Summer In The Park

imgresHappy almost-July!

I’m rehearsing like crazy for Sum Theatre’s Little Badger & The Fire Spirit right now. (We open in 6 days.) It’s a play-through show, meaning there’s music in basically every moment of the play. It’s hard work, with a giant set-piece that has to be constructed every evening (by the cast) in a different park every night. There will be mosquitos. There will be extreme heat. There will never be a moment where I am not sweaty and tired. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had. If you live in the Saskatoon area, or are just passing through, please come and check us out. You can find our schedule- and other info- at Sum Theatre’s website: http://www.sumtheatre.com/theatre-in-the-park

 

 

So, that little show I did back in March? Just got nominated for 5, count ’em, FIVE Jessie Richardson Awards! The Jessies are Vancouver’s professional theatre awards.

“The Out Vigil”, written by Julie McIsaac, directed by Sabrina Evertt, and produced by Twentysomething Theatre, is nominated in the categories of:

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Director

Outstanding Production

Outstanding Original Composition/Sound (the music was played live by yours truly, along with Christina Cuglietta. Composed by Julie McIsaac with sound design by Jay Clift.)

I am so proud to be a part of this show. Not only was it an outstanding production in every way, but it was an outstanding experience, from start to finish. One of those jobs where you’re working hard…and it feels so good! From the early-morning exercise sessions to the cast music jams at the end of the day, every moment was a treat. Well, maybe not the pilates routine we did to Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch”… okay that too.

In other news, I am almost finished my first full year of teaching piano at Sarah McLachlan School. Holy cow, this job has stretched and challenged me on a weekly basis! It is humbling and scary and fun and I never can totally relax. Sometimes I’ll think “I’ve got this” and the very next time I feel like I’m floundering all over again. But I love it. As far as I know, I’ll be back again next year, so wish me luck! I think I’ll have it nailed… in about 20 years!

The day after I finish at SoM I’ll be flying to Saskatoon to work with SUM Theatre for 6 weeks as a performer/musician. Can’t wait. I totally love Saskatoon and I’m psyched to be back there for another hot prairie summer. I’d just better have a lot of Asian food before I go…

Making New Things

I wrote a blog post  about making new things with my partner in crime. Sometimes an idea leaps to life from the texts we send each other, or the conversations we have. It’s the best kind of magic, to create art with someone you love. I feel very lucky that I am able to do so, even when it makes our lives kind of… busy.

Last weekend we feverishly put the finishing touches on an application package we’ve sent in to Telus Storyhive, who are giving out grants to help people make a web series. I don’t know if we’ll get lucky this time, but every time we apply, our little project grows by leaps and bounds.

I’m also growing my own business: teaching accordion. When I remember to spread the word, a new person often contacts me right away, reminding me that social media is a powerful tool. What did teachers do in the days before Facebook and Twitter?

And finally, I’d also like to grow my business as a seniors’ entertainer. It’s one of the most fun things I do, and there are definitely more opportunities out there, so I’ll be expanding this site to include some more information on that side of things, so that I can hopefully get some new clients. Wish me luck! (and feel free to get in touch if you want an accordion lesson…)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Last year, I “celebrated” Saint Patrick’s Day by singing Irish songs in a Surrey bar in front of a huge, inebriated (and fortunately not hostile) crowd of rowdies. It was terrifying, but also exhilarating, as I realized that I had what it took to front an impromptu band (how many ‘bands’ are thrown together for profitable holidays like Saint Patrick’s Day, or Christmas, I wonder?).

New year, new adventures. I’m delighted to be performing in The Out Vigil, a brand-new play by a very talented Canadian playwright, Julie McIsaac. The play is full of fun challenges for a musician, including having to go from full-out kitchen party mode to still, silent listening, to quiet, intense underscoring. We (three actors and two musicians) are onstage for the entire 2-hour show, plus we perform 30 minutes of pre-show music. In short, it’s my favourite kind of work, and I’ve bonded with the cast and company- I’m really fond of all these people and our run will be over far too soon (March 26th, to be exact). If you’re in Vancouver, I urge you to check us out at the Firehall Arts Centre.

 

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Pictured: my talented musical cohort, Miss Christina Cuglietta.

Happy 2016!

Winter Alison

That’s me enjoying my winter wonderland in Kelowna during the holidays. Now I’m back in Vancouver, which is having a dangerous flirtation with… freezing fog, of all things! Every night it rolls in, coating the ground with slick ice crystals. Is it any wonder I’m longing for long lazy holiday days relaxing with the cats, or visiting my lovely family in Kelowna, which has proper snow? (Not to mention the Beer Institute.)

