Artists to ignite youth with concert

The Sumner Brothers will be performing in Vancouver for Side by Side on Feb. 2 - Contributed photo
The Sumner Brothers will be performing in Vancouver for Side by Side on Feb. 2
— image credit: Contributed photo

Peninsula performers will be working side by side with some of Vancouver’s most talented dancers and choreographers for a unique show held at the East Vancouver Cultural Centre next month.

Affectionately known by patrons and staffs as The Cultch, the centre will host a slew of the area’s most talented up-and-comers for Side by Side, benefitting the Ignite! Mentorship program, which provides aspiring young artists with the chance to work on their craft and be mentored by some of the leading artists in the city.

Co-organizer and former White Rock resident Edmond Kilpatrick, who also taught dance on the Peninsula, will be performing double-duty as host and performer at the Feb. 13 event.

The longtime dancer and Winnipeg native originally got the idea for fusing a dance performance with a live musical performance after participating in a similar event himself.

“At first glance, it’s not that big of a stretch, the idea of dancing to music. But in 2006, while I was choreographing a piece, I was invited by (co-host) Barbara Adler, who was performing with her band, The Fugitives, and she said she wanted to share the stage equally,” he said.

The result was an abstract narrative with Kilpatrick on stage, incorporating the band, which became an integral part of performing the story.

After finishing the show, Kilpatrick began to focus on another event to incorporate the two performing arts into one show. After brainstorming with Adler, the two agreed there should also be a charitable aspect, which led them to Ignite.

“Barbara is also a mentor there and she introduced the idea to (Cultch youth program manager) Robert Leveroos, who thought it was the perfect fit,” Kilpatrick said.

Leveroos also added another dimension to the mix, by including younger artists in the mentorship program with alumni to create a more memorable experience for the performers and the audience.

“It’s the best way to learn, I would say. There is nothing better than learning by doing. In order to boost their performance to the next level, we’ve given them these opportunities with professionals,” Leveroos said.

There will 25 performers with eight pairings during the show, Leveroos said, noting well-known local acts such as The Sumner Brothers will also be on the bill.

Brothers Brian and Bob, who are based in South Surrey, heard about the show through Adler and have selected an unreleased song called River Bed as the one they will perform with dancer Krystal Kohn, with choreography created by Amber Funk Barton.

“It’s an emotional ballad and the response has been really good with the audience. We wanted to to choose a really moving song, and this one made sense,” Bob said.

Joining the brothers on stage will be Ignite alumna Irene Chou, accompanying with piano.

“We haven’t met her yet, it’s all been through email. It’s all new to us, but we think it’s fabulous. My brother and I have started a music school in White Rock, and have always been really inspired when seeing kids start early and be creative,” he said.

“When we started playing open-mic shows in White Rock, there was already this culture of young kids being creative, writing songs and performing them. And for us, that was completely void from our upbringing.”

The mentorship program is in its fifth year and includes workshops on grant writing and media relations.

“It shows you how to build a career in the arts,” Leveroos said. “It’s professional. Just like this show. The stakes are high and they know it. It’s not just their peers the kids are playing for, it’s their peers’ peers and so on.

“And for the audience, this performance is pretty well the only chance to see all of these high-calibre artists on stage together.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thecultch.com/content/view/393/559/


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