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June 2017

Alayna Chrunik seizes first place at AMFA Provincials. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Bronwyn Crawford - Darryl Is A Boy. Photo by Ken Matthias.

AMFA Provincials

Ken Matthias - CCAB -

May 28 - June 4, 2017


AMFA Provincials 2017


Grant MacEwen University (Alberta College Campus) and McDougall United Church in Edmonton once again played host to the 2017 AMFA (Alberta Music Festival Association) Provincials competition from May 28th till June 3rd. The annual competition brings hundreds of young people from across the province who have won their local festival to perform and compete on a provincial level against their very talented peers.


The performers compete in categories separated by discipline and age. These groupings typically are senior, 16 and under, and twelve and under. Disciplines are vocal, speech, piano, classical guitar, violin, woodwind, chamber music, choir, and music composition.


Competition was tough, some classes having almost thirty entrants, but despite their age, many of the performers were seasoned veterans of years of recitals, competitions, and performances. Regardless of the competitive nature of the event, young people enjoyed their peer’s performances and were inspired by watching their significant level of talent.


Many North Central Albertan young people entered this year’s Provincials, many doing well and some bringing home honours. Alayna Chrunik from Wetaskiwin took first place in Musical Theatre Up-Tempo – 16 years and under with her hilarious and somewhat crazy rendition of I Really, Really Love You. James Rostad of Camrose tied for second place in Speech Solo – Senior with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and French’s On The Fields, Lately. Also, Anna Pollard of Leduc tied for second in Woodwind Solo – 16 years and under with Lamento Nocturne and Concertino.


In Choral – Senior, Camrose’s Camrose Camerata tied for second as well as Camrose’s Senior High Choir Chorazz! capturing first place in Senior High School Choir with Snyder’s Durme, Durme and Kallman’s Wangol.


Though there Is great satisfaction in being awarded first or second place, all that attended come away richer through the experience gained by competition on such a high level, and the wisdom and counsel gleaned from adjudicators who are nationally recognized as leaders in their disciplines as well as many being seasoned and successful performers. Congratulations to all who attended.

Kyra Gusdal - She Used To Be Mine. Photo by Ken Matthias.

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Camrose Academy of Dance and Ballet Camrose perform at Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Camrose's Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017 a packed house. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Charly Doll entertains the Jaywalker's crowd. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017 Midway rides. Photo by Ken Matthias.

Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017

Ken Matthias - CCAB -

June 2-3, 2017


Attracting thousands of spectators and participants once again despite a rainy start, the 2017 Jaywalkers Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta was a clear success. This year the annual event encouraged all to participate in joining in with one of two themes; Canada’s 150th birthday and Steampunk.


The Jamboree, which had humble beginnings as not much more than a sidewalk sale has evolved over the years into a significant, anticipated event boasting two very busy performance stages, an entire main street lined with merchants, vendors and food kiosks, and an assortment of stomach churning Midway rides and games.


The Performance Stages had a steady and varied stream of local talent entertain the crowds including musicians, demonstrations and performances by the Camrose Academy of Dance and Ballet Camrose. The Jamboree was also accompanied by the start of the 22nd Annual Camrose Art Walk which continues through till September 5, 2017.


Friday night was capped off with a Steampunk Party held at the historic Bailey Theatre, Alberta’s oldest performing arts theatre. The Steampunk Party featured local band Punch Drunk Cabaret whose tagline described as, “Rockabilly and Steampunk Swing music.” It was an adrenaline filled evening.


Camrose continues to set a high standard for what a downtown festival/event can look like with enough vision, business and community support, and volunteers. Thousands would agree and look forward to next year’s offering.

Camrose's Major Company perform at Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Senior students lead the upcoming dancers. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Waiting to go on at Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Camrose Academy of Dance and Ballet Camrose perform at Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Kasandra McGill - Kassified Art. Photo submitted.
Michelle Buffalo - Polar Bear. Photo submitted.
Jason Perry - Torch Light Lanterns. Photo submitted.
Perry Anderson - Warrior. Photo submitted.

