North Okanagan youth ready to make some NOYSE

Showcase of excellence features talents of young local performance

Janet Parkins

Special to The Morning Star

The North Okanagan Community Concert Association is very pleased to be presenting our third North Okanagan Youth Showcase of Excellence – entitled Even More NOYSE on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre with special guest master of ceremonies Paul Rossetti. This gala performance will showcase young musicians from the North Okanagan and Shuswap. We are delighted to be presenting Teslyn Bates, piano, Angela Zeng, cello, Gus Hansen, guitar, Noah Wessels, piano, the Vernon Community Music School (VCMS) Youth Ensemble made up of Zaela and Alex Thiessen, Julia Atkins and Ulyana Doerksen, Craig Matterson, piano, Holly McCallum, cello, and Anna Konrad, violin with Jackson Buller, ukulele and drum.

Bates has been playing piano since age five, and completed her grade 10 RCM exam in June 2019 with First Class Honours. Teslyn comes from a very musical family and enjoys playing in numerous ensembles, at festival, and has been invited to complete at Piano Provincials. Bates plays trumpet in her school jazz band and ukulele as a hobby. She also competed at Ski Nationals in Quebec and her soccer team recently won the Provincials title.

Zeng has been playing cello since age seven, is now working on her ARCT with Morna Howie at VCMS, has been a member of the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra (OSYO) for six years, and loves the opportunities the cello gives her to play alongside other musicians. She competes at festivals, has placed highly at Provincials, has been invited to audition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and hopes to pursue cello as a career. Angela also enjoys competitive swimming.

Hansen has always been inseparable from music. At age five Hansen performed with his brother at the Vancouver Folk Festival, and can be found infiltrating performance venues, community theatres, and coffee houses across the province enjoying early jazz, soul and funk. He is delighted to be taking lessons with Neil Fraser, and has worked with several musical groups, and musical theatre bands, when he is not portraying a character himself! Hansen enjoys composition and is working with other musicians on a feature-length album.

Wessels started playing piano in November 2015 after watching virtuosic music performance videos online. He studies with Daisy Penner at VCMS where he also takes violin lessons with Imant Raminsh. He plays second violin in the OSYO, enjoys listening to recordings by great pianists, studying compositions, is always striving to better understand the music he is playing, and builds violins in his free time!

The VCMS Youth Ensemble is guided by Kim van Wensem, and accompanied by Neta Petkau. Zaela Thiessen is passionate about classical music, and along with voice, plays cello in the OSYO. She is writing a historical fiction novel, enjoys writing poetry, reading, crocheting and salsa (although she is not fond of tomatoes!)

Thiessen loves harmony and prefers to sing those challenging lines that aren’t the melody. In addition to voice Alex studies music theory, piano, and plays viola in the OSYO. She will be taking exams in piano (grade 8), voice (grade 7), and theory (grade 9) this year, and is writing a fantasy novel.

Atkins has been taking singing lessons with Kim van Wensem since grade 5, has a passion for musical theatre, and currently has a lead role in the VSS musical theatre production. Julia enjoys listening to alternative and pop music, musical theatre including production, calligraphy and hair styling.

Doerksen began music in Quebec City singing in a school choir, and playing violin, piano and guitar. Since moving to Vernon in addition to studying singing with Kim van Wensem and violin with Imant Raminsh at VCMS, she sings in the Seaton show and honour choirs. Ulyana enjoys classical music and jazz, drawing, and dreams of becoming a Japanese comic artist.

Matterson has been studying piano since a very young age, studies with Geoff Barker at VCMS, and is currently auditioning for university at UVIC in piano and composition. In addition to classical piano Craig has been successful with jazz and rock, touring Canada, the US and Europe several times with his former band daysormay, and winning silver with his group at the BC Interior Jazz Fest. Craig believes each musical style helps one understand the others.

McCallum is currently working on her ARCT in cello and piano. She has won countless honours, scholarships and awards, and was the first in history to win best of the fest in two instruments at the Shuswap music festival. She has qualified to compete in the Canadian national finals. Holly is principal cellist of the OSYO and a member of the OSO cello section.

Konrad and Buller have formal training in both classical and contemporary music, and enjoy playing bluegrass, classical, folk, classic rock, pop, and more. With Anna’s sister Simone they form Roots&Strings which will release their debut album of original songs and arrangements this January. They play at farmers markets, sponsored gigs, church and school events, senior’s homes, and earned second place at the IPE youth vocal exhibition.

Please join us in celebrating these amazing young musicians! Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for NOCCA subscribers, $10 for youth 18 and under, and $5 on the 8-12 program (grades 8-12 with student ID), available through the Ticket Seller 250-549-7469 www.ticketseller.ca.

Janet Parkins is with the North Okanagan Community Concert Association

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