Musical Musings: 525,600 minutes with Kevin Wong
Tis I, loyal readers! #KevintheIntern! It seems unfathomable that it has been three months since my last entry, and I apologize for neglecting you and your thirsty minds (that sounds odd) for too long. It’s been a pretty wild couple of months, hasn’t it? A rebrand and name change! Passing Strange opened and closed! I tripped on another set of stairs! And and and, we showcased our two Banks Prize winners, Arinea Hermans and Jahlen Barnes, in a very successful Banks Prize Cabaret!
Did you know that in addition to being winners of the Syd & Shirley Banks Prize, Arinea and Jahlen are also two of our six RBC Apprentices? It’s true! This generous program allows us to take on six RBC Apprentices in total, each of whom is a marvel of talent and skill in their own right.
The RBC Apprentice Program offers six post-secondary artists one year of mentorship with The Musical Stage Company, learning from our local and visiting artists and receiving substantial showcase opportunities to help build the foundation for their careers. Our RBC Apprentice Program is made up of the winners of The Banks Prize and four emerging artists in different areas of production.
ROB KEMPSON, RBC Apprentice Director
First up, a real renaissance man: is Rob Kempson. In addition to his RBC Apprenticeship, Rob is the Associate Artistic Director at Thousand Islands Playhouse, and continues to run the immensely successful Songbook Series at Theatre Passe-Muraille following his time as Associate Artistic Producer there. He also worked as Artistic Producer of the Paprika Festival, and continues to work as a Resident Artist Educator at Young People’s Theatre! He also sings and acts and composes and arranges, and throws a killer holiday party. I had the opportunity to hang out with Rob for the month I was in Gananoque working on You Are Here, which Rob was Assistant Director on. We bonded through the rehearsal process, much food, and gossiping about boys (wait, no, that last one is the classic 1995 film The Babysitters’ Club, staring Rachael Leigh Cook).
Recently, Rob also came on board to stage and co-dramaturg the Banks Prize Cabaret, and I got to watch him work staging magic with real brilliance and speed. Arinea and Jahlen loved working with him, and he really helped them showcase their talents with humour, warmth, and sincerity.
Finally, Rob liked all my summer outfits, so you know his taste is good.
Rob’s play Trigonometry just closed after a run at the Factory Theatre. It was written and directed by Rob, and is the third play in the Graduation Series.
Also, I hope they celebrated with a good helping of apple π. π! Get it? Pie? π? No one has ever made this pun in the history of punnery! I slay me. Oh ho ho ho.
…3.141592654 (rounded up). I was really popular.
Orchestration/Arrangment: Aijia Waithe, Jonathan Gateretse and Jesse Ryan
© Aijia Waithe
DEANNA CHOI, RBC Apprentice Composer
Deanna was one of our eight composer-lyricists for the inaugural Make Me A Song with Regent Park School of Music Choir. Her song, along with the other seven songs, will be performed later this year at their Party in the Park. It’s a really clever and delightful ditty about human interactions as observed from the point of view of two crickets, and I can’t wait for the choir to tackle it!
Queen’s University Department of Drama winter production 2015, written by Erin Shields, directed by Kim Renders. Original score composed by Deanna Choi and performed by students in the department of drama.