When global superstar Kiesza takes the Mary Hall stage at the Selkirk College gala on Saturday, she will be joined by 2014 Kootenay Idol winner Jane Love, also known as Trulee.
“Hearing the name Kiesza I automatically visualized a powerful current of electrical energy in the colours of red and black,” said Love, a music student and aspiring singer obsessed with the viral sensation and Selkirk alumna. She will be joined on stage by nearly twenty of her fellow student musicians. “She is more than a brand.”
“Actually, it almost upsets me to hear [Selkirk music instructor] Gilles Parenteau answer ‘yes’ to my question of whether he knew Kiesza would make it big as a singer. In order for a student to invoke such a prediction in an instructor’s mind, it takes a distinctive hard-working attitude and a determination more solid and taller than Mount Everest.”
Though his comment made her feel envy, it also steeled her resolve.
“I wanted Gilles to think that I, as Trulee, will make it even bigger than he can imagine.”
Parenteau sat students down recently and expressed his excitement for this unusual opportunity.
“This is the biggest thing that Selkirk music program has ever seen,” he told them. “Throughout my career, I have worked with many successful musicians, but the biggest name so far is Kiesza. Imagine how many people around the world would do anything to get this gig you guys have.”
Love doesn’t take it for granted.
“This gig is even more special to me, having had to drop out of school after my first year because of an accident. I came back this year to find out that it was the best thing that ever happened. I still tear up with gratitude. And that is what this show is — a celebration and gratitude ceremony for the global stardom that began as a small light in the very practice rooms that we dream in,” she said.
“An important lesson I take from Kiesza: spontaneity is something to hold onto. There has never been a time where people have been so continually occupied, constantly watching the time for it to signal another task for the new hour. I know that this lifestyle deprives us from creativity.”
She told the Star the kind of creativity she cherishes is “the type that sends ants to my pants while I build sand castles on the beach.”
During the evening, Kiesza will perform a 40-minute set. That will be followed by a second 40-minute set from the music students, who have been rehearsing for the past month and a half.
“Every gala we have is an important showcase of the talent we have here,” said Selkirk College’s Bob Hall. “You think of this as a school and these people as students, but really they have significant skills and talents already that they’re putting on proud display.”
The room will be “transformed” by the students, and all the food will be prepared by students from the cooking program.
“This is a great opportunity for them. There’s 280 people in that room, appreciative of what they’re doing. It’s definitely a highlight of the year.”
Parenteau spoke with the Star the morning before their first dress rehearsal with Kiesza, and he was excited to reunite with his ex-student and see her collaborate with his current ones.
“Jane kind of reminded me a little bit of Kiesza when I first met her. She’s very driven, work hard, and she takes song-writing seriously. She’s going to do everything she can to succeed in this industry, and for a teacher to work with a student like that is such a pleasure.”
The students have prepared their own arrangements of 7 Kiesza songs.
“We’ve got a full rhythm section and we’ve added background vocals and other elements that weren’t in the original mix. Tonight we’ll know how much she likes it.”
The other students involved include vocalists Sallie Salcedo, Robyn Edgar, Travis Flello, Ami Cheon, Taryn McMaster, Brittany Keller and Nikki Wozney. Guitarists Mitchell Hahn, Ryan Mildenberger, Jess Chan, Jonathon Blake, Liam Mckenzie, David Hecht, Ashley Pearce and Jonathan Blake will provide accompaniment along with Amanda Cawley on keys and Wesley Hughes and Nathan Swift on bass. Graham Stark will be the drummer.
When asked how Kiesza’s became so successful, Parenteau told her hard work, a supportive family and “a bit of an obsession.”
Love is similarly obsessed.