We hosted three successful OnStage workshops in Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie respectively. It was the first year we had student interns facilitating the Edmonton and Calgary workshops, and here is what our interns had to say about their stint with us:
Elka Eisenzimmer, OnStage: Edmonton Facilitator – SCiP Internship
The Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta was my first SCiP internship and I am so grateful it was! Immediately, I clicked with Shannon. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. She has so much knowledge and is willing to share that knowledge. You can tell she is passionate about her job and working with her definitely made my experience.
When I applied, I did not know what the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta was nor I had I heard of it. Over my two-week internship, I quickly fell in love with the organization and saw the immediate benefits of the work they do. My role was to facilitate OnStage: Edmonton, a program offering professional feedback to performing artists who are interested in touring within Alberta. My first task was to attend the Rising Stars Emerge Extravaganza at The Needle Vinyl Tavern. I watched seventeen very talent young singer songwriters for an afternoon and I was blown away by the talent. It made me contemplate my life and what I had done in my twenty-eight years! I had to choose four artists to invite to OnStage. This was quite the challenge. After some deliberating, I sent the approval and rejection e-mails, developed a schedule, and disseminated workshop information to the selected artists. Through the process, I gained a better understand of technical requirements needed for a live show and learned about stage plots. There were a few scheduling conflicts along the way but that is part of the fun. The day finally came, it was very early, and day-light savings had just taken place. So, it was really early and everyone was tired. But as the artists arrived you could feel the excitement and see the smiles on their faces. Once the panelists and artists arrived the day began with an orientation I prepared. The first artist hit the stage and the day just seemed to fly by. Each artist had fifteen minutes to perform followed by twenty-five minutes of feedback. The feedback provided by the panelists was respectful and constructive. I felt like a proud parent watching the artists perform and receive their feedback. It was such a positive, inspiring experience.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to intern with the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta. It exposed me to the need and benefit of workshops and showcases for artists. The educational side of the industry never really crossed my mind. All other professions have access to training so why not musicians. This experience also introduced me to the emerging artists in Alberta and allowed me to network. I am new to this province so that was a very beneficial part of my experience. Since, my internship finished I have been telling everyone about the work that the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta does.
I hope to volunteer with the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta in the future and assist with Alberta Showcase! Thank you Shannon and Steve for all that you do! It is appreciated not only by me but also the artists across Alberta!
Zach Herbers, OnStage: Calgary Facilitator – SCiP Internship
I am a fourth-year Bachelor of Commerce student with a strong interest in the music industry, and SCiP was a great opportunity for me to get involved with organizing an important event, OnStage Calgary, which focused greatly on providing emerging Albertan musicians with a chance to perform and receive insightful and useful constructive feedback from a panel of music professionals. Prior to the event, I spent some time going through the artist applications for the Calgary event, which consisted of a diverse music styles, ranging from Pop, Country, Folk, Blues and R&B. I was impressed with the young age of many of these artists; it is always great to see young kids with the courage and ambition to get up on stage, perform, and receive the constructive criticism that all emerging artists need to perfect their craft.
Each artist that performed demonstrated not only the courage to perform live, but also a unique style and concrete musical strengths. This was really inspiring and encouraging; Alberta has a thriving music scene, and there is no question in my mind that opportunities such as OnStage can have a huge impact on encouraging and supporting talented musicians who are just beginning to perform live. Without programs like this, I doubt that Alberta music would be as diverse and fertile as it is today.
The critique panel was very impressive, as it consisted entirely of seasoned music industry professionals. I enjoyed the opportunity to sit in during the feedback sessions after each artist performed; 25 minutes of uncensored, real and constructive feedback was delivered. The panelists would give their honest opinions to the artists, giving them advice on both musical and promotional aspects, ranging from vocal and stage performance advice, to comments on genre and set list selection, as well as advice on how they, as musicians, can brand their own image and market themselves. From my experience sitting through these sessions, I can honestly say that much of this feedback was extremely valuable to the artists, as it is truly a rare opportunity for an artist to have the undivided attention of so many live music experts at once.
I would encourage any post-secondary student who wants experience in organizing a live music event to apply for the OnStage SCiP internship, as they will be given the opportunity to create the schedule according to genre and tech needs, as well as the responsibility of “running the show.” The opportunity to observe how industry professionals critique and value aspects of a live performance is also valuable for anyone who wants to be involved with live music in any capacity.
I would also strongly encourage all emerging Albertan musicians of any age to apply for OnStage. The feedback is priceless, and is a great experience for any musician seeking to improve their performance and image. It is also a great networking experience, as artists will meet facilitators of larger live events, agents and promotors. Any chance to perform live is important from a career perspective, but the added value of receiving feedback and networking are priceless, and can open doors for future opportunities. I hope that OnStage continues to thrive, and this can only happen when there are musicians taking advantage of the opportunity. I think that OnStage and SCiP are vital to the arts in Alberta, so I hope that awareness of the program and the value it can provide continues to increase with regards to both musicians and individuals like myself who have an interest in the music industry.