I’m slowly waking up to the new year, and my big resolution is to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.  I’ve had a lot of wonderful crazy things happen to me over the last few years, but very few of them were actually instigated by me. I get hired for awesome gigs, I get to work with amazing people… Imagine what would happen if I used some of my experience and knowledge and connections to spearhead my own project! It’s scary and exciting to think of the possibilities.

In the meantime, I’m pretty jazzed about the things that are already happening. This spring will see me music directing the regional premiere of Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Byrne Creek Secondary School. (High School Musical, the Alison Jenkins version.) I’ll also be appearing in Twentysomething Theatre’s production of The Out Vigil, by Julie McIsaac, at the Firehall Arts Centre, a theatre I’ve always wanted to work at. In April, I’ll be performing at Zeellia’s long-awaited album release concert. (Zeellia is the slavic soul band I play with, on and off.) And in the meantime, I’m teaching at the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, and prepping for all these fine projects to come. No doubt more will pop up as the year goes along.

Stick with me, folks. It’s going to be a wild ride!

 

 

The Reviews Are In!

So, I just did a show. It ended up being really fun. And today, several of my cast-mates are frantically cleaning the theatre because there is a wee bit of a glitter problem. Hey, that’s what happens when you do a show with a mostly-burlesque troupe. Just sayin’. Head on over to my press page to read the reviews!

 

T-Rex and the Little Surfer Boy

Several new projects simmering on the burner at the moment:

Jurassic Parody: The Musical is running at the York Theatre from November 17-21. Be sure to get your tickets now, as this show’s gonna sell out! I’m musical directing and I get to play T-Rex. Rawr.

Telus’ Storyhive project is funding a lot of up-and-coming film makers, which is always a good thing. Right now they’re holding a Digital Shorts contest, and the super-talented Jay Lyonns and I have a project entered. Stop by our page and vote for us by November 9th and help tell the story of Mundano Max, the little post-apocalyptic surfer boy!

MundanoMaxPostCard_FRONT

Hot Summer Days

I just realized- with a post heading like that, I’ll probably get all sorts of weird visitors to this site! Oh well, I get enough spam as it is. Welcome spambots, plus a few people who are genuinely interested in my music career!

I just got back from Saskatchewan after 8 weeks away. It’s good to be home, sitting here on the deck with the cat, and figuring out what to do next. First up: growing my teaching business! So if you are interested in accordion lessons, prepping for that musical audition, wanting to figure out Garageband, or basic music theory, head on over to my “Lessons” page and leave me a message.

I’ve got some more work this fall with Geekenders, the fine folks who brought you “Portal 2: the unauthorized musical”. Watch for more info about their upcoming production “Jurassic Parody: the musical”. I’ll be music directing and playing the Tyrannosaur, so watch out. Rawrrrr! And no doubt October will see me back at the Pumpkin Patch, because that’s where I like to be when the pumpkins get ripe.

Enjoy these hot sunny August days my friends, and see you around.

Alison

Going Away… and a new album!

The last 2 months have flown by, and tomorrow I leave for Saskatchewan. Eights weeks in the prairies, music directing a show at the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern. I think it’s going to be fun!

Oh, and speaking of fun, I spent the first weekend in June having a lot of fun with two of my favorite people. At the end of the weekend we had an album, which is pretty awesome. You can check it out here: https://redboot.bandcamp.com/

See you soon, Vancouver… Hello, Saskatchewan!

New Horizons: Island-Hopping & Prairie Adventures

IMG_20150307_131254352My rented electronic accordion lurks hugely in my bedroom. Tomorrow evening I will board a ferry and head over to Galiano Island to do some rehearsing with Redboot, in preparation for an upcoming gig (Thursday) and recording session on Bowen Island (this weekend). The beast, as I have christened the Roland FR8 accordion, weighs far too much, and its bellows are hard to manipulate. But it will sound sweet on our new EP.

The school season- and thus my teaching job- is nearly done for the time being. Time will tell what’s going to happen there next year. Right now I am preparing for an 8-week trip to the prairies, where I will be music directing a show called Chickens at the Station Arts Centre. Leaving Vancouver will be hard, but I’m looking forward to the gig.

Come and visit Redboot at the Main (Main Street @ 26th) on Thursday June 4th! We’ll be cookin’ up some hot balkan-Gypsy jams for your listening pleasure. After all, every gal needs a decent “goodbye gig” before she flies the coop, so to speak.