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Alan Small

Alan Small

Reporter

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he had been an editor, starting out on the night copy desk, then to assistant city editor, and starting in 2013, as editor of the Arts and Life section.

Alan grew up on a farm near Radway, Alta., population 200, and left the farm life and agriculture studies behind in 1988 to work in newspapers in the Alberta communities of Morinville, St. Albert and Medicine Hat until 1997, when he moved to Winnipeg.

While working nights at the Free Press, he took classes at the University of Manitoba during the day and he earned an arts degree in 2006. He found out there are many ways a major in German and a minor in film studies can come in handy.

He also has learned about kidney disease over the years, coping with its symptoms since 2006. He began dialysis treatments in 2017 and about two years later was one of the fortunate people to receive a kidney transplant.

 

Recent articles of Alan Small

Winnipeg choirs embracing holiday season of song after long silence

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

Winnipeg choirs embracing holiday season of song after long silence

Alan Small 4 minute read Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

Winnipeg’s choral groups will sing “Hallelujah” this month after three years of silent nights.

Groups such as the Winnipeg Singers, the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, the Winnipeg Boys Choir and others across the city have been silenced by the COVID-19 pandemic since their last Christmas performances in the winter of 2019.

The hush ends Sunday afternoon at the Crescent Arts Centre (525 Wardlaw Ave.) when the Winnipeg Singers present Lessons and Carols: A Canadian Christmas, which includes new choral works by Canadian composers such as Andrew Balfour, Mark Sirett, Steven Chatman and Dan Wiebe, as well as narrated essays by Gimli music researcher Muriel Smith that will link the story of Jesus Christ’s birth with contemporary issues such as diversity and equality.

The Singers got a jump on the season a week ago when they performed Lessons and Carols in Kelowna, B.C. They found they were as missed by a sold-out audience yearning to hear their voices as they were excited about being onstage again.

Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Yuri Klaz, who conducts the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and the Winnipeg Singers, has been leading concerts for 45 years.

Managing director Vicki Young is retiring from the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as it celebrates 50 years

Alan Small 5 minute read Preview

Managing director Vicki Young is retiring from the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as it celebrates 50 years

Alan Small 5 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

Those who pay special attention to milestone anniversaries will admire Vicki Young’s timing.

The managing director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, who has spent 20 years with the organization, announced at a board of directors meeting last week she would retire at the end of the 2022-23 season, the MCO’s 50th anniversary.

”It’s been a really good experience and I think the planets just aligned for this to be the best time to think about passing the torch to someone else,” Young says.

The orchestra has more than doubled its annual ticket revenues, seen its endowment fund grow to about $2.3 million from $40,000 and doubled its budget, all the while delivering 20 years of budgets without a deficit since Young took over from Rita Menzies in 2003.

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

Vicki Young helped steer the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra through the perils of the pandemic. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

William Prince dazzles audience at the Burt

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

William Prince dazzles audience at the Burt

Alan Small 4 minute read Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022

We’re in an era of truth and reconciliation, and Winnipeg music fans reconciled with some truth Saturday night.

William Prince is a star.

The Peguis First Nation singer-songwriter packed the Burton Cummings Theatre and mixed folk, country, pop, gospel and some hard-charging rock with a liberal dash of showmanship when he wasn’t dazzling the crowd with his warm singing voice and moving lyrics.

“Hello Treaty One territory!” the singer shouted, a rock ‘n’ roll version of a land acknowledgment, after opening with That’s All I’ll Ever Become.

Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022

Photo by Jenn Kostesky

William Prince packed the Burton Cummings Theatre and mixed folk, country, pop, gospel and some hard-charging rock with a liberal dash of showmanship.

WAG exhibition investigates how newspapers have presented information over the past century and a half

Alan Small 8 minute read Preview

WAG exhibition investigates how newspapers have presented information over the past century and a half

Alan Small 8 minute read Friday, Nov. 25, 2022

A newspaper is supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, the saying goes.

An upcoming Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibition focusing on the Winnipeg Free Press and its 150th anniversary aims to both comfort and afflict the newspaper, the media industry, and perhaps even the show’s visitors.

“Just like a newspaper,” quips Stephen Borys, the WAG’s director and chief executive officer.

Headlines: The Art of the News Cycle, which includes works from seven artists from across North America as well as archival material from the Free Press and the gallery’s permanent collection, will investigate, through an artists’ lens, the many changes that have taken place in how the Free Press and other news organizations let their readers know what’s going on in the world around them.

