X Marks the Spot for Surprise Arts Encounters
Thank you for joining us this past summer for ArtsXpedtions! If you heard music in the air, it wasn't your imagination. Arts Commons and the resident companies took on an expedition to bring the arts to you! Parks, community centres, and even the occasional street corner were the locations for unexpected arts encounters – at a safe social distance – as we connected with you where you were.
Featured artists included:
Robert Adam, classic country respect, mixed in with progressive modern themes. Robert will show you that he is the little John Queer that could. You can expect sweet and salty vocals, curated lyrics, dreamy musical textures and of course a sprinkle of rhinestones. With a clear respect for the older tradition of country music, seamlessly integrated with modern and progressive themes Rob is sure to attract attention from seasoned country music listeners and those not normally well acquainted with the genre alike.
With gorgeous vocals, timeless aesthetics, and grace, Kaeyae Alo has emerged from Calgary as a dignified act with obvious talent. Her effortlessness in crafting melodies and emotion-fuelled lyrics lends itself to music that is thoughtful and soothing. Joined by the talented Abby Amu, Kaeyae Alo will be performing in partnership with Arts Commons for their ArtsXpedition series.
Cindy Ansah is a dance artist and emerging choreographer based in Mohkinstsis (colonially known as the City of Calgary). Dance, movement and art has intrigued Cindy since living in her hometown of Toronto, planting the seed for her artistic pursuits. Cindy is currently embarking on her final year of study in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree at the University of Calgary where she passionately seeks to expand her creative horizons with multidisciplinary collaboration. Additionally, Cindy is excited to start her new journey as Dance Artist for Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc.. In pursuit of shifting the discourse within the arts, Cindy has ventured into writing and dance journalism having her work featured on The Dance Current, Springboard Performance and Alberta Dance Alliance platforms.
As a choreographer, Cindy first developed 4 choreographic excerpts in We Gon Be Alright Black History Month Cabaret in 2019 at Arts Commons. Her seminal dance work Everything, Nothing has been showcased in Triple Bill Weekends, the IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists: Dance Series in 2019 and the Physical Therapy Cabaret in Fluid Fest 2019.
Darren Barton's over 40 years of experience performing in rock, country, pop and cover bands across Canada, has improved his talent like a fine wine. From his first show playing fiddle at 3 years of age to the current musical project in both with cover and original bands, Darren’s ability to play guitar, bass, banjo, harmonica combined with his impeccable lead vocals and harmonies has made Darren a well loved and accomplished showman.
Pistol Noon, Girl + Haggard and Sandra Sutter are three of the musical acts he is currently playing in.
Bringing up two athletic boys, one of whom is also the drummer in Girl + Haggard, keeps him busy and continues the legacy Darren enjoyed growing up in a musical family.
Aimee-Jo Benoit's experience has taken her across many genres, and her performances guide the audience along the path of her emotional roots with the music of Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, as well as The Arcade Fire, Leslie Feist, and John K. Sampson. She takes a jazz approach to classic standards as well as interpreting well- known contemporary songs into a new conversational sound. Aimee-Jo holds a Master of Arts degree where she focused on the relationship between improvisation and academic learning, and has studied privately with Tamara Beatty, Leon Leontaridis, Vivian Cardinal, Cheryl Fisher & Jay Clayton. Her discography includes four studio albums with Woodpigeon from 2008-2012, supporting vocalist with the Summerlad and Aaron Booth in 2005 and 2008 respectively, plus her own solo project “Standards” from 2004 with Keith Smith and Kodi Hutchinson.
Chantal Chagnon is a Cree Ojibwe Métis Singer, Drummer, Artist, Storyteller, Actor, Educator, Workshop Facilitator, Social Justice Advocate and Activist with roots in Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. She shares Traditional Indigenous Songs, Stories, Culture, History, Arts, Crafts and Teachings. Chantal has presented at Conferences, Conventions, Galas, Fundraisers, Community, Social Justice Events and in Classrooms from Preschool through University. She has performed at the National Music Centre, Saddle Dome, Jubilee Auditorium, Jack Singer Concert Hall, and many other stages showcasing Traditional and Contemporary Indigenous Music, as well as Modern Music in Collaboration with various Bands and Artists. Chantal aims to entertain, engage, enlighten, educate, and inspire everyone she meets.
