Alchemy: A Night of Poetry & Classical Music

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It’s a true gift to be able to weave words together—in a way that stirs the soul, that encapsulates the meaning of life, that serves as a transmitter of love and truth, that evokes and provokes. Poetry, music, and artful expressions bring us out of our cerebral world of thought, and into our heart–the source of raw feeling and emotion. Poetry and music work upon us in a magical alchemy, opening new doors within.

This Saturday August 19th @ 730pm we are fortunate to have two supremely talented Spoken Word Artists and one Musician – grace the Studio96 stage. They will share a riveting performance called “ALCHEMY: A Night of Poetry & Classical Music.” This will be an evening that celebrates the power, humanity, and passion of spoken word poetry. The event is open to everyone. Tickets are only $15, or pay what you can (no one will be excluded for lack of funds).  Purchase your tickets here:

One of the evening’s Presenters, Titilope Sonuga is an Award-winning Poet, Writer and Performer who has graced stages across Nigeria and internationally. She was the winner of the 2011 Canadian Authors’ Association Emerging Writer Award for her first collection of poems, Down To Earth.

In this TedX talk, Titilope shares her background and her glorious spoken word medicine:

Brandon Wint is a Poet, Spoken Word Artist and Teacher who is devoted to the articulation of the beauty within the human condition. His intricately-rendered performance pieces present a passionate, sincere and whimsical version of humanity. His writing, performance, and pedagogical approach all affirm, in their different ways, that there is beauty to be found in the struggle, and solace to be found in sincerity-of-spirit. He is a two-time national champion slam poet, a nationally published writer, as well as arts-educator and curator of artistic events.
The spoken word will be intermingled with music from Rebecca Parsons, a passionate advocate of accessibility in classical music. She works to present the music she loves in a way that demonstrates relevance and importance to both students and listeners.

We had the opportunity to ask Brandon some questions about his poetic expressions. His replies were rich and inspiring:

Q: What are some of the common themes found in your poetry?

A: My poetry endeavours to reflect my pursuit of love and honesty in the world. In writing, that can look and sound many different ways. However, I would say that themes of LOVE, in a universal sense, are common to many of my poems. For my sake and for the sake of the reader or listener, my goal in my poetry is to represent honestly represent my spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual position(s) in the world. In my understanding, it is impossible to tell the complete truth without implicating love somehow in my words. Therefore, many of my poems have a quality of loveliness about them.
The act of writing poetry is also a way of reckoning with my desires, my moments of loneliness, and generally, my enduring desire for connection, intimacy and authenticity.

Q: What inspires you to write?

A: I write as a way of creating a place for myself in the world. I write in order to assess and express my understanding of life. I write poems in order to express what I see as the intersections between Divine truth and human truth. I write because I am inclined towards beauty, and poetry-writing helps me refine the lens through which I receive the beauty of the world. I write to generate intimacy, to create conversation with myself, and I perform to express my authentic personal power, my joy, and my desire to love.

Q: In your eyes, what is the meaning and value of art & poetry?

A: Poetry, like all forms of artistry, has the function of reminding people about the depth. vulnerability, sensitivity and strength that is possible within the human condition. Poetry exists as a way to share (and therefore deepen) our understanding of the human condition. The role of poetry is to make the nuanced beauty/complexity/rigour of humanity inescapable for the listener or reader. Poetry, therefore, broadens the reach and impact of empathy. Poetry exercises the empathy of its readers and listeners. A poet who writes with deep empathy serves their reader in this way.

Q: What can people expect from “Alchemy” on Saturday?

A: People can expect generosity. I think what myself, Titilope and Rebecca each have in common as human beings and artists is empathy and generosity-of-spirit. Each of us understands that our roles as artists is mostly to serve the spiritual virtue and strength within the people who receive the art. In this way, I think people can expect to feel held, considered, accounted for, through our acts of performance. People can expect to receive poetry that is meaningfully grounded in humanity. People can expect to be moved inside their hearts. I believe people will feel well taken care of. The space will be overwhelmingly generous and very human.

Join us this Saturday at Studio96 @ 730pm, for this inspiring outpouring of generosity-of-spirit from these talented artists.


C’mon Festival 2017: A Musical Journey

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Recently Studio 96 was transformed into a entrance-point for a melodic journey of exquisite music mingled with song…. as we hosted the 5th annual C’mon Festival (Chamber Music Old and New).

Throughout the past 5 years, the C’mon Festival has brought together a talented ensemble of musicians and performers, such  as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Citie Ballet, special guest Sopranos and Tenors, Singers & Songwriters, and more, to create a montage of wondrous, genre-blurring classical music, linking the past to the future.

The splendid acoustics of Studio 96, the ambient lighting, and towering high ceilings, provide the perfect environment to sit back and listen…. while being transported on an inner journey through a spectrum of soundscapes.