Friday, Nov. 25, 2022

Book’s guided tour of island scenes lets life imitate art

Alan Small 6 minute read Preview

Book’s guided tour of island scenes lets life imitate art

Alan Small 6 minute read Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022

Lake of the Woods has more than 14,500 islands, and there’s a scenic spot on every one of them.

It’s the only conclusion that can be made after gazing at some of the 230 paintings by artist Randolph Parker that are included in Islands: Lake of the Woods, an alluring new book published by Mayberry Fine Art, and a partner exhibition that will be on display at its two Winnipeg galleries until Dec. 18.

Parker has spent the past six years, off and on, visiting his friend, art dealer Bill Mayberry, who has a cottage on the north shore of the lake near Kenora that has served as the launching point of their exploration of the lake’s coves, bays, inlets, narrows and channels.

“When Bill and I are out on the lake, we work together unbelievably well; it is like two minds thinking the same,” says Parker, adding that Lake of the Woods reminds him of the lake-dotted landscape near Huntsville, Ont., where he grew up and fished with his father.

Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Gallery owner Bill Mayberry, right, and artist Randolph Parker have spent years exploring Lake of the Woods, which inspired Parker to paint 230 works of the area.

A Celtic Christmas to Disney heroes on ice: 5 fab events this week

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jen Zoratti, Ben Sigurdson and Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

A Celtic Christmas to Disney heroes on ice: 5 fab events this week

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jen Zoratti, Ben Sigurdson and Ben Waldman 5 minute read Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022

Disney on Ice presents Find Your HeroToday through Sunday, various timesCanada Life Centre, 300 Portage Ave.Tickets from $30 plus fees, Ticketmaster.ca

Things are going to get a bit Goofy this at Canada Life Centre this weekend.

Goofy, Mickey and the rest of the gang will lace up their skates and hit the ice as part of Disney on Ice presents Find Your Hero, featuring a mixed bag of characters, songs and routines based on a range of new and vintage Disney classics.

Making appearances as part of the event, which highlights heroes of all kinds from Disney productions, will be Moana and Maui from Moana, Belle, the Beast and all manner of enchanted objects from Beauty and the Beast, Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen as well as Rapunzel, Mickey, Minnie and more.

Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022

Feld Entertainment

Disney on Ice presents Find Your Hero includes characters from Moana.

Have jokes, will travel

Alan Small 5 minute read Preview

Have jokes, will travel

Alan Small 5 minute read Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Returning to the stage after the COVID-19 hiatus on live entertainment has brought back awkward memories for Ron James.

The 64-year-old comedian, actor and, most recently, bestselling author, feels the same heebie-jeebies — and ecstasy — when he begins his standup act in 2022 as he did when he was as green as a $20 bill.

“When the solo (spotlight) is staring at you like a judgmental eye of God and all the spit has left your mouth and it’s running down the palms of your hands… and you can’t remember your set and your heart is beating like a deer in the headlights and you’ve forgotten everything that you’ve rehearsed,” he recalls in the heavily descriptive style that’s made him famous across Canada.

“It’s really akin to stepping into space untethered to the mothership… In space, nobody can hear you laugh.”

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Ron James floats into the expanse that is the Burton Cummings Theatre on Saturday night, part of a 16-night western Canadian tour that began in Portage la Prairie Thursday. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun)

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 6 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 6 minute read Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Santa Claus is coming downtownSaturday, 3 p.m.

From Portage and Main to Memorial

Free to attend

The jolly old elf makes his annual appearance in Winnipeg this weekend during the Manitoba Hydro Santa Claus Parade in support of The Christmas Cheer Board.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press Files

The big man himself, riding atop his brand new float, winds up the annual Santa Claus Parade.

Ivan Eyre's vast body of work was rich with metaphor

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

Ivan Eyre's vast body of work was rich with metaphor

Alan Small 4 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022

David Loch found himself staring at the work of a genius when he first encountered an Ivan Eyre painting in 1969.

The artwork was hanging at a River Heights home, and that moment would lead the future art dealer, who founded Loch Gallery in St. Boniface in 1972, to a lifelong friendship with the Winnipeg artist, who died Nov. 5 at age 87.

“That painting did something to me because I’d never seen anything like it in my life and that painting was the thing that started everything with Ivan Eyre and what I thought of Ivan,” he says.

“I think he’s the greatest painter that this country has ever produced, or at least one of the greatest.”

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Winnipeg artist Ivan Eyre, who was born in Tullymet, Sask., in 1935, earned a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in 1957.

Dylan ruminates on quintessential songs of our time in his inimitable, wily way

Reviewed by Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

Dylan ruminates on quintessential songs of our time in his inimitable, wily way

Reviewed by Alan Small 4 minute read Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

What was it you wanted from Bob Dylan’s new book?

