Kelowna Gospel Mission Poetry Panels

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission courtyard officially opened for use on September 14, 2016. It was a glorious day for a grand opening, celebrating creative community and this safe gathering space which will graciously welcome our city’s most vulnerable for years to come.

A special congratulations to poets Norm and Nobu, whose meaningful and honest words now grace the walls in brightly coloured steel panels. Lesley-Anne Evans was invited to commission and mentor the poets throughout the creative process from ideation to installation.

Leon Avenue has often been cluttered with the personal belongings of those served by the Gospel Mission – causing complaints about the eyesore. Randy Benson, Executive Director with the Gospel Mission, says there was no place for clients to wait for services outside except the sidewalk, but that has now changed.

This is a welcoming space; we want people to feel like they’re appreciated,” Randy said. “We have staff here so we want people who are out here to be able to engage with our staff.” 

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Chris is one of the Gospel Mission’s clients who has been using the courtyard space. He says staff allow him to woodwork in the space, a favourite pastime of his.

“I am very lucky to be here. I like the environment and it keeps my mind off of things. It is a safe place and drug-free zone. I really enjoy it,” said Chris.

The KGM courtyard project was coordinated by the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects – Interior Chapter, with wide community involvement. Well done dreamers and creatives and politicians and donors and accounts people and hard labourers and craftsmen. Well done team, well done!!!

Holding Out Hope

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For the past several months Lesley-Anne Evans has been curating the social media campaign Holding Out Hope.

Beginning with a commemorative poetry wall (see CBC article here) immediately prior to the demolition of Metro’s drop-in centre, Metro Community members are invited to share words that humanize and build understanding. Lesley-Anne and others listen, record and share.

Holding Out Hope invites Kelowna’s marginalized and vulnerable ‘others’ to be known, rather than passed by in fear, disinterest, or hurry. Stories are raw, surprising and authentic. Some of our storytellers are homeless, some live in shelters, halfway houses, and the suburbs. All share the poverty of living ‘outside’ an inner circle, a poverty of relationships. All share a hunger to be loved and to belong.

Holding Out Hope is a powerful and risky exchange. Each candid photo puts a face to a name. Each story becomes an opportunity to see the humanity we all share.

Where do we find the courage to let ourselves be challenged and transformed so that we might rise up as messengers or peace and unity? I pray and hope that this…may encourage more and more people to risk crossing the barriers that separate us, and to risk becoming friends with those we have rejected, so that they too might rise up in hope.

Jean Vanier, Tears of Silence, A Meditation

 

Announcement

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Lesley-Anne Evans is pleased to announce that she has accepted the position of Creative Curator for Metro Community, in Kelowna, B.C..

Lesley-Anne was drawn to Metro Community’s Metro Central in 2014, curious about this unique group of people, and wondering if Metro might align with her deepening desire to find God in a more earthy expression of spirituality. She soon became Metro’s poetry facilitator, then Artist-In-Residence, engaging the community in various initiatives such as;

• creating and stewarding a Little Free Library as a gift from Metro to the greater community, a static LFL then became mobile,

• organizing a community member’s first visual art exhibit at a fundraising event,

• encouraging twice-weekly blasts of creative “Pop-UP’s” in the coffee bar, for musicians and wordsmiths,

• hosting open studio for artists,

• installing illumination and poetry in the Wild Goose Cafe,

• facilitating a newly branded Metro Arts social media group where members can connect and inspire one another,

• finding ways of cross pollination and relationships between community artists and greater community cultural experiences, ex: Metro Community invited guests at LAKE of TEARS Opera at RCA, mentoring Metro poets for Kelowna Gospel Mission Courtyard poetry wall.

Metro Arts is Lesley-Anne’s passion, fleshing out her belief that we are all created in the image of God, and therefore creative. Her desire is to come alongside others as they discover, engage, contribute and celebrate their creative gifts within community. But Lesley-Anne’s most meaningful role is to be present, and to listen. Through this, Lesley-Anne has begun to experience the rawness of the street community, and the gift of holding space without judgement. Metro Community has at its centre Kelowna’s most vulnerable residents, upholding values that align deeply with Lesley-Anne’s own. Lesley-Anne is honoured to find belonging in such a place and at such a time as this.

Celebrate the good!

