Capturing the spirit…with music and community

Our little community puts on the most amazing Christmas Fair…has for the 20+ years that I have lived here.  The past few years the folks running the fair have changed.  And as with any shuffle of administration things change…new ideas get brought to life.  We were pretty happy to see this great seasonal community event grow again this year with more new ideas!  Like decorating and advertising…with even two versions of posters to catch the eyes of crafts patrons.

Its all about connections!

Rides to the fair were provided by Marmot Basin…a little green initiative in the season of white!  Santa and a couple of his helpers did an afternoon circuit through the town to get visitors and locals to the fair and home.  When I stepped out to see how the bus was doing, the carols were playing and the antlers were on!

Choirs and piano music rounded out a day of gingerbread houses and the gifts that can’t be bought.  Fair organizer Greg Van Tighem was awarded  for his long days of planning with one of the crafts from the childrens area.  After all are children not the real reason why we celebrate this holiday.  A season of hope, a reprieve from the daily grind where spirit and grace are not foremost in many minds?

Lets see…children, crafts, gingerbread, Santa bus, unexpected gifts, choirs, piano music, decorations, community organizations…oh yah! – the most amazing collection of artisans and bakers…pottery, jewelry, First Nations art, fabric arts, stone mosaics, woodwork, metalwork, cookies, chocolates, pet treats…

And we thought it was just a Christmas Fair!

Children of Autumn

Children of AutumnFor 2 hours on Saturday night over 200 people watched in delight as the children of Jasper performed the Children of Autumn.  Jasper singer and the play’s writer Grace Kohn along with musician and composer Greg Deagle ‘graced’ stage left while the troupe of children in costume and masks walked the audience through an enactment of mother and daughter rediscovering the innocence of youth.

A mother finds herself drawn by her daughter to experience feelings and situations that as an adult we have developed ways of avoiding.  The first feeling they experience – on a cautious journey into a dream created by a whimsical forest, forest creatures and masks – is that of folly.  A lively forest sprite frolics before the child and her mom to the childs delight – but as most adults the mother cannot accept such ‘folly’ and becomes more interested in getting home…and the enchantment continues until the masks are removed…

The masks the girl and her mom meet in the enchanted forest lead each person watching in their own interpretation…I must say, the performance of the distressed mom facing her masks led to more than one emotion in most viewers.  Grace has created this delightful tribute, to revisiting the innocence of childhood through dance and song, in efforts to raise money to purchase and supply free hypebaric oxygen sessions to children with disabilities in Jasper.

Not going to give it away – the play is completely scripted and composed.  It is hoped that other communities will wish to host the production in their town.  Check out the Children of Autumn website to support the cause or to bring this exciting program to your community!

Revival of Bohemia…or just common sense

The Artery

Notebook Magazine open stage at the Artery

We had heard of this new magazine – it showcases the artwork of local artists.  But what was truly unique was that it showcased emerging artists…and the writeups were done by emerging writers and poets.  (I know a poet is a writer…but a writer isn’t always a poet – in my opinion)

And this magazine has evenings to coincide with their new editions…opening nights for a magazine!  And just when we thought the concept couldn’t get any better they added an evening of music releasing a new CD compilation of musicians – a musical version of the magazine.  All set in the most unassuming location we could imagine.  These artists and musicians took over the space in old downtown Edmonton known as the Artery.  If there was ever a project to show the success of taking back a community that has been abandoned by its residents and commercial business – the Artery is it.

More friends showed up – Moses Gregg on bass and Scott Cook…so we setup our laptop and did a webcast to share with those who could not attend!  WiFi and microphones went up quickly in a building that almost predates electricity on Jasper Avenue.  For hours crowds filed in and out of a neighbourhood that for the past 20+ years has seen persistent urban decay.  Kudos to the folks who own the old building and have given the Artery an opportunity to breathe life – even if its temporary – back into the area.  Kudos also to the volunteers and proactive visionaries who keep the Artery alive…with programs and upkeep in the old structure.  No the doors aren’t straight – the infrastructure is aged – the floors dont shine – but the artists do.  Thanks Artery – for letting the Artspeak!

Rockin’ at the Farmers Market

...if you can imagine it, she can build it!It’s harvest time.  Time to go to the Farmers Market and check out the fresh veggies, apples, honey…and, of course, what would a market be without its artisans.

Anna Carnell’s booth of mosaics and artworks made from natural and recyled elements showcase her amazing talent – bringing customer’s realizations to life or by using total freedom in her creations.  Like a stone teapot.  Her work has such unique possibilities that I was surprised when the lid didnt come off…it looked so real.

It’s no surprise that Anna’s work is so ‘elemental’.  I met her years ago when she lived in a National Park.  Nature and appreciation for the beauty in nature are evident in every aspect of her life.  She has since moved to the Calgary area – somewhere where she could live closer to her second passion – her horses.  When not in her studio you can find her and her partner riding or playing Polocrosse.  A cross between Polo and Lacrosse!  And when not tending horses, creating stone mosaics, working the Millarville or Calgary markets, or working with her many student projects…you can find her putting the final touches and details on her newest building project – her new home in the Foothills.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the southern Alberta Farmers Market yet – no problem!  Anna is one of over 30 artisans coming north to the Jasper Christmas Fair on Nov 22nd.