Augustana Choir Tour: A Recap From the Choir President

BY SIERRA NAPIER / DAGLIGTALE FREELANCE WRITER

The Augustana Choir (TAC), led by the brilliant Dr. John Wiebe, spent the latter half of reading week touring rural Alberta. With stops in Castor, Stettler, Coronation, Medicine Hat, & Drumheller, TAC enjoyed musical workshops with all levels of schools along with full evening performances open to all. We sang fruity songs (quite literally) with elementary schools, taught them dances, and enveloped ourselves in the energy of their young enthusiasm. Seeing the utter joy on the faces of children as we sing is a feeling that touches the soul; it can hardly be put into words.

The transition to working with junior high students was admittedly harder than the reassuring/encouraging “wow” constantly leaving the mouths of elementary kids. Though many junior high students were too cool for school (and for showing emotions), some couldn’t hide their wide eyes and agape mouths when our sopranos soared on their high notes. The high school workshops were a blast, we fed off their awe, and we’re sure we inspired excitement in students towards attending Augustana. We hope our performances planted seeds in the minds of students for pursuing Augustana or even just music itself.

All of the schools we visited across rural Alberta showed some degree of passion for music—whether it be glee in listening to our chamber choir, excitement to sing along with us, or silliness towards learning dance moves. The protection and preservation of music in schools is critical to a healthy and happy society. What else affects the soul quite like music? Singing releases endorphins, provides an escape from the monotonous stresses of life, provides a basis for bonding and a sense of community, and allows humans (and non-human animals) to create sounds that touch hearts and lift spirits. Seeing the effect of our harmonies on audiences will forever be one of my favourite life-experiences that brings tears to my eyes and a literal warmth to my insides—and though that is admittedly corny, if you know, you know.

The Augustana Choir’s next stop is the Edmonton Winspear Centre on March 29th, alongside the UofA’s Madrigal Singers & renowned Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, performing Franz Joseph Hayden’s Harmoniemesse. The final weeks of the TAC term will be in preparation for our final performance of the 2019/2020 year: our spring concert on April 18th.

It is undoubtedly important to support music, not only at Augustana, but in everything we do. Just think! How beautiful it is that we are capable of producing such wonder and can share it with the world. I hope to see many smiling faces at the final concert. Tickets for students are $5 if purchased five minutes before the concert (located in the Faith & Life Chapel)—consider it a study break, a nourishment for your mental health. Please allow us to share our music with you. All of our hard work over this school year has been building up to this final performance. If you promise to bring eager ears, we’ll promise to leave our hearts on the stage.

With love,

The Augustana Choir President

(Editor’s Note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Augustana Choir’s concert at the Winspear Centre and its April 18 spring concert have been cancelled. However, if you’re a student who’ll be back at Augustana next year, and you think this sounds like a fun time, come on down and audition this September! This editor can assure you that yes, it really is a great time.)

Chicago: An Excellent Production

BY MAVEN BODDY / DAGLIGTALE FREELANCE WRITER

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The Churchmice Players of Camrose have put together another amazing show: Chicago. This thrilling musical and Broadway hit came to life in Camrose on opening night, February 6, 2020. The story features two murderesses being defended by the same lawyer. The only catch is that they are using the publicity of their trials to gain more publicity and fame than the other so they can have celebrity status when they are free of charges.

The cast includes people from Camrose and surrounding communities including Beaumont, Wetaskawin, and Millet. Set in the roaring twenties, the lively dance and musical numbers throughout the show feature impressive choreography. Moments of humour interspersed throughout the show keep the audience laughing and enjoying themselves. Assistant choreographer, Signe Peake, commented how proud she was of everybody regardless of experience level: “everyone did amazing!” The performers and backstage crew emphasized how hard everyone had worked to put this show together.

