Sunday Feature: Horst Jassmann honoured in surprise evening at Creekside Theatre

After 16 years as manager at the Creekside Theatre Horst Jassmann goes out in style

Horst Jassmann (second from left)

He may have thought he was going to exit quietly.

But after 16 years of delighting Okanagan audiences with an eclectic array of performers at the Creekside Theatre, theatre manager Horst Jassmann received the send-off that he was due earlier this month in a surprise evening honouring the first and only manager to this point at Creekside.

Jassmann was honoured at Creekside with a night featuring many of his favourite performers and to an appreciative crowd of theatre-goers ready to honour Jassmann’s incredible efforts.

It was a fitting tribute to a career at Creekside Theatre that began when Jassmann was hired out of the lower mainland to come and open Creekside Theatre, the quaint, 230 seat theatre that over the past 16 years has hosted a wide-ranging number of events brought to the area by Jassmann.

“When I look back at my time as mayor, I look back and think we made a lot of mistakes, but one mistake we didn’t make was hiring Horst Jassmann,” said former Lake Country mayor Bob McCoubrey, who told the tale of how Jassmann came to be the first manager at Creekside.

“We were a brand new municipality and had just gone through the rebuilding of George Elliot as a joint use facility. By the time we finished it we had run out of money. We asked around to find out what we needed to make this (theatre) successful and people told us you need somebody that understands music, somebody that understands drama, that understands how a theatre works, understands lighting and sound. They said we would need two or three people but we only had enough money for one. Horst was the only guy that had all of that experience.”

As the story goes, when Jassmann  arrived in Lake Country, fresh from organizing theatre events in the Vancouver area, he inquired as to the budget to start bringing in acts.

“We said there was no budget,” recalled McCoubrey. “A lot of guys would have packed up and gone back to the city but Horst being the kind of guy he is, he just put his head down and got to work.”

And got to work he did, creating the kind of theatre that is a rarity nowadays: A true community theatre home to a wide variety of events from music to plays to all-candidates forums to talent shows. Jassman mentored students from George Elliot, introducing them to the arts and how to run a theatre.

The partnership between Jassmann and Lake Country was a perfect fit over the years. After being honoured, Jassmann spoke and true to form, he credited the community of Lake Country for all of its support.

“Sometimes when you are doing these things you feel like you are all by yourself,” he told the crowd. “But over the years so many people in this community have come forward and offered their help and been part of what’s gone on here on the stage. It just makes you feel like your part of a family and I’m sure glad I landed in Lake Country. This is some family….some family that takes care of all the artists.”

One man taking it all in that night was Ryan Donn, who has the daunting task of replacing a beloved theatre manager in a roll that will also include other duties in the district. Donn says he has no plans to change what Jassmann has built but instead wants to continue the legacy he laid down.

“He truly took this theatre from no budget, nothing really other than an empty shell and created something quite unique in the community,” said Donn, a performer himself who has been working alongside Jassmann for the past month as the shift to a new era takes place. “It was quite amazing to see and hear just how much of the community he touched over his term. The weight on my shoulders just kept growing.”

It’s clear in talking to Donn that the new era might not be all that different from what folks in Lake Country are used to when it comes to Creekside. And a familiar face may still be around backstage, rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.

“From day one of getting this job my thought has been, let’s honour his legacy,” said Donn. “I want to maintain what he has provided and then as we evolve put my own spin on it. The community wants his legacy to continue and I’m looking forward to putting on shows that Horst booked eight months ago. He made it the place it is today. And I’ve already booked him to help me.”

As for Jassmann, he urged Lake Country to continue to support the arts as it has done over his time at the theatre.

“I want you to come and see live theatre and live music because that’s the backbone of keeping entertainment alive,” he said. “When you’re in a room with a bunch of people having the same belly laugh or listening to the same tunes and tapping your feet, it just makes you feel like your part of a community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

Kelowna’s Stuart Park ice rink closes to public on Wednesday

The city said warmer temperatures are to blame for rink’s closure

Kelowna youth accused of killing 16-year-old released with conditions

The young woman was arrested on Feb. 21 and is facing one charge of manslaughter

‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

Forty per cent of sexual assaults reported to Kelowna RCMP in 2019 were deemed ‘unfounded’

West Kelowna used half of annual sand supply during two-week period in January

City said cold temperatures meant much of sand wasn’t sticking to roads

Kelowna rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Brad Pattison’s team spent 33 days rescuing wildlife

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Interior Health appoints administrator at Summerland Seniors Village

Numerous concerns raised about private seniors care facility

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

North Okanagan ultra athlete ‘hearts’ ice baths

Shanda Hill and father carve stunning creations into ice at Ellison Lake

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read