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Another successful Contact East workshop

December 1, 2011 | The APA was proud to present 3 community workshops during Contact East 2011. Contemporary dancer Susanne Chui and percussionist Doug Cameron led a class of 12 local dancers, elementary school children in Kensington, PE were dazzled by Al Simmons, and finally, music students from the University of Prince Edward Island and a teenager from Fredericton had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with guy&nadina. The workshop was sponsored by the UPEI Music Department. Read on for a heartfelt testimonial from Nadina's biggest fan and words from the UPEI's music faculty:

I was on Nadina's website when I saw that there was a date on her tour dates that would be in PEI. It said to go to Contact East's website to get more information. Of course, I look as I am speechless at the thought of possibly seeing my idol perform. So I read through the website, but I see it is sort of a convention... Which I really don't seem to fit in. At this time, I am very dissapointed, but did not want to give up hope. I sent an email to the email that said "contacts" and asked if it would be at all possible for me to see the showcase in which Nadina and Guy were performing in. She responded to me very quickly and said that there would be tickets to be sold at the entrance of the Mack theatre, so it was possible to see them in a showcase. Needless to say, I was very excited. She also tells me that Nadina will be leading a woodwind masterclass at UPEI, and that it would be a great experience since I play bassoon.

On the day that we arrived from a 4 hour drive to Charlottetown, it was just an hour before the masterclass, and I was very nervous. As we arrived (at the right time of course), my mom and I could see no one in the building. Turns out it was also a nursing building. So we go upstairs and see a little waiting room. We sit and wait... Then we here someone talking about Guy and Nadina, and it turns out to be Guy himself talking. I enter and ask if Nadina Mackie Jackson was doing a masterclass, and someone showed me the way. I entered the room and saw the one and only Nadina Mackie Jackson. Upon seeing me, she remarked that I had a Fox bassoon case, and she was very happy, as there were no other bassoonists in the room. I listen to the other's play amazingly and I listen intently to what Nadina was saying about each one. Every single thing she talked about was how to play the passage slightly better, and how this applies to bassoon. I learned an enormous amount of knowledge of the art of woodwind playing. After this, Guy and Nadina played a mini-concert to all the masterclass participants, which very well delivered. Then Nadina came to speak to me and asked to play my bassoon. She liked it I guess and we talked for a bit.

After this, there was the showcase at the Mack theatre. Guy and Nadina were introduced and they walked on stage. All I could notice was the Heckel bassoon's bright red colour that was owned by Nadina. They played virtuostically. But then, Nadina talks about how happy she was that she met such a young bassoonist and how I need to get a frequent flyer's card, as musicians tend to travel a lot. Then they played Flight of the Bumblebee, which was partly dedicated to me. After the concert, she came up to me and gave me her last CD and signed it. I will never forget the amazing experience that Contact East has given me. How many people can say that the person they admire the most dedicated Flight of the Bumblebee to you... Not very many people. The friendliness of the people of Contact East made it very easy for me to connect with Nadina. I am forever grateful to Contact East for making my dream come true. Thank you is all I have to say. Nicolas Richard, 14 years old, Fredericton, New Brunswick

In my part, I would like to say thank you to Contact East, not only have they given my son [Nico] the chance to meet his idol, they have also given him the priviledge to assist in the workshop with her. Through e-mails, all was done with kindness and compassion. In this busy time, someone always took the time to answer my questions and make sure we were well informed about the whole session, the way to get there from Fredericton, etc.

I hope Contact East will continue to spread his wings to all artists out there, and help the ones who see themselves in them!!!! This is given them a chance to open door to opportunities, to reach out for their goals in music and to explore even more their passions with people who have made it big! Denise Boudreau

As a student of clarinet performance at the University of Prince Edward Island, I am constantly trying to improve my skills. While the instruction I receive from my applied professor is among the best in the country, part of oneís musical growth also comes from having outsiders hear you play. Therefore when Nadina came to do a workshop with all the woodwind players it was very exciting. This was the first workshop for woodwind performance specifically that I had been involved in. I practiced hard to prepare my piece and play it to the best of my ability. When the day came I went up to play first for the class and Nadina. Playing for other professors can sometimes be stressful, as you never know what sort of criticism you may encounter, however Nadina instantly made me feel comfortable. She asked what I would be playing and I told her I would play Mozart. While I played she looked very engaged and stood close to me to watch what I was doing. When I finished playing she told me she was impressed with my musicality, and she could tell I loved to play the piece. She then proceeded to give me advice with the most professional attitude Ė all advice that I took to heart and improved my future performances of that particular piece.

After a few clarinet and flute players performed, we all took a break to watch Guy and Nadina perform a little concert. All of the students involved in the workshop were bright eyed and excited to see such an interesting looking duo on our very classical stage. In all our experience, classical musicians were to look very proper and always as professional as can be. You can imagine how shocked we were to see a woman with bright blue hair and a man dressed all in black leather with piercings come out on stage with a bassoon and a trumpet.

From the first note they played together, everyone was on the edge of their seat. The musicianship and virtuosity that came from the stage was incredible. When Guy started a piece in which he played piano and trumpet at the same time, everyone was laughing and incredibly excited. Two performers made an entire body of classically trained students see classical music in a different light. It was like being at a rock show!

After their show was over they allowed for a question period. One of the professors asked them to explain why they were here on the island and to explain what Contact East was all about. Nadina briefly explained what Contact East was, and how valuable contact events were to touring artists. She then pointed me out in the crowd and told all my fellow students that I had been working with them directly, as I work for the Atlantic Presenters Association and helped to coordinate Contact East. This had all my peers ask endless questions about Contact East. One of them in particular took quite an interest in the mentorship program, and spent the entire last day of the event shadowing Dave Hillier.

Contact East gave all of us students at UPEI a very valuable experience that will be talked about for years. Master classes can sometimes be quite rare, especially ones with rock stars playing your favorite classical tunes. Kate Thompson, Clarinet major, UPEI

I think that the best thing about having visiting artists like guy&nadina doing master classes with the music students at UPEI is the energy and enthusiasm they bring, along with some new ideas and new ways of restating ideas that students are familiar with. It is also great for our students to see the energy and musicianship that these performers bring to their performances. All of this together helps our students gain perspective on what they are doing, or should be doing as musicians and as performers. Greg Irvine, Associate Professor, UPEI Music Department

We were truly fortunate to have Guy Few and Nadina Mackey Jackson provide master classes for our students. This duo shares a deep passion for their music making and communicates that passion and intensity in their teaching. They find effective ways to relate to the students at their level and, in doing so, inspire our young performers to achieve. Bravo! Dr. Andrew Zinck, Associate Professor and Chair, UPEI Music Department

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