DSC_0212Reasons to celebrate;

  1. hackers can be overcome with diligence and tenacity!
  2. literary journals (paper and virtual) are alive and well!
  3. poetry is read, voices are heard!
  4. a poet and a journal can find converging sense of place, life experience, and poetic sensibilities.

Last autumn, CASCADIA REVIEW intended to publish four of Lesley-Anne Evans poems. Then quite abruptly, a hacker wreaked havoc, and CASCADIA went down. Nothing was published. The website remained frozen. But, thanks to the deliberate behind the scenes elbow grease and expertise of a team of someones, the respected CASCADIA REVIEW is back online, and back in the business of sharing poetry with people.

Today, Cascadia Review published Lesley-Anne’s poem “Vineyard” and tomorrow, another poem, and the day after that, another poem, and the day after that, another poem. We so grateful for the good folk who believe passionately in the good work of publishing journals and collections and books of poetry. Even when things go sideways, they rise again. Thank you, Cascadia Review. THANK YOU.

 

Story Synopsis | Lake of Tears

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Darling, do you write prose? Can you write a libretto for a commissioned opera? Alexandra Babbel, Artistic Director, Opera Kelowna.

And so the conversation began, in early winter, 2014. Opera Kelowna commissioned Lesley-Anne Evans to write a libretto, and enter into a creative collaboration in which a visual art installation by Jane Everett, and filmography by Daniel Cameron, would come alive in a new Canadian operatic production, to a musical masterpiece created by one of Canada’s most renowned composers, Imant Raminsh.

A little background.

Before an opera is performed, a narrative or story is written, perhaps based upon a theme, and for an assigned performance length. Before any musical notes dance in a composers mind, characters and symbols and themes come to life in a librettists imagination. Time, research, input, editing, testing, editing, and a story begins to morph and solidify. Characters are named. Personalities are developed. Relationships grow. A story line is committed to, and written down as truth, in a format called a libretto. The libretto is the script of the operatic work.

Then, a magical melding of words and music takes place, as the composer takes the libretto and sets all dramatic conversations and clever pronouncements and interactions between each character to a new musical score. The composer creates each character’s identifying melody, makes audible the sound of hopes and dreams and conflicts, writes the connecting musical themes between acts, and the openings and closings of the overall work. The composer makes the words…SING! Yes, and he has the power to make the librettist and the future audience weep with the beauty of his music.

And then, finally, after much application of time and gift and patience and input, a new operatic composition is born, with words and music blended seamlessly into a score.

Meanwhile, brilliant artwork is created, filmography is envisioned and shot, funds are raised, singers and orchestra members are hired, costumes are dreamed alive, custom jewelry ‘vial-of-tears’ is handmade, and the collaboration of a large team of creative individuals continues to synergize, mold and develop to bring the work to the stage in a huge outlay of time and energy and excitement. Opening night is anticipated by all, and it is almost here!!!

Alexandra Babbel’s idea, has become a reality!!!

Following is the narrative of LAKE OF TEARS, a new Canadian Opera, to the libretto of Lesley-Anne Evans. And very soon, the gorgeously haunting music of Imant Raminsh’s score will be heard as LAKE OF TEARS is performed for the very first time, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Jane Everett’s installation of luminous canvases and iconic art pieces, along with Daniel Cameron’s filmography, will create an sensuous stage for the audience’s experience of an Okanagan fantasy. You won’t want to miss it!

Tickets and details through Opera Kelowna, and at Rotary Centre for the Arts.

LAKE OF TEARS

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, the Loon people transformed at will at the water’s edge, and enjoyed living on land in human form, or on the water as loons.  Brothers Turmoil and Gavia, both in line for the Throne of Loons, and for the rule of the Loon people, are secretly in love with the beautiful Viviana whom they hope to marry, and with her produce a royal heir. The brothers pursue Viviana to win her love, and Viviana gives her heart to Gavia.

Rejected by Viviana, and now filled with hatred for his brother Gavia, Turmoil seeks power through dark magic. Turmoil curses Viviana and Gavia to live separate lives forever; Viviana, to remain on arid land in human form with all the Loon people; Gavia, to live alone on the great lake as a loon.

Heart broken, Viviana secretly collects her tears of love in a magical vial she wears around her neck. According to ancient legend, a royal heir has power to lift the curse, but only in their 16th year on the anniversary of their birth. Before sunset on that day, the heir must pour true love’s tears into the headwaters of the sacred pool to set the Loon people free.