A single mother of two boys, she understands societal struggle first hand. Chantal has been an activist, advocate for her community, professional performer and a staunch crusader for causes close to her heart. She is active within many social justice causes, including Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), Women’s Rights, and Environmental Initiatives. She regularly organizes events and shares, singing, drumming, speaking, presenting, and teaching within the community, with a focus on building allies and alliances. Chantal Chagnon is passionate about building awareness and sharing understanding of aboriginal culture, spirituality, social justice and political issues. She creates opportunities for cooperation, education, and empowerment everywhere she can.
Chantal recognizes sharing culture and building community is an integral part of building bridges of understanding and acceptance. Chantal is a compassionate woman, who believes that a healthier, fairer, more sustainable Canada is possible as we make decisions for future generations to come.
Femi Bode-George started out curating Afrocentric day time events in Calgaryunder the Entertainmentbrand Icarus Sound,his loveand passionfor music led him tobecome a DJ.He plays a boardspectrum of music from Afro-beats,Funk,Soca,Afro-Houseand much more.Hehas since gone on to collaboratewith some of Calgary’sbiggest venues; The HiFiClub, Broken City, The ACE NightClub, Music Night Club, and other to curate special events that promote Afrocentricity,diversity, and inclusivity in the Calgary social scene. When Covid brought the world to a halt, Femi has been co-producing aweeklyshow on Icarus Sound’sInstagrampage(@icarusound), that brings together DJs from all over the world for a Jam Session.
Kenna Burima has earned a reputation as someone who can turn ideas into big projects, teach the unteachable and inspire people to come together, but at her core, Burima wears one label most proudly: musician. Since hercompleting classical music education with an Artist Diploma in piano performance from Mount Royal University and a BMus from University of Calgary, Kenna’s love for all musical forms has seen her involved in a diversity of projects over the years; the indie-folk of Woodpigeon, the garage sludge of Brenda Vaqueros, the retro-punk of The Pygmies, and the neo-folk of Kris Ellestad. She currently plays keys in organ punk band Jeans Degrees and the sweaty stoner rock of Beaver Squadron andcontinues to workas a hired gun for a number of other artists when time allows.
Sabrina Naz Comănescu is a dynamic member of the Calgary Dance Community through her work as a performer, choreographer, dance instructor and filmmaker. As a performer, Comanescu has worked with Machel Montano, House of Dangerkat, The Bad Girls Club YYC, ILLFX Entertainment and is currently in her fifth year performing with the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks company in Calgary, Alberta. She is also the current major force behind The Diversity Performing Arts Club of Calgary that “celebrates cultural diversity while promoting inclusion and respect for all youth”. She has also created Casa De Naz (CDN) in 2012, a collective with a mission to “excite and educate art hubs across Canada about the thriving Caribbean community in Calgary and the arts of the Caribbean as a whole”.
Tricia Edwards’ musical journey has taken many diverse paths. With formative years spent training and performing in the classical realm, to more recent years playing in the jazz idiom, to her current passion in exploring the world of Latin music Tricia seeks to incorporate all of these languages into her musical expression.
She earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of Alberta, with summer studies at the Banff Centre and Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. During this time she was a national finalist in the Canadian Music Competition and performed with the University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Sinfonietta.
Studies in jazz resulted in the release in 2008 of her debut jazz recording “Joyspring.” Tricia now maintains a full schedule based in Calgary, working as a solo artist, as leader of her own jazz trio/quartet, as a classical collaborative pianist and as the bandleader of the salsa band “Klave.”
Her sophomore recording “Intaglios,” released January 2018, sought to blend her three musical passions for classical, jazz, and Latin genres and met with a great reception, including charting on the National Earshot jazz charts for the weeks of March 14 and May 15, 2018. “Intaglios” was also awarded a Gold Medal for album and composition in September 2018 from the Global Music Awards and won MusicYYC’s Best Jazz Recording of the Year for 2018.