Since September, these amateur performers have been meeting to learn the script along with musical numbers and extensive corresponding choreography. Augustana student Kyra Gusdal enjoys “the opportunity to get off campus and participate in something so fun,” not to mention connecting with fellow performers in the process. The show’s set designer, Todd Sikorski, is highly praised for making a backdrop for the action to unfold on. Scot Lorenson did an excellent job at his first time directing, casting, and making every moment on stage engaging. One of the leads, Brittany Johnson (Roxie Hart), commented that her experience “being part of the show has been amazing… the venue is also amazing and has made for a really fun time.” The Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Center is an outstanding venue for a lively show like Chicago to wow audiences. The best part of the show is the attention to detail in everything from perfectly-timed dance moves to visually immaculate poses and of course the singing. Definitely a must-see musical by the community Churchmice Players.

I’M WATCHING

AN ORIGINAL SHORT STORY BY AVNEET GREWAL

Look at the sky.

Look at the ground.

Look anywhere.

His words echoed in my head. I looked at the sky it was blue, a clear blue. I thought how unfortunate. It didn’t fit the mood. The grass I was standing on was a lush green. Pity that it wasn’t dead, like him.

The sky, the ground, anywhere I looked it was perfect. The day was perfect. The wind was blowing slightly; enough to keep you cool from the sun. The sun was fanning across the open fields enough to keep warm from the breeze.

I looked at where Jacob was standing; he was looking down at the casket staring at his own bed as he was lowered into the ground. His own eyes were confused as he looked up and locked his eyes with me. His lips were pulled into a thin line.

I pulled my gaze away from his and looked at my mother. Her hand was covering her mouth as tears rolled down her cheeks. Her shoulders shook with her sobs. My father was standing stone-faced, anger filled his misted eyes. My older brother’s head was hunched over, his hands trembled as he wiped at his face.

I watched because what else could I do? Crying wasn’t something I was capable of. Not where I was.

I turned my eyes back to Jacob; he had turned his eyes towards his family. The shattered and broken shells they were turning into.

Look at the sky.

Look at the ground.

Look anywhere.

I turned my head to the sky again before finally turning around. There it was. Mine.   

Rosalee Lane Vassberg

August 4th 1999 – December 24th 2017

Look at the sky.

Look at the ground.

Look anywhere.

But not here- that’s what he was trying to say. Look anywhere but not at me, yet I didn’t listen. I looked at him, trying to blink the blood out of my eyes. The stinging was harsh, but I had to see him.

He was worse. His head was bleeding badly, his legs were crushed and his breathing was laboured.

He died there. In front of me, and I followed.

Teenagers, drinks, cars, and blood.

Jacob was looking at me this time when I turned my head towards him. He was crouched by his tombstone. The graveyard held a gloom of sadness, no matter what the weather, it affected us as well. We were always stuck here. Everyone that came here was stuck here.

All the mourners, my family, his family. Everyone was gone.

Snow covered every inch of the ground, dead grass underneath the smooth blankets of white. The dead under the dead grass.

He ran his fingers over his name.

Jacob Becker Leckie

July 24th 1998 – December 24th 2017

Seasons passed summer, fall, winter, and then spring again and then repeat. My family came every week, then every month, and then twice a year. The day I died and the day I was born.

My brother cried over his lost friend and his sister. My mother cried over a lost daughter. My father cried out of anger. He cried over me the most. He cried when no was watching. I was watching. Jacob was watching. Slowly their tears stopped and their words came. Soon those stopped too and only flowers came with empty stares.

And we watched. That’s all we could do. Watch, because, we died.

We left a hole so big in the lives of our loved ones that nothing could fill it, not even time. We lived our life believing that no one cared about us. We lived thinking we were invincible, that nothing could touch us.

But here we were invisible not invincible. Learning that people did care, we were the ones who didn’t care back.

My mother grew old, and died. My father grew old and died. They stood next to us giving us sad smiles. Jacobs’s parents came.

We watched my brother come year after year until finally he never left himself.
Soon no one was giving us flowers.

The life we had, we wasted, and then we faded.

