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Local talent shines

LUNA prepares to host second Jam Lounge, with help of classically-trained singer



Singers readying for the upcoming Battle of the Bands competition may want to head to an upcoming jam session to learn how to properly warm up those vocal chords, first.

Late & Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA), a community group that offers innovative alternatives to nightlife activities in Whistler, is hosting their second jam lounge on Friday evening.

Kiran Pal-Pross, LUNA coordinator, says the workshop gives local musicians a chance to get together to perform in a stress-free environment.

“We’re basically giving people who are interested in singing and making music a place to jam and learn that is outside of the bar, so they don’t have an audience or the pressure of increasing beer sales,” Pal-Pross explained. “They just get together and have fun and practice with people that potentially could be new bands that will play at Battle of the Bands this year.”

The Jam Lounge, which is open to residents of any skill level in the Sea to Sky corridor, has been changed a bit this year, with experts brought in to offer advice and training for local talent.

“The idea came from just wanting to improve the program each year, so we started with jam lounge last year and it was just the music jam, and this year there were people interested in helping out more, so the last session was Rachel Thom, who was the winner of Battle of the Bands last year, and she produced a workshop on song-writing,” said Pal-Pross.

Nicole Fitzgerald, entertainment editor for Pique Newsmagazine and on-air personality for Shaw Cable, will kick off the next Jam Lounge with a vocal training workshop, to help interested musicians learn about the mechanics of the voice, voice conditioning and care, and performance.

“I think that anyone can learn something from a vocal training workshop, whether you think you know how to sing, or whether you’ve never had the courage to sing before, and it’s a crucial part of being part of a musical group of whatever genre.”

Pal-Pross says she was surprised to discover Fitzgerald’s extensive background in classical music.

“I saw Nicole on television performing at Millennium Place for some production and didn’t realize that she had that much talent and that much performance experience.”

Fitzgerald studied at the Royal Canadian Conservatory of Music in Victoria, B.C. and trained at the Sheridan College Musical Program in Ontario, going on to teach voice in middle schools and dance studios.

She also worked professionally in musical theatre for more than a decade, performing at a variety of events, ranging from the Charlottetown Festival in PEI and the Palace Grande Theatre’s Centennial Anniversary in Dawson City, Yukon to lead role in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in Toronto, Ontario.

  “Nicole is very supportive of LUNA … she says she wants to give back to the community, and she steps up when I ask,” said Pal-Pross.

The vocal training section of the workshop will run from 7 until 8 p.m., followed by an open music jam from 8 til 10:30 p.m. at the Spruce Grove Field House.


Anyone interested in attending should bring their instruments, and can catch a free shuttle from in front of Legends in Creekside at 6:15 p.m., or at the Village taxi loop at 6:40 p.m.

Generally LUNA events are 18 and over, but this event is all ages, and you don’t have to be a LUNA member. There is a $5 entry fee for non-members, and $3 fee for members.

The third and final Jam Lounge before the Battle of the Bands will be held in February, with a representative from SOCAN coming to speak about business issues, like licensing and royalties, associated with the music industry.

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