Afo Fapojuwo holds a Jazz Diploma from Mount Royal University and a Jazz Performance Degree majoring in Jazz Percussion from the prestigious McGill University. His performance experience includes touring with musical groups across Canada and the United States, performing at internationally renowned festivals such as the Montreal Jazz festival as well as the Osheaga Music Festival, and recording drumming tracks on multiple albums. With 15+ years of playing experience and 6 years of intense musical schooling it comes as no surprise that Afo is just as skilled a teacher as he is a performer. Upon returning to Calgary, Afo has managed to maintain a busy schedule of playing and teaching drums to students of all ages and skill levels.
Daniel Fong is thrilled to be performing for you today, he is an actor, singer and dancer born and raised in Calgary Alberta. Please enjoy the show and stay safe! @thedfong
Jeremy Gignoux is ever oscillating between calling himself a violinist or a fiddler. Playing within those lines, he has developed an original sound and technique.
Based in Calgary, AB (Mohkinstsis), he loves collaborating with other performing arts, being part of two Decidedly Jazz Danceworks productions and a musical by Rosebud Theatre. In 2017, he was the composer and sole musician for Catherine Hayward’s piece in Dancer’s Studio West’s Metamorphosis.
In his first album Cinacoustic, Jeremy features his compositions for a quartet with upright bass, guitars, and the occasional banjo. He will today perform pieces from the album, rearranged for duet with Keith Rodger (on upright bass and guitar).
Originally from BC and now living in Alberta, Tosh Hayashi has been playing the flamenco guitar for over 20 years. He has performed with many of Western Canada's foremost flamenco artists and has studied extensively with guitarists Harry Owen (from Victoria BC), and from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain: Juan Manuel Moneo Carrasco, Jesus "La Guardia" Agarrado, El Parilla de Jerez, and Balao. His first musical influence however, was his father, an accomplished guitarist, singer and blues and jazz connoisseur. Silvia and Tosh performed in many Traditional Flamenco shows around the city. They also have a project called Aires Andaluces where they collaborated as a duet of "Cante and Guitarra".
Ethan Hill is an active composer and keyboardist based in Calgary, AB. Inspired by the relationship between the perceptual foundations on which music has been created and its subsequent effect on its experience, his most recent compositions search for a reunion between music and listener. Ethan studied piano and composition at the University of Victoria (B.Mus. 2019) and organ at McGill University (Gr. Dip. 2020).
Tara Jackson was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and is of Jamaican/Haitian heritage. She began singing at the age of 3 and has had a passion for it ever since. As a child, Tara was immersed into music through singing and piano lessons and studied dance as well as various sports. With such strong taking to music and after competing in local events and attending and graduating from Berklee College Of Music with honors, she knew she was meant to pursue a career in creating music and storytelling. Select credits include: The Color Purple (Neptune, Citadel/RMTC), Hadestown (Citadel), Jesus Christ Superstar, Anne of Green Gables (Charlottetown Festival), Brave Girl (Lunchbox). Tara recently launched a virtual platform “Musical Tokens” (musicaltokens.com) with hopes of connecting womxn of color in the musical theatre industry. “I’ve been fortunate enough to perform all across Canada and am proud to be a Black woman who inspires others to speak their truths and create and share their art with whomever will receive it.” @taraatee
Lemba is a poet and folk inspired, soul vocalist. Studying opera in university gave her an appreciation and ability to access multiple types of vocal styles, which led her to one of her lines of work as a vocal coach (Lemba Studio). As a true lover and doer of all forms of art, in the last few years, she has had the opportunity to write and direct for multiple film projects -- most recently being a 2019 recipient of TELUS Storyhive Short Series Grant.
Allison Lynch is a Canadian singer, lyricist, actor and composer. Growing up with jazz musician parents, she began studying violin, piano, guitar and ukulele from an early age. Allison has performed at the Calgary Folk music festival, the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival and Brazilfest, and has toured Ontario as well as performing with the Malaysian, Winnipeg and Victoria Symphonies. With an eye to the golden age of jazz and a finger on the pulse of the modern singer-songwriter aesthetic, Allison Lynch creates a singular compositional voice that transcends era through a deliberate mix of the modern and the classic. With technical chops earned from her Bachelor of Music in classical singing and composition, Allison fuses jazz, blues, folk and pop influences on Skin & Flame, her intimate first release that features sensuous vocals, bluesy folk-uke ballads and newly imagined standards from the jazz repertoire. Allison has also appeared on almost all of Calgary’s major stages, earning three Betty Mitchell Awards for acting, one for composing, and multiple nominations over her 18 year performance career. She recently released her first music video for her track, Wish You Well, which can be found at Allison Lynch Music on YouTube.