(Originally published December 11, 2019)

THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTMAS

AN ORIGINAL POEM BY SIERRA NAPIER

one morning you awaken and something’s shifted
you can feel it, the tingle in your fingertips
the world outside glitters
as does your heart
that undeniable urge to bake

crushing candy canes for cupcakes
prayers for Jesus and lists for Santa
the velvety sweet sounds of Michael Bublé
snowball fights and gingerbread houses
gliding on the ice, twirling like tinsel

lingering under the mistletoe
love and charity
stories around the fireplace
the Polar Express and Elf and the Grinch
the perfect ratio of marshmallows to hot chocolate

(Originally published December 11, 2019)

AUTUMN ACHES

AN ORIGINAL POEM BY SIERRA NAPIER

as with the leaves
we wake one brisk morning
and our colour has faded
winds have stripped our glory
breezes stress our limbs
we ache
as with the ravine
we wake one brisk morning
and our flow has halted
chills have captured our essence
frost glitters our surfaces
we ache
as with the season
we wake one brisk morning
and our bodies yearn for cuddles
mugs brew with pumpkin spice
bowls bear creamy soups and hearty stews
this is it, the sweater weather we have ached for
(Originally published November 6, 2019)

AUGUSTANA ALUM HOLDS ALBUM RELEASE CONCERT

BY ALIZA GRAHAM / DAGLIGTALE STAFF WRITER

On Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, Ryan Lindsay, an Augustana alumnus, returned to campus for his first studio album’s release concert at the Cargill Theatre in the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. Lindsay is an emerging Canadian Country artist from Wainwright, Alberta. He has a degree in Outdoor Education and he is described as a wilderness guide turned singer. Prior to his music career he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, solo hiked the Greenland fjords, canoed the Arctic Ocean through the tundra, and guided extended backcountry trips across Canada.


Lindsay’s fearless love and passion for the world around him resonates now through his music. He launched his solo career last spring with his first single release, Doin’ Alright—a song that highlighted his decision to move from the guiding world and become an electrician in order to fund his own music career. Lindsay played bars from the age of eighteen while fronting a country cover band, studied improvisation on the side in university, and acted in musical theatre. His dynamic songwriting is wide-ranging; some themes covered in his music would be outdoor-based nostalgia, reflections on love, life tribulations, or classic country sounding melodies and cowboy tunes that he says, “you can stomp on the hardwood floor to.”


The concert began with an introduction of Lindsay’s accomplishments in his Country music career. In the past year Lindsay released two singles and his first music video ‘Wild’, he claims that the song ‘Wild’ changed his life. He won Country 105’s Rising Star competition, performed on the mainstage of Country Thunder, made the Top 10 Ballot for ACMA male country artist of the year, performed on the Nashville North stage at the Calgary Stampede, and recently the most voted ACMA artist to perform on the MDM stage at 2019 CCMA Week.


Before each song Lindsay told stories or introduced the topic that inspired his music, explaining the significance and the message behind his songs. Some of these topics included his experience in college, the power of positive thinking, enjoying the little moments, growing up, becoming connected to places, the impact of forest fires, and an appreciation of the environment. He also mentioned some of his musical influences, mainly Garth Brooks, as well as music his dad showed him from bands such as The Eagles and The Doobie Brothers. He talked about how great it was to be back in Camrose at Augustana campus, and stated: “Being an Augustana Alum is the best thing in the world.” Lindsay spent three years in Mannskor and his last year in the Augustana choir; he acknowledged Augustana Choir conductor John Wiebe for helping him become a better singer. After the intermission, Lindsay had the Augustana Choir perform his song on stage for an amazing performance showcasing the collaboration of Country music and the Augustana Choir.


Lindsay spoke about the importance of chasing opportunities, dreams, and ambitions. He is an energetic and enthusiastic performer and musician. He had the whole crowd engaged, singing and clapping along and created a vibrant energy throughout the concert. Overall, he and his bandmates sounded great and had a lot of fun onstage performing, it was a memorable performance by the country star, and one you would not want to miss! For more about him and his upcoming show dates visit his website, ryanlindsaymusic.com.

(Originally published November 6, 2019)

10th Annual Nordlys Ready to “Light Up” Camrose

BY KIRANDEEP SINGH

The 10th Nordlys Film and Arts Festival is coming to Camrose once again, from Feb. 15 to 17 at the Bailey Theatre. Nordlys means “northern lights” and the festival features a wide range of cinema from across Canada and around the world. The festival has a full weekend of films, special guests, and live music. This year’s lineup includes films from Russia, Switzerland, Finland, Germany, USA, and Canada.

