Whistler singer-songwriter JennaMae Togado is in the happy situation of spending her honeymoon in New Zealand as her filmmaker husband Ben Webb shoots some early spring ski and snowboard action.
Got to love that Southern Hemisphere seasonal difference.
"We've been here for about two weeks now. My husband (she laughs and adds, 'I can say that now!') had to work right after the wedding (which took place on Aug. 25 in Pemberton).
"If we were to choose a place to honeymoon, it probably would have been a beach, but it's nice because there is a lot of powder here!"
Yes, the newlyweds got some shredding in, too.
"The woman we were filming, (American slopestyle snowboarder) Jamie Anderson, is a really good friend. We went to Lake Wanaka and to the Cardrona (Alpine Resort) for a World Cup event," Togado says.
Anderson won her slopestyle event at Winter Games NZ at Cardrona, the first World Cup competition of the 2017-2018 season.
"It feels like it's been a bit of a rat race. We've been going, going, going since the wedding," Togado laughs.
The pace doesn't exactly slow down much on her return, either.
"When we get back, we hit the ground running even more," she says.
Togado is performing alongside her buddies in The Groove Section (comprised of Juan Del Castillo on guitar and vocals, Art Barrientos on bass and vocals, and Andrew Alito on drums) at the Whistler Village Beer Festival (WVBF) at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 16. The festival runs from Sept. 13 to 17.
And she performs a week later at Arts Whistler's second annual celebration of local music, The Hear and Now Festival, together with Lozen and the Groove Section. They play at Village Square on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m. The festival is a showcase of local talent, with 18 different acts over two days.
Asked how long she has been performing, Togado has to stop and think back.
"I'm originally from Calgary, and I started performing there — as in performing and getting paid — when I was maybe 13 or 14," she says.
"They had to shoo me out of the bar when it was later. I was only allowed to sing the first set, and they'd say, 'Here is $50.'"
Now 31, Togado moved to Whistler seven years ago and won the Make Your Mark music competition at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub two years ago. She met the Groove Section around the same time.
"They're like my family," she says.
"It's really exciting to play with them, and we're in the same vibe all the time. I miss them right now!"
By the time October rolls around, Togado and Webb will be travelling again for a filmmaking project, this time to Switzerland.
"It's kind of cool playing the wife part and travelling to places I've never been," she says.
"It's great to hear what music they like. In New Zealand, they love a lot of dub, reggae, and music that is kind of electronic-but-not. I played an open mic here when we stayed in Wanaka and it was really cool to feel the different atmosphere.
"It's made me more itchy for travelling, you could say."
Togado has started writing a lot of music with the Groove Section.
"We have a song that's a total Whistler song. It's called, 'It's My Friday Tonight,' and it has become one of my favourite songs. It's fun because it's about how no one in Whistler has a nine-to-five job, and everyone is always saying 'It's my Friday!' when it's a Tuesday," she says.
"It's a high-energy song and we will probably play it at the beer festival. It's awesome, I'm really proud of it."
There are recording plans in the future, but Togado says it is early days.
A flex pass for entry into the Main Event at WVBF is $59 and can be purchased at www.gibbonswhistler.com. There are other tickets and events available.
For more information on the Hear and Now Local Music Festival, visit www.artswhistler.com/hearandnow.