Jonathan McCaslin is recognized as one of Western Canada’s leading jazz drummers and educators, and he brings excitement and his passion for the jazz tradition and its future to the bandstand and to the classroom. Raised in Regina, Saskatchewan Jon began playing the drums at the tender age of nine while progressing through the Regina Lions Junior Band and award winning music program at his high school, Campbell Collegiate, soon developing a passion for playing the drums and jazz. Ultimately, Jon's interest in music led him to enroll in the Jazz Studies program at McGill University, graduating with distinction in 1999. While at McGill, Jon had the opportunity to study with some of the finest jazz educators in the country including Gordon Foote, Kevin Dean, Jan Jarcyzk, Joe Sullivan, Remi Bolduc, Chris McCann, Andre White, Michel Lambert and Dave Laing.
Tom McCaslin has been described by Fanfare Magazine as “one of the contemporary tuba virtuosos”. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Tom’s playing and teaching have taken him around the globe. He has performed and taught in Canada, the United States, Switzerland, Portugal, Finland, New Zealand, and Australia.
As an orchestral musician he has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Regina Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (Portugal), the Lahti Symphony (Finland) and was acting Principal Tuba in the Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand). In the summers he teaches at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC, where he serves Principal Tuba with the EMF Festival Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz.
As a soloist Mr. McCaslin’s solo recordings appear on the Crystal Records and Potenza Music labels. His first solo CD release, “Inside Out”, was met with much critical acclaim. The International Tuba and Euphonium Association journal wrote: “Hopefully this CD will serve to inspire the “next generation” of young tubists who will hear and accept this as regular playing, and strive to push the limits even further.”
Genevieve Micheletti joined the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017 as a member of the first violin section. Prior to joining the CPO, Ms. Micheletti was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami and has held positions with the Berkeley Symphony, Stockton Symphony, and Flint Symphony. A native of California, Ms. Micheletti made her solo debut with the Stockton Symphony as winner of the Manlio Silva Young Artists’ Competition.
Ms. Micheletti is a veteran of prestigious summer institutes including the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra.
Mandy Morris is equal parts vocalist, educator and coffee. She is the namesake and creator of Music with Mandy, which combines her love of jazz with her natural talent for working with and entertaining children. In 2013, Mandy and her partner in life and music, pianist/composer Matt Morris, moved to Calgary where she quickly became a highly sought after music instructor and children’s entertainer. She has developed multiple children’s music classes and day camps at Chinook School of Music as well as family programming at the National Music Centre. Mandy has a diverse background performing as “Princess Vi” in the interactive children’s musical “Fergus the Frog” and engaging with kids in themed music birthday parties such as "The Royal Ball" and "Pirate Parties". She has played the Medicine Hat Jazz Fest and the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival in Banff as well as headlining the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival with her former band “Gee Baby”.
David Reid is one of Canada’s most versatile and sought-after low brass musicians, active in a wide variety of musical genres on alto, tenor, bass and contrabass trombones as well as tuba and euphonium. Following an active youthful period as a pianist and brass band cornetist, he turned his attention to the trombone in 1980, joining the CPO in 1984 where he served for eighteen seasons as Assistant Principal (tenor) Trombonist prior to his appointment as Principal Bass Trombonist in 2002. From 2004 – 06, he took a leave of absence from the CPO, returning to his native city of St. John’s to serve as Professor of Low Brass at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).
Since establishing his career in Calgary, he has participated in dozens of recordings in various genres, including many with the CPO, the critically acclaimed album by Albertasaurus Tuba Quartet and sessions on the albums of stylistically diverse artists such as Jann Arden, Steve Pineo, Tim Tamashiro and Heather Blush.
As a jazz musician, Dave can often be heard improvising solo spots at CPO “Pops” shows and was recently featured front of stage with guest artist Chantal Kreviazuk. He has been a regular member of Calgary’s Prime Time Big Band since 2001, a frequent guest performer and clinician at jazz workshops in and around the Calgary area, and when time permits, a club date player in small group settings. For 15 years, he was lead trombonist with the Grandstand Orchestra of the Calgary Stampede.