One of the highlights of the festival is the guest list of speakers who attend the weekend. This year, speakers will include producer Mary Sexton, director Josh Wong, musician/producer Blake Reid, filmmaker Jenny Rustemeyer, among others.
Each guest will be available to answer questions, talk about their background working on their specific film, and their experience working in the film and Canadian film industry. Over the weekend, there will also be a line-up of local performers will be providing musical entertainment in the Bailey Theatre, including The Blake Reid Band, #9, The Olson Brothers and several others.
The Nordlys Film Festival is important to Camrose as it provides attendees the opportunity to meet guest filmmakers and musicians. It enables people to be able to have wonderful discussions about the films. The aim of the festival is simply offers great films, music, and community. It also gives people a chance to interact with the artists performing. They have board and committee members, sponsors and festival volunteers. They have no paid staff and the festival is completely volunteer run. There is a tradition of wearing “black and white” on the Friday Opening Night. Some people like to really dress up and others just wear black jeans and a white t-shirt or something fun.

For more information, such as ticket price, bios on the guest musicians and filmmakers, and volunteering opportunities, visit the Nordlys’ website.

Photo credit: The Nordlys Facebook

How Could I Resist You? Getting to Know the Mamma Mia! Cast

BY AMIELLE CHRISTOPHERSON

If you’re looking for something to warm you up during this cold snap, look no further than the Mamma Mia! production currently happening at the Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. A Churchmice Players production, Mamma Mia! features all your favourite ABBA songs, as well as several Augustana students! We asked them to answer a few questions about how they got involved with the Churchmice Players, how they’ve enjoyed community theatre, and we hope you’ll make your way out this weekend (from Feb. 14-17) to take in the production. Tickets can be purchased online through the Lougheed website or in person at the Box Office from 9 – 4:30.

Kristin Bergman’s Answers:

  1. What character do you play in this performance? I don’t play a principal character in Mamma Mia! but I am an extra as well as a member of the chorus and dance troupe.
  2. How did you get involved in Mamma Mia!? What drew you to trying out and getting involved? I was told about the show by a friend who auditioned with me. Being a fan of acting, singing, dancing, and of the show itself it was impossible to say no to the chance to be a part of it.
  3. What’s been something you’ve learned doing this that surprised you? I’m surprised at how much I’ve learned about acting and putting on a show just by being a background character. I assumed that being an extra would just mean smiling and singing, but it’s amazing how much fun and personality you can put into it that really brings the whole show to life. Also, watching the fabulous leads we have has given me a lot of ideas about how to improve my own acting.
  4. What’s been your favourite part of getting involved in the Camrose community in such a different and creative way? The show has been ton of fun, and the best part has been working with this whole community of wonderful people to create such a great product. I feel so much pride in myself and everyone around me every time we perform a scene that we’ve spent months trying to perfect and finally nail it!
  5. Why should students come out and see this play? Students should come to the show to laugh, dance, and support the actors and Churchmice Players community that has put so much time and dedication towards this production. Any fan of ABBA and/or musicals is going to have a lot of fun watching no matter what.
  6. Would you recommend trying out for something like this to other students and why? I would absolutely recommend trying out for community theatre. It’s a great way to build confidence and step outside your comfort zone if you haven’t done anything like it before because you have a whole community of people right there with you for support. If you do have experience with theatre it’s still a lot of fun and provides many opportunities to learn.
  7. Would you do something like this again? I plan to audition again and do as many shows as I can while I’m in Camrose. I’m having a blast!

 

Day Bulger’s Answers:

  1. What character do you play in this performance? Sophie Sheridan

  2. How did you get involved in Mamma Mia!? What drew you to trying out and getting involved? I love the story line! It is my mum’s favorite movie and we watch it together all the time. Also, I have never had the opportunity to do musical theatre, so it was a great opportunity to try something new and get involved in the community.