With Viviana and Gavia now cursed to live separate lives, Turmoil vows to destroy the sacred pool, preventing the Loon people from ever transforming at the water’s edge, and any possibility of the lovers being reunited. Turmoil is unaware of the existence of an heir. Masika, the secret love child of Gavia and Viviana, and their royal heir, carries power to end the curse and strip Turmoil of his dark magic.

Sixteen years have passed, and Masika is now coming of age to fulfill the ancient prophecy and free her people.  Join Masika as she goes on an extraordinary journey and discovers the power of true love.

Lesley-Anne Evans, SDG

Metro Community Artist-in-Residence

DSC_0038_2In September 2014, Lesley-Anne Evans was asked to facilitate a small group of poets and writers at Metro Community’s Metro Central, a Kelowna street level gathering place for the marginalized. The “Poetry Circle” at Metro has become a weekly open table where regulars and newcomers are welcomed and heard. Participants are invited to share words in any form, life stories, and encouraged to live out the creative thumbprint of God on their lives that heals and transforms along the way.

“Art is a wound turned into light.”

At Poetry Circle, Lesley-Anne facilitates a way to belong and be known that grows through sharing creative works of writing, mainly poetry. Word activities include introductions to published poets and their work (contemporary and masters), free writing, found poetry, letter writing, and discussions around creative process.

The Poetry Circle has initiated projects such as the Metro Little Free Library, and stewards and stocks it with gently used books from generous donors such as SHARE and Bibles For Missions. A recent fundraiser became an opportunity for the first exhibition of one community member’s visual art and poetry. Lesley-Anne continues to look for ways of engagement that grow out of the common ground of creative arts and community.

Being known and knowing one another is where it all begins. A rich history of artistic expression within Metro Community, and deep ongoing potential, requires presence to build trust and invite engagement. Which is why Lesley-Anne has committed to being Metro Community’s Artist-In-Residence at Metro Central. 

What is an Artist-In-Residence? Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow an individual to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture. (Wikepedia)

Lesley-Anne will be present at Metro Central on Tuesdays and Thursdays during open hours. Feel free to drop by and visit, and if you are a poet/writer, the Poetry Circle is open from 9:30-10:30 am on Tuesdays.

If you are an artist, poet, musician, dancer, photographer, with a heart for social engagement through the creative arts, please connect with Lesley-Anne in person or at mygracenotes@gmail.com.

Metro Central is at 1470 Water Street, Kelowna, across from B.C. Tree Fruits.

Lake of Tears ~ An Opera

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Photograph by Claire C. Evans

LAKE OF TEARS

Imant Raminsh | Composer • Lesley-Anne Evans | Librettist

In October, 2014, Lesley-Anne Evans was approached by Opera Kelowna Artistic Director, Alexandra Babbel, to write a libretto for a multi-arts collaborative between Opera Kelowna and the Kelowna Art Gallery.

In the vein of Tracy Chevalier‘s novel “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and the subsequent screen adaptation of the novel which brings an oil painting by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer to life, KAG commissioned renowned B.C. artist Jane Everett to create an installation of visual art that will come alive in an Opera Kelowna production based on the theme of water. Everett’s oversize vellum screens and sculptural pieces will engage the audience in a fully sensual experience, accompanied by filmography by Daniel Cameron.

Lesley-Anne Evans‘ compelling story Lake of Tears, Canadian in content and Okanagan in setting, follows young heroine Masika on an extraordinary journey of self discovery. The narrative of treachery, love, and destiny does not disappoint. Lake of Tears has been now been set to music, and performance dates confirmed.

Imant Raminsh, respected Canadian composer of Latvian descent, best known for his choral compositions, has created a luminous musical score for Lake of Tears. Raminsh is one of the top leading Canadian composers of our day, his repertoire performed world wide.

Opera Kelowna’s star cast includes Calgary’s soprano Ainsley Soutiere, Penticton’s mezzo-soprano Mia Harris, Vancouver’s tenor Frederik Robert, and Toronto’s baritone Tyler Fitzgerald, along with a female chorus of “voices of many waters.”

A sneak preview of the work will be held in February, 2016. Lake of Tears World Premier Gala Performance will be held in July, 2016, in the atrium space of the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Additional performances will be offered to the public, as well as educational opportunities available to local schools.

Ticket Sales TBA, through the Opera Kelowna website.