Arts in Brief: Finding the artistic voice

Art shows and swing music are among upcoming events around town.

Can someone be an artist if they don’t like drawing? If they struggle with perfectionism and anxiety?

According to Langley artist Jenn Williamson, “Absolutely!”

She’ll discuss how she discovered her artistic voice during an Artist Talk being hosted by the Surrey Art Gallery tonight (Thursday, June 2) from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

With humility and humour, Williamson will give the lowdown on the good, the bad, and the ugly of being an artist.

She’ll share her unconventional path to discovering she was an artist, and discuss how trusting intuition can be healing and lead to finding one’s own artistic voice.

Not only is she a professional artist, she is also a businesswoman, entrepreneur, wife, and mother. As she speaks of the twists and turns her life has taken, guests are expected to gain a new appreciation for their own journey, said gallery publicist Charlene Back.

Williamson paints abstract and impressionist scenes.

Her first art show was in 2011 and this past April, she exhibited her work in New York.

A fascination with texture has motivated her pursuit of unconventional training and the acquisition of products not yet discovered by mainstream artists.

Her unique painting style is a striking convergence of refined texture, exquisite colours, and luxurious patinas. She allows intuition to guide her creative process and does not rely on reference photos to inspire her work.

Find out more at

Swingin’ in White Rock

Langley drummer, band leader, and teacher Scott Robertson, and the Swing Patrol will be performing this weekend in White Rock.

The musical team of Robertson (on drums), clarinet and sax player Ben Henriques, trumpet player Glen Tremblay, bass player Brent Gubbles, and guitarist Ron Thompson are taking part in the White Rock Traditional Jazz Society season wrap-up event on Sunday, June 5, at the Crescent Beach Legion, #240-2643 128th St. in South Surrey.

Each weekend, the society has been hosting events that showcase what they describe as “the best professional jazz musicians from the Pacific Northwest. This weekend, it’s Langley’s own Swing Patrol. The show runs 2 to 5 p.m., and tickets are $12 at the door.

Scene and heard

Local country music star Aaron Pritchett shared the stage with former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Garth Butcher earlier this month at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam.

Butcher belted out Day Tripper, his favourite Beatles tune, as part of a fundraising Overtime Jam Session serving as a kickoff to the 18th annual Canucks Alumni Golf Classic.

“Butcher can actually sing,” Pritchett told Vancouver  Sun’s Dr. Sport columnist Greg Douglas later. “I was impressed.”

With all due respect, Pritchett has another performer named Garth on his mind these days.

Vancouver-born Pritchett, a former Langley resident and honourary chair of the Langley Animal Protection Society,  got his start in the country music world as a DJ at Roosters Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows.

While this former Langleyite has been invited by the legendary Garth Brooks to be his warm-up act for two shows that will include Brooks’ wife Trisha Yearwood in Saskatoon next month.

“I was promoting my upcoming tour and co-hosting Mike McGuire’s morning show on Regina’s Big Dog 92.7 when he told me Garth Brooks was coming on for a quick interview and I could ask him one question,” Pritchett said.

“My jugular vein felt like it was going to explode. I’d been a Garth Brooks fan before I started singing and writing songs for a living. He’s my idol.”

After the radio show, Brooks invited Pritchett to be his opening act for sold-out World Tour dates at Saskatoon’s Sask-Tel Centre on June 9 and June 12.

“We have 20 minutes to play and I can guarantee it will be the best 20 minutes of my career,” said Pritchett, whose new hit, Dirt Road In ‘Em is riding high in the charts.

“I played hockey as a kid growing up in Kitimat and the Canucks were my heroes,” he added. “To be hanging out with Kirk McLean, Cliff Ronning, Dave Babych, and Darcy Rota is a thrill… but Garth Brooks is still my idol.”

Soloist shares stage with symphony

Fraser Valley Symphony presents its grand finale performance of the season with an exciting concert this weekend – Dvorak and Saint-Saens, featuring guest soloist Mark Anderson.

Anderson, an international prize-winning pianist, joins the symphony for the 2nd Piano Concerto of Camille Saint-Saens, a fiery work by the great French pianist and composer.

His recordings and performances as recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician have met with wide critical acclaim.

In recital, Anderson has appeared at New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Weill Hall, the Kennedy Centre, and elsewhere throughout Europe and the United States.

A native of the San Francisco bay area, Anderson is a Steinway artist assistant and professor at the University of British Columbia School of Music and also performs with his piano-duo/duet and life partner Canadian pianist Michelle Mares.

Rounding out the program will be Dvorak’s glorious Symphony No. 9: From the New World.

Written during Dvorak’s years in New York City, it is a work which fuses Old-World style with elements of American folk music, as is so famously heard in the second movement’s beautiful Going Home theme.

Now in its 32nd year, the Fraser Valley Symphony is the premier community orchestra of the region, featuring conductor Lindsay Mellor.

The concert is at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way in Abbotsford, on Sunday, June 5, starting at 3 p.m. Doors open at 2:30 pm.

Tickets: $20/adults, $15/seniors and students, $5/Children 12 years and younger, are available online at or at the door, if available.

For more information, people can visit or call 604-744-9110.


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