St. Albert’s Amplify Festival ignites wild creativity

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PREVIEW
St. Albert Amplify Festival
Oct. 13 and 14
Kinsmen Banquet Centre
47 Riel Dr.
Tickets: $10 for concerts and workshops. Visit http://www.eventbrite.ca

When you boil St. Albert Amplify Festival down to its essence, it is a vibrant two-day arts umbrella – an annual festival that celebrates the boundless creativity of young minds.

Young artists are not held prisoner to rules and boundaries. Rules are meant to be tested and broken, and that is where their creativity shines its brightest.

Conceived as a youth-curated festival for students in Grade 7 to 21 years, Amplify Festival’s fourth edition introduces funky art exhibitions, cutting-edge dance performances, beat-busting concerts and a dynamic poetry slam.

In addition ticketed experimental workshops as well as free events will be available to all festival goers on Oct. 13 and 14 at the Kinsmen Banquet Centre.

“You don’t have to feel like you’re an artist to attend. Everyone is an artist within, and we have so many easy activities to enjoy. Just come out and try it. And if you like music, there’s a concert. This festival gives opportunities for youth to discover their abilities and challenge themselves. No matter who you are, there is something for everyone,” said Kathleen Bell, youth festival associate.

This year’s theme, selected by 20 members of the youth advisory committee, is “Challenge Your Instincts.”

Bell notes the theme was inspired by the hipster cartoon animals (wolf, bear, owl, and deer), a nod to Canada’s 150th anniversary, on the Amplify home page http://stalbert.ca/exp/amplify

“We wanted something to encourage our peers to try something new. People might be afraid to take risks, but the rewards can be huge. And here we have a huge well of resources that can help bring out their talents.”

Concerts

Wrap-Up Party
Saturday, Oct. 14

• Royal Foundry is the big Saturday night headliner. Co-founders Jared Salte and Bethany Schumacher, partners in music and life, have come a long way since they first opened at Amplify in 2015 for Zerbin.

They won second place in Alberta’s 2015 Peak Performance Project, netting $75,000. The duo toured Canada, performed at Seven Music Fest and just released their sophomore album Lost In Your Head.

“They exist at a crossroads between indie rock, electro pop and dance music. They exhibit so much energy, but they are also excellent singer-songwriters. They are clever, fun and positive,” noted Bell.

• St. Albert’s own Paul Woida creates magic on stage with just a simple guitar and loop pedal. Over the past five years he’s developed a hardcore fan base eager to hear his in-the-moment conceived pop covers and self-styled originals.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with the most influential musicians in the province, he won the Hot 107 $10,000 Hot Factor Competition and the 2016 Air Miles Detour Big Break where he opened for Meghan Trainor in Nova Scotia.

“Paul has come out on top because of his energy and sensitivity. And the way he builds songs on stage is simply incredible.”

• Opening for Saturday night’s two main acts is The Prototype (formerly 5 Cents Richer), the winners of Amplify’s The Show 3.0. The Bellerose High band  is composed of Chloe Yakymyshyn (lead singer), Cody Shyan (guitar) and Kris Pittet (drummer).

“Chloe has a beautiful haunting voice and they play piano, electric guitar and drums. On top of the ethereal and dramatic melody, the drumming is high energy and intense.”

The Show 4.0
Friday, Oct. 13

The Show, now in its fourth edition, is a competition where local and regional talent duke it out to win a spot on Amplify’s Saturday night stage.

Five acts are laying claim to the prize. In addition, to receiving the opening spot on the Saturday night stage, the winning act also receives a generous marketing package from PlanIt Sound, and a song video from Amplify.

The brass-inspired Thursdays, now one player richer as a six-piece, kicks off the high-energy evening with their unique dance sound blending alto sax, trombone, trumpet, drums, guitar and bass.

Led by singer Andrea Shipka, the four-piece Shipwrecked promises to deliver powerful indie rock even as Paul Kane singer Deanna Missins pulls all the stops for a solo pop cover segment.

St. Albert Catholic High’s The Pedestrians, fronted by Evan Salcedo, is a groove based, emotion-packed rock band that highlights solos. The fifth and last contestant, Steve Badry, is an acoustic folksinger with strong focus on lyrics. Each act will perform a 25-minute set.

Interspersed between acts are three dance companies with vastly different formats. Viva Dance focuses on contemporary choreography; NXG Edmonton performs hip hop to a mashup of popular songs, and Dance Co. slings both contemporary and hip hop.

Tickets for both shows are $10 and are available http://www.eventbrite.ca.

Workshops

Workshops are great primers to test out new skills. The much-in-demand Stage Fighting 101 and the incredibly popular Henna Body Art session are back with slots filling up quickly.

Also in its third year is Halloween Gore/F/X Make Up, a workshop where students  dramatically change their looks using a few simple makeup tricks.

With the popularity of social media, organizers added Instagram Photography where students are taught to create impressive images that achieve immediate impact.

New this year is a pottery workshop where participants make a clay panda pot for plants. Also celebrating vegetation is a micro-gardening workshop.

“Micro-gardening was one of the most popular things the committee wanted. They insisted on having a floral workshop. They’re very into micro-gardening. It’s exploded in popularity,” Bell said.

Also new this year is making a leather cuff from recycled belts and a professional cupcake decorating workshop. All workshop tickets are $10 and can be purchased online http://stalbert.ca/exp/amplify.

Free stuff

A big chunk of Amplify’s mission is to encourage students to share their craft with like-minded collaborators. To that end, Amplify continues the tradition of offering free stuff.

This year, more than 100 youth artists will take part on the Acoustic Stage, the Youth Visual Art Exhibit and the Poetry Slam. In addition, organizers hope curious youth will immerse themselves in novel activities such as bath-bomb making, mug painting and T-shirt tie-dying to name a few.

This year, Cultural Services also purchased a button maker that makes lapel buttons. Basically, visitors are given a blank piece of paper to create their own design or they choose a printed pattern. The design is fed into the machine and presto – in 15 seconds the button is complete.

“It’s been wildly popular. It’s so fascinating because it’s new.”

A new silk-screen machine will also be on site where participants can choose to make either a shopping bag or a cross-over shoulder bag.

“We have canvas bags. You can come up to the station, grab a bag and choose where you would like to place it. We will walk you through the process and it will dry in an hour.”

And if visitors just want to stroll through the site, check out Byron Martin, the roving magician performing card tricks, C.M. Matty, the merchant poet who writes a personalized poem on the spot, or Simon Glassman, the caricature artist.

For a complete list of events visit stalbert.ca/exp/amplify

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About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.