Wetaskiwin Arts & Music Festival

Ken Matthias - CCAB -


Passion is the driving force behind the creation of the first Wetaskiwin Arts and Music Festival fast approaching to be held June 24, 2017 at By The Lake Park from 9:30am to 9:00pm.


Personal passion for the Arts as well as a passion to see the Arts grow and flourish in our region has fueled Festival organizer Susan Kokas and her team to cast a strong vision to local artisans, business, and city officials. The event which began as only an idea spoken amongst friends a half year ago has now blossomed to a full day event featuring over sixty local artisans and musicians.


Susan Kokas has made it a personal mission to see the blending of old and young artisans working together in a mutual appreciation of art and respect of one another’s art forms. There is a growing disconnect between generational artistic expression, old art forms being lost to time and new art forms being misunderstood by the older generation. In talking with Susan, she feels that though there may seem to be a significant gulf between the generations, it would be a mistake to abandon any effort to bridge the gap. Young people love creativity, and though their expression of it may be different or foreign, it can be beautiful, adding a whole new palette of color perhaps not seen before.


A festival like the Arts and Music Festival can be a step towards bringing the two together, showcasing the significant variety of styles and mediums. Everything from indigenous Silversmith Erik Lee (Montana Nation) to young finger painter/artist Kasandra McGill, to Multi Medium Artist Lorraine Hawley who tiles guitars.


The event will have local musicians performing throughout the day, a food fest making various foods available to festival-goers, Tae-Kwondo demonstrations, and Cree language lessons just to name a few of the additional offerings presented alongside the talents of the many artisans. A shuttle bus has been arranged to ferry people back and forth between the event and Wetaskiwin’s Drill Hall beside the Aquatic Centre/Arenas. The shuttle bus will run from 11am to 9pm.


If the organization’s Facebook page is any indication of how significant the event could become in connecting and showcasing the region’s Arts Community, it is clear that many people are getting on board and the festival shows promise to become an eagerly anticipated annual event for the community for years to come.

Facebook Page:

Artist Spotlight Graphic

Lorraine Hawley - Raineglass

Ken Matthias - CCAB

June 8, 2017

Lorraine Hawley - Raineglass. Photo submitted.

Lorraine Hawley of Raineglass got started making beautiful tiled guitars through her love for creating works of art with stained glass. In the process of creation, she ended up with many boxes of scrap pieces that seemed a shame to waste. Lorraine would take the scrap pieces and use them to form various mosaic creations.


She first began turning old guitars into art pieces when she created a gift for her guitar playing son. From there, Lorraine was hooked and carried on picking up any guitar she could get her hands on. She fell in love with the colors, the prisms, and the reflections that sparkled off the glass. Lorraine found it very peaceful, whisking her away from the world for a time as she built each piece from her heart.


The work is often intensive, each piece requiring approximately thirty hours to complete involving placement, grouting, cleaning, sealing, and polishing. Lorraine allows each piece to take shape as she creates it, adding glass and ceramic tiles, vintage items, jewelry, and any other unique items she can find. Each finished decorative piece becomes a unique expression, often bringing new life to old items.


Lorraine will be one of over sixty artists participating in the first Wetaskiwin Arts & Music Festival to be held June 24th at By The Lake Park.


To contact Lorraine email her at

Camrose Arts Society Art Director Jane Cherry shows off her steampunk. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Randy B - Punch Drunk Cabaret. Photo by Ken Matthias.

Steampunk Party

Ken Matthias - CCAB -

June 2, 2017


June 2nd, 2017 was the evening that launched the vision of the Camrose Arts Society Arts Director Jane Cherry to see a local Steampunk chapter formed to celebrate and enjoy together the fascinating world and sub-culture of the movement.