Those who wanted an autobiographical follow-up to Chronicles, Volume One, will be tangled up in blue because The Philosophy of Modern Song, with its short essays and odd collection of photos and illustrations, isn’t it.

Dylan the author, it appears, is exactly like Dylan the famously elusive singer-songwriter: someone who follows his own muse with little regard of what the world wants, or expects, from him.

That’s not to say Dylan fails to reveal a few slivers of his thoughts when he writes about some of his favourite songs or artists.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

The Philosophy of Modern Song

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 6 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 6 minute read Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022

Ariel Posen goes global on DowntownMonday, Nov. 14, 8 p.m.

Park Theatre

Tickets: $30.81, including fees, at myparktheatre.com and ticketweb.ca

A new EP from Winnipeg singer-songwriter Ariel Posen that was recorded in two countries and mixed in a third comes together for a launch party Monday night at the Park Theatre.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022

ANDREW VAUGHAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Old Man Luedecke (above), Fortunate Ones and The Once bring their Anchor’s Up tour to the West End Cultural Centre on Saturday.

Winnipeg legend Randy Bachman adds new chapter, featuring son, to remarkable history in music

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

Winnipeg legend Randy Bachman adds new chapter, featuring son, to remarkable history in music

Alan Small 4 minute read Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022

Randy Bachman is ready to add a new tale to the volume of rock ’n’ roll stories he’s collected during 60-plus years in the music business.

The former Winnipegger, who co-founded both the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, returns to Club Regent Event Centre tonight and Sunday for shows entitled The Greatest Stories Ever Told.

He’s excited about his latest work, in which he and his son Tal collaborated on a record and film project.

“I am so grateful to have this,” the Canadian rock royal says. “They call me the 12-hit wonder — six with the Guess Who and six with BTO. I’m looking forward to changing that to 13-hit wonder when I have a hit with Tal as Bachman-Bachman.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022

Randy Bachman

Bachman with the guitar he purchased to trade with Japanese musician Takeshi for his beloved Gretsch guitar, which was stolen in 1976.

Conductor has fond memories of time with WSO

Alan Small 6 minute read Preview

Conductor has fond memories of time with WSO

Alan Small 6 minute read Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

New music and old friends have made for a welcome return to Winnipeg for Andrey Boreyko.

The Polish-Russian conductor, who was the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s music director from 2001 to 2006, will be back at the podium leading the symphony when it continues its 75th-anniversary celebrations Saturday night.

He’s felt a flood of fond memories after returning to the city late Monday night and was looking forward to comparing the 2022 version of the WSO with the one he left behind after his five-year term.

“It was a great time for me here. It was all positive and I felt it was a good moment for myself to discover the North American continent,” he says, marking the Winnipeg New Music Festival in particular. “There are not many cities in the world where you can play seven, eight concerts in a week, the opportunity to play absolutely unknown music.

Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

An ovation welcomes Andrey Boreyko’s final appearance with the orchestra in 2006; the maestro is back on the podium Saturday night.

What’s up: Bros. Landreth at Burt, Ian Rankin at WAG, free shows at Forks

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson 6 minute read Preview

What’s up: Bros. Landreth at Burt, Ian Rankin at WAG, free shows at Forks

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson 6 minute read Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

Kate Beaton/Ian Rankin book launchesTuesday/Wednesday, 7 p.m.Muriel Richardson Auditorium, Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Blvd.)Tickets: From $38.10, mcnallyrobinson.com

A pair of high-profile writers in two very different genres stop by the Winnipeg Art Gallery next week to launch their latest books.

First up is Kate Beaton, who will launch her latest graphic novel on Tuesday at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands depicts the two years Beaton spent working in Alberta’s oilsands after university to pay off her student debts, detailing the people she met and the culture she experienced in the process.

In her review of Ducks for the Free Press, Nyala Ali said “This stunning graphic memoir… (is) an affecting coming-of-age narrative that delves into the larger sociopolitical issues at play in this contentious environment,” and that “this important book will no doubt continue to garner critical acclaim and inspire discussion, but audiences might also consider the personal cost incurred after sharing one’s experiences so unflinchingly on the page in such immersive, heartrending detail.”

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

Glen Foster’s first tour brought him to Winnipeg in 1982

Alan Small 5 minute read Preview

Glen Foster’s first tour brought him to Winnipeg in 1982

Alan Small 5 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Comedian Glen Foster has watched his hair turn grey and cellphones replace pagers since he began his standup touring career 40 years ago at the Fort Garry Hotel.

He is back in Winnipeg Thursday night to mark the anniversary, performing at the Limelight Nightclub for what he hopes will be the next step in his career.