This year, the 3-day event featured three different themes: Friday’s event featured “Serenade to Little Italy”: a celebration of all things Italian, from opera to the movies, with guests Soprano Janet Smith and Andrea Pinna, Tenor. Saturday was “Sonic Wonders”, featuring unique boundary-pushing, genre-blurring soundscapes from around the world. The show was brought to an ecstatic crescendo with “Musical Rides”, an eclectic odyssey with special guest Singer/Songwriter Andrea House.

Artistic Director Kathryn Macintosh captures the essence of the C’mon Festival: “Music is such a powerful expression of our shared humanity: provocative, moving, and/or good clean fun. That’s the balanced recipe we’re aiming for in festival programming. The genres continue to blur; I’m very excited about freshly discovered composers, as well as new arrangements commissioned for the C’mon Ensemble this year. The hijinks continue!”

Music has a special way of bringing together all different cultures, languages, genres, backgrounds, and walks of life. It takes you out of the world of thinking–and into the world of feeling.  In the inspiring ambience of Studio 96 – we were led through the range of human emotions: from the deeply touching, sometimes mournful sounds of the violin; to the light, lively, and ecstatic mixes of percussion and clarinet; held against the guttural depth of the upright bass and bassoon. When combined with the precious instrument of the human voice– a medley is created that reaches deep into the heart. Soprano Janet Smith was flawless in her operatic performances; while Tenor Andrea Pinna belted out rich and powerful notes. Singer Andrea House’s raw singing reaches the depth of human emotion. This is just a little peek into the array of flavors that touched our palette during this year’s C’mon Festival.

C’mon Festival attendee, Barbara Phillips shared a beautiful testimonial:

“I went to all 3 concerts and was deeply inspired. You rarely get the chance to hear such fine musicians play such interesting music. It really doesn’t matter what your musical preferences are. If you truly listen–it really teaches you.

The classical night (Friday) was music from mostly Italian composers. Opera Singer Janet Smith, so beautifully embodied the roles she sang– the audience was transported. The last number included a magical tenor appearing from the audience so cleverly. His voice was everything you ever wanted in an Italian tenor.

Andrea House also appeared. Her humility shines and so enhances her artistry as a singer and composer. Stunning? Absolutely.

Studio 96 is magical for such an experience – beautiful, intimate and inspiring. Mark your July calendars next year to be sure to attend. It takes you into such deep listening.”

It’s always a treat to support the local artistic community, with events open for the general public to enjoy. This event was graciously offered by donation – “pay what you can.” Warm thanks to the C’mon festival for making the event so accessible to everyone!

We look forward to C’mon Festival 2018, as well as more moving performances gracing the Studio 96 stage.



Studio 96… Where Magic Happens

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Welcome to our Studio 96 Blog: “Where Magic Happens”!

We have so many wonderful events and developments happening. This is our space to share about them, and give you a peek into our world.
These past few years have been a time of prolific growth and development.
You may have heard our story before.
Studio 96 was once St Stephen’s Anglican Church–a historic landmark in the McCauley District. Like many old buildings, it was ordered for demolition.  Luckily, that wasn’t the end of the story. In a flash of inspiration, two Architects + one Event Planner came together with a vision. They combined their complimentary skills and creative synergy. Thus, Studio 96 was born. A beautiful and inspiring event space–for both private and public happenings.
So often people are quick to tear down old structures. In Studio 96, we found a way to preserve the old, intermingled with the new. Studio 96 is testament of what can happen when creativity and a vision join together. Since then, we have went through many growing pains, and many wonderful becomings.

One of our favorite facets of the event space are the special Wedding packages we offer. It’s so meaningful to be with people on one of the most special day of their lives… helping them create and craft every detail, to make their dream wedding come true. We believe: there’s so much value in the little things. Our Event Planner adds her unique personal touch to each event, assisting in weaving together all the details, to create a meaningful tapestry. We’ve had the privilege of witnessing so many beautiful unions the past few years. What an honor!

We also especially love hosting and supporting community events. The city of Edmonton is burgeoning with vibrant talent. We provide an inspiring venue for the whole gamut of creative expression… from live music of all genres… theatrical performances, dance, ballet, , and festivals. Since our inception, we’ve had the honor of hosting so many wonderful events: from the Winter Warmer concert series, to the C’mon Festival (Chamber Music New and Old), Edmonton Citie Ballet,  Edmonton Poetry Festival, the Kokopelli Choir Crawl, Pro Coro Choir … and the list goes on.
In our upcoming Blogs we will be profiling some of these past events. We will also offer a sneak-peek into some of our future events. We hope you will take the opportunity to attend one of our community events …. check out the Studio…. and enjoy some local talent.
Or, maybe you have an event of your own you are thinking of putting on. Give us a call.
Also, if you’ve never been in Studio 96– you can take a peek from the comfort of your chair. Go to our home page– scroll down –and enter our virtual tour.
Whether you are hosting an event, or attending an event here in our space, one thing is for sure: Studio 96 inspires.
Thanks for visiting. 🙂
(**Note: Blog banner photo of Northern Lights by Jens Gaethje. Visit his website: or Facebook page: @Jensgaethjephotography)