshop that was a part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ education and outreach programs. Students were treated to a private performance of numerous songs and asked the singer/songwriters many questions.  The overriding message to the class was “take risks.” The artists used their song Levi Blues to illustrate the discussion.

Friendship, family and heritage featured heavily into the evening performance and the audience hung on Amanda and Sheila’s every word — words made crystal clear by the hard work of the behind-the-scenes Entertainment team.

Opera House facade

The historic Sun Valley Opera House

If you have never been to a concert at the Opera House, put one on your schedule.  Sit back, close your eyes, appreciate the great acoustics and the wonderful old-school ambience.

Sun Valley Center for the Arts will present Matt Andersen, blues man extraordinaire, at the Opera House on January 23, 2013.  He is sure to rock the house.




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