BY GEORGE MARATOS
Prepare for madness and mystery from some of the Yukon’s youngest and finest performers.
So says the news release regarding True Stories, the latest production involving students from the MAD (music, arts and drama) program in Whitehorse.
This time, youth are collaborating with musicians from the Longest Night Ensemble, dancers from Northern Lights School of Dance and local hip hop artists, Kelvin Smoler and Charles Hegsted.
Also thrown into the mix is Jordy Walker, who spent the last two years living in Whitehorse, but will return to fill the role of music director.
Yukon music fixture Dave Haddock completes the lineup of performers playing a similar part to that of Jack Black’s in the popular School of Rock movie.
For the past few weeks, he has been working with eight MAD students, after school, teaching them some of his original songs.
“It has become a little bit of a tradition that was started a few years ago by Brian Fidler,” explains Haddock, following a lunchtime session. It’s always great to work with the kids and give them the opportunity to perform live and work with professionals.
“I’ve been working with them doing vocal exercises and getting them used to making sounds and feeling comfortable doing that and not worrying about it. Sometimes that can be the most difficult part for a new musician.”
Sixteen-year-old MAD student, Emily Joanne Weir, says having the opportunity to sing and dance in True Stories, for the first time, and work with Haddock has really ignited her love of the arts.
“He is such a unique person and really good at opening your mind. This whole experience has been great for getting me more involved with the arts and opening my mind to things that initially didn’t seem that intriguing.”
The sentiments are the same for 16-year-old piano player, Martin Nishikawa.
“Dave just comes by after school and shows us some of his songs and then we jam,” says Nishikawa, who only started playing the piano two years ago. “That’s really been the coolest part.”
Dave describes the MAD students as “a little rock quartet” who are going to be enhanced by an eclectic mixture of performances including some unique electronic sounds from the Longest Night Ensemble, as well as the regular sounds you may have become accustomed to hearing from them.
In addition, Walker will be bringing some modern beats to the show, with Hegsted adding some of his rhythmic conceptions and Smoler capping off the innovative performance with some spoken word and beatboxing.
Haddock says one thing people shouldn’t expect are any True Stories per se.
“It was just a name we came up with the first year and it has stuck ever since.”
True Stories runs May 1 and 2 at the Wood Street School beginning at 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the door.