A story in the Nov. 4, 1982, edition of the Free Press previewed the show and Foster keeps a grainy archive copy of it in his press kit all these years later.

“I haven’t used it in the last couple of decades, I guess,” he says of the clipping. “(The show) was something I thought would be a neat thing to do, to close the circle,” he says.

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Creating cross-continent harmonies kept roots band busy

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

Creating cross-continent harmonies kept roots band busy

Alan Small 4 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are back on their horses after the COVID-19 pandemic gave them a rough ride.

The Canadian roots music trio — Tom Wilson, Colin Linden and Stephen Fearing — was one of countless groups that put out records in the opening weeks of 2020 only to have them overshadowed by coronavirus tragedies and the months-long shutdown of the entertainment industry.

So instead of touring to promote the Jan. 24, 2020, release of Kings of This Town, Wilson, Linden and Fearing rode back to their respective homes and waited for the time when they could perform again.

That time in Winnipeg is on Wednesday when they play the Burton Cummings Theatre, and they’ll have a new album, O Glory, to show off and perform.

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022

Tom Wilson (from left), Colin Linden and Stephen Fearing are Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. (Maryanovich photo)

Sweet, sweet verdicts

Ben Waldman, Jen Zoratti, Eva Wasney, Alan Small, AV Kitching and Ben Sigurdson 6 minute read Preview

Sweet, sweet verdicts

Ben Waldman, Jen Zoratti, Eva Wasney, Alan Small, AV Kitching and Ben Sigurdson 6 minute read Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

Halloween is all about snacks.

Yes, there are costumes, 12-foot-tall skeletons and creepy pumpkins, but the reason we go door to door is to fill our bags and buckets to their fullest capacity with chewy, tangy, salty, sweet, caramely, tongue-numbingly sour candies and chocolates. Every trick-or-treater is on the hunt for their favourites — Mars bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Sour Patch Kids, bubble gum or toothbrushes. But what about those freebies that we always give away to our parents, siblings or friends, and never try for ourselves?

The Free Press arts and life team decided to sink its teeth into new edible territory, tasting for the first time a few cult classics, foreign specialties, locally made crunchies, and even a vegan-friendly pig snack. Yes, a vegan-friendly pig snack. Which ones are sick tricks, and which ones are honest-to-goodness treats?

BIG TURK tasted by Ben WaldmanI’ve always been fascinated by Big Turk. I’ve never seen anyone eat one, I’ve never heard anyone talking about one, and yet there they are, right on the shelf at every 7-Eleven.

Monday, Oct. 31, 2022

AV Kitching says Coffee Crisp is a "crime against candy." (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

WSO injects new blood into classic tale of ancient vampire

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

WSO injects new blood into classic tale of ancient vampire

Alan Small 4 minute read Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will be turning back the clock a week early tonight.

But it will be dialing it back 100 years, not just one hour, when it takes the stage at the Burton Cummings Theatre and performs the music and sound effects for a screening of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, a 1922 silent film considered to be the prototype for many horror films, especially ones focused on vampires.

Nosferatu, which was directed by F.W. Murnau, was a low-budget film by 1920s standards, but it used spooky sets and lighting — which became a hallmark of German expressionist cinema — to draw audiences in Germany and around the world, many of whom remained traumatized by the after-effects of the First World War.

The movie’s score, initially composed by Hans Erdmann, comes to the fore when performed by an orchestra, says Naomi Woo, the WSO’s assistant conductor, who will lead the symphony in tonight’s event.

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

Kino International

Max Schreck stars as Count Orlock in the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu.

On-ice skills put spotlight on natural leader

Alan Small 6 minute read Preview

On-ice skills put spotlight on natural leader

Alan Small 6 minute read Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

Glenda Buhr was a go-getter.

She competed at the highest levels in two sports — curling and lawn bowling from the 1960s to the 1990s — but also took on the often thankless task of organizing golf leagues, curling bonspiels and even setting up golf games with a large group of friends while on vacation.

Buhr died April 19 at age 87, after living with dementia for a few years.

She had an outgoing personality that drew people to her and made her a natural with leading groups of people, says her husband, Glen Buhr.

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

Spooky tunes for boys and ghouls

Ben Waldman, Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jill Wilson, AV Kitching, Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson 9 minute read Preview

Spooky tunes for boys and ghouls

Ben Waldman, Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jill Wilson, AV Kitching, Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson 9 minute read Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Halloween dominates October like Christmas dominates November and December, but while the yuletide soundtrack is vast and never-ending, with songs in every genre imaginable, All Hallow’s Eve is sorely lacking in musical accompaniment.