Camrose’s Bailey Theatre played host to a Steampunk Party featuring local and rising band Punch Drunk Cabaret, recently winning the Edmonton Music Awards Music Video of the Year Award for their video, Beard of Bees. Rocking the establishment, the band played three sets of songs interrupted by a Steampunk outfit competition and recognitions.


The essence of Steampunk was exhibited by the variety of genres drawn from for outfitting the attendees and the various degrees of commitment to the process. Steampunk welcomes hardcore followers who dress to the historic or fantastical limit as well as those who are just interested in attending to see what it is all about. Western wear was mixed with Victorian age corsets and top hats, which were mixed with what could only be described as ‘Mad Max’ -ish like clothing. Both Young and old attended the event visiting with one another, listening to the music and/or dancing to the adrenaline filled sound of Punch Drunk Cabaret’s potent sound.


The almost three hour party was a highlight of Camrose’s annual Jaywalker’s Jamboree, an extremely well attended weekend of sidewalk sales, midway rides, food fair, music and exhibitions.


It is the ambition of many to see the almost eighty member ‘virtual’ (Facebook) group transform into a fully functioning chapter hosting many social and fun events like the Steampunk Party on a regular basis. Those interested in more information can go to the group’s Facebook page or contact the Camrose Arts Society directly.

Steampunk Cartographer. Photo by Rachel Matthias.
Punch Drunk Cabaret performs at Camrose Steampunk Party. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Artist Spotlight Graphic

Kasandra McGill - Kassified Art

Ken Matthias - CCAB

June 8, 2017

Kasandra McGill - Kassified Art. Photo submitted.

Kasandra McGill is a young, talented, and creative person well equipped to articulate what her art means to her and what she desires to accomplish with it.


In addition to her impressive range of artistic skill in pencil, ink, charcoal, and finger painting, Kasandra has explored multiple outlets of expression through stage acting, improv, and photography. She will be one of the artists displaying her work at the Wetaskiwin Arts & Music Festival coming up June 24, 2017 at Wetaskiwin's By The Lake Park.


Drawing has been a part of Kasandra most of her life, but about four years ago she added finger painting to her portfolio partially due to frustration. Kasandra wanted to use the colour and texture of acrylic to help her express and negotiate some of the things going on in her life at the time, but became frustrated with her inability to use a brush as effectively as her pencil. In response, she thrust her hands into the paint and fell in love with how freeing it was to paint with her fingers.


Kasandra refers to the process as "getting messy." Not really in reference to getting her hands dirty, but instead about allowing a flow of colour to explode off her canvas from a central point, or an eye of a picture, allowing whatever is inside a person to find expression through what comes out.


Multiple times Kasandra brought the conversation back to the idea that, "Art is a feeling, it is an emotion." She uses her art to help her get what she needs for that day. When she is feeling sad, or it is a dreary day, she will paint in bright and cheerful colours. Kasandra finds art very therapeutic. She would like one day to help others 'find' art and use it to help them the same way that art has helped her.


One of the many traits that draw you towards Kasandra is her passion and conviction about what art is and what it can do. Of course one day she hopes she can earn income doing what she loves to do, but her primary source of accomplishment comes when someone looks at her work and comes away with something from it. She shies away from ever saying that a piece is done, but if someone is moved by it or drawn into it, that often communicates to her that the piece is complete.


In response to a final question about art, Kasandra preaches that anyone can be an artist. It just is dependent on how much time and energy you are willing to invest in it. You do not need to get up tight about how good your art is, or if people will understand what you do (Kasandra does a lot of abstract art). Quoting Marilyn Monroe, "Imperfection is beautiful..."


Facebook: KassifiedArt - Twisted Visions


Kasandra McGill - Kassified Art. Photo submitted.

Creative Connections AB Editors Desk March

Editor's Desk

Ken Matthias - CCAB -


Offering Ourselves


One of the perks of having your own Performing & Visual Arts website is the exposure you have to the seemingly endless ways people express themselves creatively. As reflected in this month’s edition, within a few short weeks I have seen amazing musical theatre, a powerful African choir, local dance companies take the stage, forms of art I didn’t know existed, and I got my Steampunk on for one fascinating night (…walking five blocks filled with people through downtown Camrose fully dressed in Steampunk was an experience!).