Keith Rodger is one of the most in demand bass players in Western America, having worked most notably with the Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, OQO, and recently Boots and the Hoots.
Both sweet and soulful, Indigo Rose's unique lyricism and harmonies lend voice to themes such as ego and happiness. An R&B and soul inspired singer-songwriter, she began learning classical piano at an early age. This training provided her with the musical foundation to become a self-taught producer, and to begin accompanying herself using a looping pedal to layer her vocals. She released her self-produced debut EP “Indiglo” in 2019.
Indigo’s goal as an artist is to have her music serve as a source of positivity and inspiration. She seeks to empower herself and other artists, and to provide representation for other women of colour.
James Scott joined the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Trombone in 1981. That same year, he joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Calgary. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, and the National Ballet Orchestra. Jim has appeared as a soloist on several occasions with the CPO, and has also been a guest soloist with musical organizations around Calgary, and throughout North America. He also enjoys performing commercial music, and has been involved in musicals at the Grand and Theatre Calgary, and is a member of Prime Time Big Band.
James is a graduate of the Juilliard School (B. Mus., M. Mus.) where he was a scholarship student of Edward Herman, Jr. Additional studies have been pursued with Frank Crisafulli, Arnold Jacobs and Joseph Alessi.
DJ SONIDEF is a queer identifying POC DJ that’s been making waves all around Calgary and the LGBTQ2+ community since 2012. A former hip hop dancer, her background has moulded her into the ultimate groove junkie she is today. Her eclectic style ranges from R&B, Nu-Disco, Dancehall, Vogue, Funk, to Future Grooves and more. She has been known to play a few parties such as HOT MESS, Twisted in the Underground, Vogue Balls and a few events at Commonwealth Bar & Stage. SONIDEF will be bringing together some classic 80’s/90s selections and good vibes all around.
Sasha Spronk, professionally known as Sashae’, is a singer/songwriter and story curator. Her most recent single Between the Lines a whimsical soundtrack is available now! She is a Canadian wellness practitioner at an award-winning clinic “The Samadhi Tree” and there she practices the healing arts of Reiki, Iridology, Intuitive coaching and sound therapy. She also makes hand crafted jewelry.
As an avid mind, body and soul advocate she believes “It’s all about balance, and I truly make efforts to stay connected to the earth and myself through music, meditation, nature, dance & creativity.”
Sashae’ often refers to herself as a ‘spiritual warrior’, a survivor of many trials that have fostered great resilience, perseverance, and the will to create. Adopted into a family outside of her heritage upon birth, she grew up learning to adapt and accept the tragic history of her birth family. Sashae’ started writing around age 11 to channel out the internal suppression of her emotions. She often felt like a conduit of expressive energy in many facets. Her art comes from her experiences but also from the unseen realms or the unheard.
This is soul music to me. “Soul music is what I am, and I am here to stay.”
Steven J. Lubiarz, a native of Troy, Michigan, joined the second violin section of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003. While completing his Master of Music in Violin Performance and Orchestral Studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, Lubiarz was a student of Cyrus Forough and Joseph Golan as well as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Prior to moving to Canada he was a member of the New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas in Miami Beach, Florida.
As an avid chamber musician and soloist, Steven has performed in the Czech Republic, Austria, and throughout Japan. He is a member of the contemporary chamber ensemble Ensemble Resonance as well as the managing member of Bell’arte Strings. Mr. Lubiarz performs yearly at the Arizona Musicfest and was the founder of the Port Elizabeth Chamber Music Festival in Caseville, Michigan.
Steven has also been an active teacher for the past decade in New York, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona and continues his love of teaching today at the Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Lubiarz performs on an 1897 Leandro Bisiach, which was a gift from his first teacher, the late Anne Dodge.
Sandra Sutter is a Calgary based award winning Cree Métis recording artist, singer/songwriter and musician who writes, records and performs in a variety of styles including Americana, folk, world, country, pop, jazz and rock.
