‘Tis the Season, Christmas 2018 – Spotlight Artists:
It’s the first time the Peninsula Singers have featured Young Artists who are jazz musicians and, some would say, it’s about time.
Led by Bill Kent on double bass, the kids are Shreyas, age 13 on piano and his younger sister Drishti Balaiah, just ten, as vocalist. (Bill is a “young at heart” 70.) According to him, his kids are nothing short of amazing, as they make their way through the complicated world of jazz music. Bill has been teaching jazz piano to Shreyas for the past four years, and Drishti has been studying voice with Ruth Horie for the past year. Says Bill, “It’s a wonderful world teaching these kids. With Shreyas, it’s like sitting down with Oscar Peterson, he’s so good. He just never drops a beat!”
As for Drishti, Bill says she loves singing so much, she sings in her sleep.
The trio have been performing for three years and have already played three times at Victoria’s “Temple of Jazz,” aka Hermann’s Jazz Club, as well as the Sooke Fine Arts Show and Sidney’s Thursday night summer market. They’re regulars at retirement homes.
The kids are both Straight A students at North Saanich Middle School and list “music” and sports among their hobbies. Drishti is also trying her hand at song-writing.
For “’Tis the Season” concert series, the trio will give us their version of “Sleigh Ride,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and a medley of tunes including “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” to “Blue Bossa.”
As jazz great, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis says of jazz: “It’s a gift that requires work, something that makes the bad times easier to bear and the good times better.”
And we welcome Stages Dance Company to ‘Tis the Season!
STAGES Dance Company was founded in the fall of 1980 under the Artistic Direction of Kim Breiland and has grown to become one of Victoria’s largest and most active Youth Dance Companies for children ranging in age from 9-18. STAGES has Represented Victoria Internationally as Ambassadors for Cultural Understanding and Peace, having toured abroad to Cuba, The Former Soviet Union, China, New York, Two National Defense Tours, Japan, Israel and more.
STAGES Alumni include Tony Award Winning Broadway casting Director Duncan Stewart, and major motion picture Director and Choreographer Paul Becker. STAGES Dance Company Members have worked on all three Disney features of the Descendants with world renowned choreographer Kenny Ortega; On the TV series Once Upon A Time, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, with Neil Patrick Harris, Wreck-It Ralph 2, The Good Boys with Jacob Tremblay and as BELLE on the Disney Cruise Lines. Graduate members have also been excepted to prestigious training programs at Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and the National Ballet and will be on contract with Ballet Victoria for this coming season.
STAGES was honoured to perform for her Royal Highness the Queen England on her official visit to Victoria as well as at t the National Ballet de Cuba, Habana Compas, The Cultural Centre of Cuba and the Canadian Embassy. SDC were featured performers at The Harlem Globe Trotters, back up dancers for The Mini Pops, Tour de Rock finale, Help Fill A Dream and Dancers 4 Kids fundraisers, Galey Farms Halloween Festival, Downtown event Wicked Victoria, The Victoria Day Parade, The Santa Light Parade, Sidney Sparkles, The Union Club, The Empress Hotel and performances in Spirit Square.
STAGES DANCE COMPANY is celebrating 39 years of brining Dance to our Community. We are so pleased and honoured to be a part of this year’s Peninsula Singers production of…’Tis The Season ….at the Mary Winspear. On behalf of STAGES we will wish you all the best over this holiday season.
Past Spotlight Artists:
Over the years, nearly fifty young singers, musicians and dancers have performed on the Charlie White stage as part of every Peninsula Singers’ concert. They add much to the musical texture of our concerts and we give them the experience vital to their musical journey. Many of them have gone on to professional careers, including Philip Manning (to name just one), now in the First Violin section of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.