As much as I enjoy creativity and the arts, what I love the most is the opportunities a person gets to meet new and interesting people. While all strata of society experience a broad range of personalities, if there is one particular sub-culture that has a higher likelihood to be at the outer limits of that ‘personality’ scale, it is creative people. In one morning, you can talk with someone who turns beet red with embarrassment when attention or praise is brought to their art, and then go visit someone who is a fireball of energy “who would die” if they never had a stage to perform on. Creative people can have a tendency to be quirky, but quirky is good.


At its heart, art is about expression. For some, it is their most competent language to speak about who they are and how they see the world. Their art communicates on an intimate level far beyond what mere words can achieve. Friendships are forged, hearts are connected, and life stories are told simply by viewing one another’s portfolio.


There is a need for this. The world is a busy and sometimes disconnected place, void of meaningful conversation and lacking in true relationships. Our art, in whatever form it takes, can be a bridge to change that.


It has been good not only to see, but to be a co-labourer alongside a growing number of local people working to change the landscape, creating opportunity and connections for the arts to effectively do that which it is capable of. Both Wetaskiwin and Camrose are launching new events this year with precisely that goal in mind. Individual and corporate support of the arts remains strong despite the turn of the economy.


Performance and Visual Arts, simply put, enrichen our lives and connect us with humanity on a level unavailable through other means. Thank you, to every one of you who create, to you who through whatever means available to you make yourself vulnerable and offer a glimpse of who you are for the world to see. It is so worth it.

Camrose Academy of Dance and Ballet Camrose perform at Jaywalker's Jamboree 2017. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Watoto African Children's Choir performs in Leduc, AB. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Watoto African Children's Choir performs in Leduc, AB. Photo by Ken Matthias.
Watoto African Children's Choir performs in Leduc, AB. Photo by Ken Matthias.

Watoto African Children's Choir

Ken Matthias - CCAB -

June 7, 2017


The Watoto African Children’s Choir began as a compassionate response to the poverty, corruption, and violence that raked the country of Uganda, Africa over thirty years ago. Called as missionaries to Uganda at the beginning of 1980, Gary and Marilyn Skinner believed God to restore hope to the nation. A defining moment came eight years later as Gary was led by a 79 year old widow behind her small hut and shown the graves of six of her seven children along with her husband, all killed by AIDS. Her remaining child was dying of the same disease.


From this encounter, stacked upon the countless other stories of despair Gary and Marilyn witnessed, the Watoto Child Care Ministries was born out of the Skinner’s church plant, the Watoto Church in Kampala, Uganda. Inspired by the biblical scripture James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world,” The Watoto Ministries has cared for more than 4,000 orphaned and vulnerable children since 1994, offering them hope, transformation, and empowerment including education, healthcare and faith. Since their inception, the ministry has extended to reach out to the many vulnerable women through their Living Hope Program, working towards restoring dignity, literacy, practical and business skills, empowering them to rise out of poverty and provide for their families.


The traveling children’s choir has been a tremendous force to bring awareness of the need to the world. Sponsorships of rescued children (some former child soldiers) and vulnerable women made available at their concerts have greatly impacted the fate of thousands and impacted the nation as many of the young people have gone on to become community leaders.


Already having toured for many months with this year’s show, ‘Signs & Wonders’, the Watoto African Children’s Choir performed June 8, 2017 at Gateway Family Church in Leduc, Alberta. The concert was filled with powerful songs, energetic dance, and a brilliant palette of colours. The performance was intermixed with multi-media video and personal stories of life transformation. The children had a profound impact on the hearts of everyone in the room.


Anyone interested in learning more about the Watoto ministries, or to learn more about sponsoring children and women at risk can go to Watoto’s website at