Her truth and reconciliation focused album Cluster Stars speaks of the fundamental strength, beauty and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, receiving 11 Industry nominations to date for the 2018 release. She picked up Best Americana recording at the 2018 Nammy’s, Best Producer/Engineer at the 2019 Indigenous Music Awards, an Esquao Award (Arts) from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women and an Aboriginal Role Model of Alberta (Arts) Award both in 2019. In November, Sandra was recognized by WXN as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. In December, Sutter released an A/B short album (Fireside) consisting of 2 new singles and continuing the work begun with Cluster Stars. Burn in Me from Fireside has received 2 nominations so far (Blues and Roots Radio/YYC Music Awards)
Tim Tamashiro is a jazz singer, speaker, entertainer and former national radio host.
For a decade Tim was host of Tonic on CBC Radio 2. His role as Canada’s nightly jazz companion was one of his most cherished experiences of his lifetime. He departed from CBC to study positive psychology, wellbeing and Ikigai (life’s worth).
Tim is recognized as a celebrated vocalist throughout Canada. He has recorded six albums. He is the creator of the unique "story / song" cabarets. He captivates audiences with story narration weaved together with songs. Tim is the author of the Amazon #1 bestselling book How To Ikigai. Ikigai is an ancient philosophy from Okinawa, Japan. It encourages all people to live your "life's worth". Best of all, Ikigai is a map with four directions to follow: 1. Do what you love 2. Do what you're good at 3. Do what the world needs 4. Do what you can be rewarded for Tim has learned that his own Ikigai is “to delight”. He shares his Ikigai every chance he gets whether he's giving a speech, singing a song, telling a story or sharing a smile.
Vocalist Silvia Temis fuses Latin jazz, and Flamenco for her Notasde 4 ensemble that released a 1st recording Roses & Lilies in September of 2019 and it is currently nominated to YYC Music awards of 2020. Born in Mexico, educated in architecture and interior design, Silvia discovered Flamenco while designing for a Flamenco show. She then began studying Flamenco dancing and then found a fascination for flamenco singing (cante). Currently she is studying at the Catalonia College of Music ESMUC an online master’s degree in Flamenco.She also studied traditional Flamenco at the re-known school Cristina Heeren Foundation in Seville, Spain in 2016.
Silvia keeps on updating her skills as a traditional Flamenco singer as well as writing original Flamenco inspired music for her ensemble Notas de 4. Silvia has performed at TEDxCalgary, Expo Latino, Hispanic Fiestain 2017 with the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company, with Carmen Romero Company at Festival Flamenco du Montreal in 2013 and 2014, as well as Toronto International Flamenco Festival in 2013 with the Triana Project ensemble with which she was a co-founder.
Alicia Ward is an enthusiastic human being from Calgary, AB who loves performing, teaching, and promoting a passion for performance art. After graduating from the University of Calgary with a BFA in drama Alicia spent a very informative year interning at Theatre Junction followed by two consecutive years in the Professional Training Program at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. She has undergone numerous dance exams with the RAD, modern and tap with the ISTD, and most recently received her Associate in Tap Dance from the ISTD. Throughout the year Alicia finds herself instructing drama, dance and choreography for any age in a number of various styles throughout the city.
Alicia also loves large amounts of organizational tasks! Alicia works administratively for a number of education and arts focused companies including co-founding Triple Bill Weekends, a quarterly occurring performance series.
Alicia is passionate about growing the artist community in Calgary and fostering opportunities for dancers, no matter how young, to develop a love for movement.
André Wickenheiser's sound is all his own. Whether it's the sound of his trumpet, or his compositional style, it is immediately recognizable.
Calgary based trumpeter André Wickenheiser began his musical studies at Mount Royal University where he completed an Artist Diploma in jazz performance. From there, he went on to finish both a Bachelors Degree, and Masters Degree in jazz performance at McGill University in Montreal.
André is enjoying a busy career as a freelance musician, and is quickly making a name for himself as one of the top jazz trumpet players in Calgary and Alberta. He is a composer/arranger, and educator performing regularly in local groups including the André Wickenheiser Sextet, Past Present Quintet, Lorna Maclachlan Quintet, Jon McCaslin Quartet etc. André is also on the music faculty as a trumpet instructor at Ambrose University and the Mount Royal Conservatory.
Jonathan Wielebnowski is an emerging Canadian bassist, composer, and bandleader based in Calgary, Alberta. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Music from Humber College in 2019, Jonathan relocated from Toronto to his native Calgary, and has since enjoyed a busy freelance schedule where he has the opportunity to perform with a variety of local, and touring acts.