We can only listen to Bobby Pickett’s Monster Mash — which debuted 60 years ago — so many times before wanting to chop our ears off.

So the Free Press staff worked in the lab late one night and (de)composed this playlist of songs that should be played on and around Oct. 31, even if they aren’t traditional Halloween tunes. |

Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Timely dual exhibitions put beauty, brutality on display

Alan Small 6 minute read Preview

Timely dual exhibitions put beauty, brutality on display

Alan Small 6 minute read Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

The beauty of art and the horrors of war are shown one after the other in two new immersive art exhibitions opening Monday at Oseredok, Winnipeg’s leading Ukrainian cultural centre and museum.

The first, The Immersive World of Ukrainian Art, looks at the country’s rich cultural past through the lenses of two of its most famous artists: Maria Prymachenko, a 20th-century painter whom Pablo Picasso described as “an artistic miracle,” and Taras Shevchenko, the 19th-century writer and painter who is called Ukraine’s poet laureate.

Shevchenko’s fame and his connection to Ukraine is known around the world — there are Shevchenko monuments all over, including two in Winnipeg. Prymachenko’s is no less vital, Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine’s former ambassador to Canada, said Wednesday night at a special reception at Oseredok.

“This lady survived the Holodomor, World War II, survived the Communists… she had so much faith and compassion and it’s amazing to see those bright colours at the tip of her paintbrush today,” said Shevchenko, who dedicated the exhibitions to his brother, a military commander who was killed in the fighting in July.

Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Supplied

Untitled by Sylvester Sam Samila is on display as part of The Immersive World of Ukrainian Art.

What’s up

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Halloween programming at CinemathequeSaturday, from 10 a.m.Cinematheque, 100 Arthur St.Tickets: from $10 ($6 members) at winnipegfilmgroup.com

There’s nothing quite like a scary movie to get you in the mood for Halloween, and this Saturday Cinematheque is bringing the big-screen screams all day.

Things kick off at 10 a.m. with the Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party: Halloween Edition, a throwback to the “good old days” when Saturday morning cartoons, spooky or otherwise, ruled the roost. Kids (and kids at heart) will enjoy three hours of Halloween-themed cartoons, public service announcements, commercials and more. The event, curated by David Bertrand, also features all-you-can-eat cereal, with dairy-free options available.

In the afternoon and evening things get downright spooky, as Cinematheque presents Aurora Gorealis, a horror movie marathon featuring creepy Canadian classics. At 3 p.m. comes the 1981 film The Pit, directed by Lew Lehman and featuring a 12-year-old boy who is bullied until he discovers a pit in the woods full of man-eating creatures called Trogs. At 5 p.m. it’s Pin, the 1988 film directed by Sandor Stern, the tale of the titular plastic medical dummy who comes home to live with Leon — before things go south.

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Supplied

Kevin McDonald headlines Winnipeg Comiccon this weekend.

Celebrating 25 years of big band a real kick in the brass

Alan Small 4 minute read Preview

Celebrating 25 years of big band a real kick in the brass

Alan Small 4 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra began in 1997 with a germ of an idea and an inauspicious beginning.

Richard Gillis and Sasha Boychouk believed there was room in Winnipeg for a big-band orchestra, featuring the city’s top jazz players and following a community model that helped launch the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1948.

“I just thought there was a need for something like that, and I see that all over the place. There should be a Vancouver Jazz Orchestra and there should be a Toronto Jazz Orchestra,” says Gillis, a flugelhorn player, University of Manitoba music professor, conductor and the WJO’s artistic director.

“That fall we put together a group. We played the first two concerts for nothing — we sort of pooled the money — and it was a good thing because we would have been broke after the first concert.”

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

For travelling musicians, valuable instruments are more than mere luggage

Alan Small 8 minute read Preview

For travelling musicians, valuable instruments are more than mere luggage

Alan Small 8 minute read Friday, Oct. 21, 2022

JD Edwards is no white-knuckle flier.

But the singer-songwriter was gripped by anxiety on Aug. 30 while returning to Winnipeg from a music festival in Tønder, Denmark, where he performed with Cara Luft as part of the Small Glories.

It wasn’t the turbulence he felt on the two flights, nor any worries about contracting COVID-19 that had him rattled. His fears shot up when gate agents said there was no room in the main cabin for his Stonebridge DS-33 acoustic guitar and the case that protected it.

Edwards would have to check it, and the guitar and its case would have to ride home in cargo with the rest of the luggage, loaded, unloaded and loaded again by baggage handlers on the two flights back home.

Friday, Oct. 21, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

JD Edwards of the Small Glories has travelled far and wide with his Stonebridge DS-33 acoustic guitar.