  3. What’s been something you’ve learned doing this that surprised you? I was surprised to meet such a welcoming and enthusiastic community of people. Since I am new to acting, I have relied on the guidance of the production team and my fellow actors in Churchmice Players. They have really helped me to explore my role and adapt to the demands of the stage. 🙂

  4. What’s been your favourite part of getting involved in the Camrose community in such a different and creative way? I have greatly enjoyed attending rehearsals and taking an active role in creating the scenes. Singing and dancing alongside this dynamic cast has helped me to replenish my energy stores after a long day of studying.

  5. Why should students come out and see this play? Several Augustana students are involved in the production and we have all been working hard to make this a great show. You won’t want to miss it!

  6. Would you recommend trying out for something like this to other students and why? Absolutely! It is a great way to meet new people and do something outside of school. It has been a lot of work of course, but it has been worth it!

  7. Would you do something like this again? Doing this production has helped me to discover a new passion. I definitely intend to get involved in Churchmice productions in the future!

 

Jamie Grunwald’s Answers:

  1. What character do you play in this performance? I’m a chorus member – which doesn’t mean that I’m not important, it just means that I get to dance more and worry about memorizing lines less.
  2. How did you get involved in Mamma Mia!? What drew you to trying out and getting involved? I did theatre for a number of years throughout junior high and high school, and I missed being in theatre productions and wanted a chance to re-engage my creative side. Day (Bulger) was also an influence in encouraging me to come out; plus, ABBA music is always a good idea.  
  3. What’s been something you’ve learned doing this that surprised you? I have learned a number of singing tips while rehearsing for the show. I have not sung on stage for close to five years, so it was fun to learn some new things and build up my technique a little bit again!
  4. What’s been your favourite part of getting involved in the Camrose community in such a different and creative way? It’s really enjoyable to get to know people from the community outside of school. Even just recognizing other cast members at the grocery store or seeing them at volunteering events has increased my sense of community with Camrose as a whole and it’s fun to be connected through the experience of this theatre production.
  5. Why should students come out and see this play? Students may already be familiar with Mamma Mia! through the movie, but the musical has extra songs and details that add to the show and the story. I also really enjoy going to theatrical productions because of the experience of theatre, and, as previously stated, ABBA music is always a good idea.  
  6. Would you recommend trying out for something like this to other students and why? Although the Augustana community is great to be a part of, engaging with the larger Camrose community is also incredibly rewarding. Community theatre is a lot of fun because it’s open to people of all theatrical backgrounds and newbies are always welcome. Plus, musical productions are a great opportunity to let loose, make some new friends, and dance your heart out.
  7. Would you do something like this again? Absolutely – once a theatre kid, always a theatre kid.

NaNoWriMo a Thrilling Opportunity for Budding Novelists

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BY KIRANDEEP SINGH

Interested in writing a book but lack the time to properly commit? National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) provides writers the motivation to write and finish a book within a month. NaNoWriMo takes place in the month of November and helps writers stay on track at no cost. The organization believes in the transformational power of creativity. They offer encouragement, structure, and help writers achieve their goals through their platform online.

Writers begin working towards starting and finishing a 50,000 novel, from Nov. 1 to Nov 30. Writers cannot write their novel on the site but are welcome to share an excerpt and synopsis. They are able to update their word count to keep track of their progress until the uploading date. Starting Nov. 20, writers are allowed to upload their full piece for submission until the end of the month where the NaNoWriMo team will begin to select a winner. More information can be found on their website.

Not interested in writing a long piece of creative writing? Augustana finally has a creative writing club called the Live Poets’ Society! The purpose of the club is to promote an appreciation for the literary arts by providing a safe space for literary creation, including development and performance. It also encourages helpful collaboration between authors. The club welcomes all sorts of creativity, including but not limited to: short fiction, long fiction, poetry, slam poetry, and spoken word. The Live Poets’ Society gathers every Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Theatre Building across from the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.

More information can be found on the club’s Facebook page or from the club president, Isabella Bourque, who can be contacted at auguslamma@gmail.com.

Editors’ Note: The NaNoWriMo website also has a variety of Pep Talks from authors such as Neil Gaiman, Tamora Pierce, Justina Ireland, Brian Jacques, Audrey Niffenegger, John Green, etc. for those who need some extra inspiration!

 

Images courtesy of National Novel Writing Month