In addition to his freelance work in Calgary, he has also had the chance to perform in several Canadian music and theatre festivals including the Calgary International Jazz Festival, the Calgary Fringe Festival, the Regina Jazz Festival, the TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival, and the Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival.
Sheldon Zandboer, Calgary’s finest jazz pianist, composer, arranger, instructor, and author is one of Canada’s most versatile musicians. Specializing in jazz piano and widely recognized as one of Canada’s premier jazz talents, he has appeared on many recordings, theatre projects, song writing projects, jazz concerts, and film soundtracks.
Sheldon has performed globally since 1975 which makes him one of the most experienced keyboard player/pianists in Canada. Any style you desire with a repertoire unmatched in Western Canada.
Sheldon has performed jazz before Queen Elizabeth, as well as the other members of the British Royal Family, international dignitaries, Heads of State and publicly on 4 continents.
Producing and Engagement at Arts Commons supports equitable and inclusive opportunities for diverse communities in Calgary to converse, create, and celebrate. Through transparent and flexible partnerships, we are working with established organizations and grassroots groups to create arts-based workshops that create connections to amplify the voices of under-served communities.
The term ‘diverse communities’ or ‘underserved communities’ is – yes – very broad. However, we use these terms in an attempt to describe the complex network of communities that make-up Calgary. The organizations, groups, or participants may self-identify with one or more ‘diverse’ or ‘underserved’ communities, such as: an ethno-cultural community (e.g. Asian Canadians, Indigenous nations), an ability-based community (e.g. deaf/hard-of-hearing, developmental disability), a sexual-minority/gender-variant community (e.g. queer, non-gender conforming), an age-defined community (e.g. seniors), an artistic community (e.g. interdisciplinary performance), and there are of course many others. If you are interested in connecting with Arts Commons for support in leading an arts-based activity that serves your community please don’t hesitate to reach out.
All questions, comments or concerns can be directed to:
Producing and Engagement Associate, Arts Commons
403-294-7455 ext. 1451
Arts Commons Cabarets
Curated by diverse artists at the edge of their practice, these cabaret style events introduce new perspectives, connections and collaborations in the intimate Engineered Air Theatre. Expect casual collisions of artists, ideas and audiences. Expect to leave different.
To learn more, visit the Arts Commons Cabarets Page.
Action Dignity – Our Canada Our Story
Re-imagined from its first successful production, Our Canada Our Story combines song, spoken word, theatre, dance, and more to show the many faces and stories that define our home. Action Dignity and Arts Commons partner to bring the voices of underserved communities into focus in this community arts spectacle.
Date: Feb 1, 2019; 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Location: Martha Cohen Theatre
To learn more, visit Our Canada Our Story
Philippines Festival Council of Alberta – Youth Empowerment Program
The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) is a project of the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta (PFCA), the organization behind the annual Fiesta Filipino in Calgary, in partnership with Arts Commons.
YEP is all about youth engagement through hands-on experience of Filipino-Canadian culture. It gives emphasis to young Filipinos integrating and settling in the Canadian setting through (1) hands-on experience of Filipino arts and culture, (2) increasing young people’s sense of belonging in Canadian culture and sense of Filipino Canadian identity, as well as (3) promoting leadership, diversity, professionalism and creativity. This year, YEP will embrace the PFCA’s theme of Kapit-Bisig (Strength in Unity).
National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations
A free, all-ages, celebration of Indigenous culture in support of Canada’s Indigenous National Peoples Day on June 21 and National Indigenous History Month (June). Families are encouraged to join the free drop-in sessions at any time to learn and take part in different Indigenous songs and dances, while the Mini Pow Wow is a great first-look into the rich Pow Wow scene occurring here in Mohkinstsis – the traditional name for Calgary – and across North America. We hope that these events spark an interest and desire for families to celebrate Indigenous Culture year-round.
