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Crowe Flies Home to Nanaimo

Annual Tidings concert series a holiday highlight for music lovers

Amanda Davis, The Mind's Eye, December 2009

Nanaimo-born Allison Crowe returns home to celebrate this holiday season following her year of touring and concerts in such cities as Vienna, Munich, Prague and Berlin.

Allison, who now lives in Newfoundland, is bringing her puppy, a “wiener dog” named Link, and plenty of cheer this season for two local events. Billed as "music for the season and all time" the annual Tidings concert stirs together traditional Christmas carols and holiday favourites with an organic blend of rock, jazz, folk, gospel and soul

"Be prepared to be amazed," says And they're right: Allison's version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah has reached 4,401,122 views on YouTube and is always a highlight of the "Tidings" shows.

To warm up for the concert, join Allison
Wednesday, December 9 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. outside Lobelia’s Lair and other shops in the Old City Quarter for a free "Cookies, Cocoa, and Carols". This is part of the OCQ merchants’ "Light Up a Life" campaign to help Haven Society by collecting non-perishable foods, clothes and toys for families in need.

Count on joy, thrills and more fun Saturday, December 12 when Allison and a cavalcade of guests present “Tidings" at St. Andrew's United Church (311 Fitzwilliam). This annual concert event aids the Woodlands Secondary School Basketball and Band Programs - well-springs of a new generation of athletes and musicians and is also an inspired partner to The Mind’s Eye. Published since 1998 by Nanaimo Youth Services Association with sponsorship from Nanaimo Daily News, The Mind's Eye is a platform for young people to express their knowledge, opinions, and ideas in print media and on the NYSA web site for the world to see.

"In my three years as Managing Editor of The Mind's Eye, I've worked with many talented and passionate young writers, artists, and photographers who tell me that their participation has impacted them in a positive way; seeing their work in a real newspaper makes them feel proud and boosts their
confidence," says Amanda Davis. "We're very happy to team up with Allison again this year."

Allison Crowe - Mind's Eye - Photo by Billie Woods

The 2009 line-up of opening talent for "Tidings" includes Emily Blake ~ currently starring in the musical, "A Very Sticky Christmas", taking place at Theatre BC. In February she’s off to compete as a soprano vocalist at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. Emily is a Grade 9 student at Woodlands Secondary School.

Band teacher Rick Becker of the Woodlands Music program mentors Emily and many young musicians today, just as he did when Allison Crowe attended Woodlands. Emily studies voice and piano with Sharon and Laura Wishart.

Vocal coach Andrea Bertram, also a mentor to Allison, teaches several Tidings singers, each of whom will be backed by pianist Chelsea Peckett, official accompanist for the Andrea Bertram Studio. Chelsea, a graduate of Woodlands, is a veteran of music festivals, concert, dinner theatre, and Tidings. This year she joins Hayley Read, an experienced festival and musical theatre performer,
currently studying the role of "The March Hare" in the Kirkwood Academy production of "Alice in Wonderland" for May 2010. A Grade 12 student at Wellington Secondary School, Hayley is a member of the indie-rock duo "Emanate".

Also performing is Kiana Smith, a ‘triple-threat’ performer who recently won the Regional Finals of the Legion Talent Competition. A Grade 8 student at Dover Bay Secondary School Kiana is another Kirkwood performer and will be playing "The White Rabbit" in "Alice in Wonderland"; Mathew Walker is in Grade 11 at Dover Bay Secondary School, Mathew has just concluded a role in the Dover Bay Theatrix Production of "The Boy Friend" and is an experienced performer  in concerts and music festivals. Like Allison Crowe, he is a former VIEX "Songbird" winner; Taylor Manns attends Wellington Secondary in Grade 10. As well as being another ‘triple-threat’ performer, she’s been awarded top honours at numerous jazz festivals for her vocals. Taylor will be lending character to the "Cheshire Cat" in Kirkwood’s production of "Alice in Wonderland"; Brynn Newman, now in her first year at Vancouver Island University studying business. was a gold ticket finalist at the last Canadian
Idol. Brynn is a veteran of festivals, competitions, dinner theatres and concerts and several “Tidings” shows.

Tickets available at Andrea Bertram Studio, Lobelia's Lair, NYSA, House of Indigo, Thrifty Foods (Longwood Stn. and Port Place stores), Woodlands Secondary and

Photo / Billie Woods




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