Recent History – 2001
May 30, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The work of several Dawson Creek area residents has proven strong enough to win the attention of the B.C. Festival of the Arts, and they’ve been invited to attend the workshops in their respective callings.
Here’s a look at some of them:
Shannon McKinnon: Possibly best known for her column in the Western Producer, McKinnon has been trying for years to write her first book.
She’ll get plenty of help this week from Wayson Choy, the Trillium Award winning author of Jade Peony and Paper Shadows, based on his days growing up in Chinatown, who is teaching a workshop on writing non-fiction memoirs.
McKinnon’s work is also semi-autobiographical — usually about life on the farm. But making the jump from columns to books can be a challenge.
“You have to have more of a plot,” she said. “You just can’t take all these columns and stick them all together and call it a novel.”
It’s also a chance to mingle with other writers, something that a largely solitary occupation does not always afford.
Elizabeth Hastie: Some may remember Hastie from the honours concert where she played Aaron Copeland’s Cat and Mouse. She will also have played Beethoven’s Paphutique Sonata when she performs before a panel of judges Wednesday morning.
It’s not all about competition, however. “We get to see all the other people from around the province,” she said. “It’s really incredible, all the talent that you see coming up to these competitions.”
It’s the third time she’s been at the festival. She was part of the theatre group from South Peace Secondary School whose production of Midsummer Night’s Dream earned them a spot in Prince George three years ago. And two years ago, she was in Victoria to play piano.
Although entering the festival is a thrill, her big goal will be passing her grade 10 exam from the Royal Conservatory of Music. From there, she could start working toward becoming a professional, but Hastie plans on getting into environmental science once she graduates from high school.
But the thrill of performing is still in her. “Just being able to entertain people and make them see things in a way they haven’t seen,” she said of why she likes to take to the stage.
Kevin Voon: The 10-year-old played Bartok’s Bear Dance in the junior section Tuesday, coming away from the competition happy with his performance.
“I didn’t expect to get anything,” he said in reference to the fact that he was competing against older kids.
Voon, who practices 30-45 minutes each day, plans to take in more of the festival, which runs until June 3.
For a look at other local people taking part in the festival, see tomorrow’s Peace River Block Daily News.