Date: June 18, 2020 - Postponed
Location: Arts Learning Centre & Centre Court
National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations
Arts Commons is excited to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day a bit early on June 20th with FREE events for families and all-ages throughout the day. Families with young children (18-months and older) are encouraged to join Chantal Chagnon in the morning to learn and try drumming, while Shirley Hill shares Indigenous dance styles and Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) Storytelling in the afternoon. Over lunch, our Mini Pow Wow will host dancers from across the Treaty 7 region and internationally recognized Pow Wow drummers, Eya Hey Nakoda.
Families are welcome to join the FREE drop-in sessions or Mini Pow Wow at any time, and are free to leave when they need. While the workshops are best suited for families with young children, the Mini Pow Wow is suitable for all-ages. National Indigenous Peoples Day at Arts Commons is a great way for all Calgarians to take part in the traditions and celebrations that continue to be a part of our shared home since time immemorial.
Date: June 20, 2019
Location: Jack Singer Rehearsal Hall & Arts Learning Centre
CineMusic Live: The Many Faces of Jimmy Stewart
CineMusic Live is a performance collective bringing together an array of media artists, local musicians, and improvisers, who edit, re-score, and redub films to create a live, mixed-media performance. During their short-term residency, CineMusic Live explores whether various filmographic appearances of a single actor's face - Jimmy Stewart - can be successfully stitched together into one cohesive story. With familiar visuals colliding and creating unexpected combinations and juxtapositions, CineMusic Live will present an entirely new and unpredictable experience.
Location: Engineered Air Theatre
Date: Jun 2, 2019
Happenings Late Night
This late night art-party takes its cues from the Surrealist and Dadaist events of the 1940’s and is tailored to adults with an appetite for the unusual. A combination of performances, music, and art-activations transform the Engineered Air Theatre into an all-night party. Audiences are encouraged to take-in the buffet of art-offerings until they’re ready to burst.
Location: Engineered Air Theatre
Date: May 17, 2019
Labelled by Action Dignity’s Youth PLACE
In a world increasingly aware and sensitive to issues such as systemic racism and colonialism, intergenerational trauma, and sexism; how can we as individuals create safer spaces to both acknowledge the truth and pains of the past, while empowering ourselves in the present to move forward with hope for the future? This performance – conceived and performed by racialized youth from Action Dignity’s Youth PLACE program – dives into the core of these pressing issues that divide and disconnect people. Journey with us as we bravely navigate these questions with openness, vulnerability, authenticity, and community.
Location: Engineered Air Theatre
Date: April 27, 2019
Love Notes Cabaret
After a highly successful event last year, artistic matchmaker Harpreet M Dayal brings Love Notes back to Arts Commons. At this FREE event, poets flirt with painters, dancers, and musicians, creating a love note to Calgary and sharing it with the universe and beyond.
Location: Engineered Air Theatre
Date: Dec 12, 2019
Preamp – Short Term Residency – Article 11
This short-term residency is dedicated to developing the partly autobiographical piece Room. An environmental and durational performance by Tara Beagan (Ntlaka’pamux) and Andy Moro (Omuskego Cree) of ARTICLE 11. ARTICLE 11 is an Indigenous arts activist creation and production company founded by these two artists in 2013, and this workshop of Room is the first-step in what is being conceived as a grand-scale performance installation project.
Location: Engineered Air Theatre
Date: Mar 25 – 31, 2019
We Gon Be Alright Cabaret
The margins of the Black community move to the front and center. We Gon Be Alright is a cabaret experience highlighting the resilience of Black women and Queer Black folks in tumultuous and uncertain times. Through the challenging and provocative visions of five Black artists, we reimagine the past and look to the future.
Location: Engineered Air Theatre
Date: Feb 22 & 23, 2019
Preamp – Short Term Residency - The F Word
Bianca Miranda and Keshia Cheesman, performers and co-creators of The F Word (the f word, in this case, being “fat”), along with director, designer and songwriter Kathryn Smyth continue to play, experiment and develop this one-act show confronting fatphobia, diet culture, and celebrating their personal journeys.
We are proud to partner with the following local organizations that share our vision of a creative and compassionate society inspired through the arts. Together we develop and support projects and initiatives that provide opportunities to access the arts in a multitude of ways, in a central gathering place welcome to all.
We gratefully acknowledge that we are able to launch the ArtsXpeditions initiative because of the ongoing generosity and renewed support of our sponsors, as well as our Founders Circle and Explorer Circle members and donors.