Tuesday, October 27, 2009

up your watershed

I recently took a road trip over to the island for two days of rehearsals with Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright over at their work studio in Crofton BC. The rehearsal setting was idyllic as the house was nestled in a mini countryside community at the edge of a cliff overlooking the water.

On a break from the rehearsal I took a windy path down to the beach and stood there breathing in the salty air as I looked out over the water to the island directly in front of me, and I noted to myself that it seemed quite perfect that I was learning songs about sustainability and the environment while situated in such a gorgeous setting. It felt good to be there.


We were there preparing for the concert that we are scheduled to perform next week in Williams Lake. You see last spring I was asked to be a part of an Artist Response Team. ART is a small group of musicians who travel into schools to rehearse songs with students for a concert performance/learning program called "Up your Watershed" sponsored by THINK SALMON, an initiative of the Fraser Salmon & Watersheds Program which is jointly managed by Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and Fraser Basin Council (FBC), two non-profits dedicated to ensuring sustainable Pacific salmon stocks.

The goal of the Up Your Watershed Tour is to promote broader understanding of the importance of watershed stewardship, and to inspire positive action and behavior change in residents of Fraser Basin communities. We do this by going into schools and using music to spread the message.
In the the weeks leading up to the concert the schools teachers use ART’s Cycle of Life and Salish Sea learning resources to provide activities in their classes that are linked to song lyrics. The beauty of this program is that is was designed to also fulfill prescribed learning outcomes. I love that part in particular (for the teachers) because it helps them reach their teaching objectives, rather than burdening them with extra activities to fit into their cumbersome curriculum. The bonus for the children is that the information is delivered in an engaging and inspiring way. Win, win.

Local conservation groups are invited to provide additional resources, speakers, workshops and field trips to the schools. Involving the communities is another place where the win/win factor is high. The sponsors and companies involved all support one another in spreading the message.

The culminating event is a fabulous concert that features student choirs performing with Holly Arntzen, Kevin Wright and the Dream Band. Beautifully illustrated printed programs are distributed to audience members with lyrics and information. Students deliver song introductions that they create, talking about the issues in the songs, and what they think people can do to help.


For more information you can check out the website, and if you think you want your school to participate just contact Holly or Kevin through this link!


I will be updating as we go through this process, there are a number of schools scheduled to be involved over the year including the school my own children go to. I have been helping with the shows there on and off for a number of years and I am terrifically excited to have been instrumental in bringing this particular program to our students. Our children will possibly even have the opportunity to sing on the next recording that Holly & Kevin do ( a project that will tie into a book launch my school is doing, the project connects to VANOC, which will be reported on later on this blog). More win/win.

There are many exciting things on the horizon in fact, for instance while we are on the road next week, there will be a video and documentary shot for and about the project. I'll make sure I keep some tabs on the behind the scenes for that as well, you'll be looped.

So next week I will be heading up to Williams Lake for my first performance as part of the Dream Band. Interestingly it was my new gig with the League of Rock (which had me playing the bass for the first time) that gave me the ability and confidence to try and to use an instrument that I never expected to have the opportunity to use purposefully.

What happened however, is that during our rehearsal we came across one song where they felt they really needed a bass part. I cautiously offered the info that I played a little bass.
Normally there is a full band and all instruments are covered but for Williams Lake they are bringing a really small band, only 4 people (my long time pal Shawn Soucy who introduced me to Holly and Kevin was missing from the rehearsal this week but will be joining us in Williams Lake), so I was the only one available to play the part.

Eek, that meant I was going to actually be relied upon.

I felt that I could pull it off though, maybe anyway. A simple song, a good weeks worth of practise...............? hmmmmm. So, I picked up the bass, found the chords, looked at the chart and gave it a whirl. At the end of the song we all nodded, I had the part. I got excited at that point, noting that the synchronicity of life is so very interesting. I never would have even THOUGHT to offer myself up were it not for my recent LOR experience and now, here I was actually contributing musically, not just pulling myself out of the mix and hiding in the background.

This really jazzes me because I will have the opportunity to come in and teach/perform in front of 300 children and I will be in the very same position as the performers who came to my childhood school and inspired me.

Young kids are going to see me pick up two instruments and sing and teach them motions to the words they will sing with us. What better opportunity to be a good example will I ever have? What better chance to actually be a tiny part of the solution to a problem I have often wrestled with; that of the school system letting some otherwise bright children fall through the cracks just because they are not intellectuals by nature and are not inspired by or can't cope with the drone of the current unengaging methods of teaching that educators are bound by.

If even ONE student catches a glimpse of fresh understanding through this alternate form of teaching, then it will have been worth the effort. What each student and school will draw from the experience will be sincere and they will connect with the project in a way that is going to be exciting for everyone.

And I am sure the kids will see the joy on my face as we perform the music together. They may even see a tear once in a while because I am possibly the hugest suckball ever to walk the planet and I just know I will get choked up.

Really, if you think that YOU folks are important as an audience, just THINK about what 300 children under my wing are going to do to me. I'll be a mess, but in a good way.

The Up Your Watershed! Tour will travel to

Williams Lake (Nov. 5 - Gibraltar Room)

Surrey (Dec. 3 - Bell Performing Arts Centre),

Vancouver (Jan. 21, 2010 - Norman Rothstein Theatre)

Vancouver (Mar. 2, 2010 - Vancouver East Cutural Centre).

Holly Arntzen's Dream band is:

David Sinclair - Guitars
Bill Sample - Piano/Keyboards
Brian Newcombe- Bass
Shawn Soucy - Drums
Kevin Wright - Percussion/Bass/Vocals Rachael Chatoor - Guitar/Vocals

Rach xo

Monday, October 19, 2009

photographers, reporters, and drinking in the morning

Kelly Brock and I have been up to old tricks again for All Access Pass and recently we dropped by the Province Newspaper to talk to BC Entertainment Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Harrison. Tom has been a reporter and music critic with the Province for over 30 years and I for one have looked to his column ever since I was a teenager spending my money on records. It was such a pleasure to meet him, there are stories galore when you hang with Tom and each tale is more interesting than the next. Thanks really must go to Tom for letting us see a bit of his world, and respect to him for using his platform with such a sense of responsibility and integrity. Keep Rockin Tom!

The next video in the Kelly & Rach's All Access Pass project takes you live on air in studio at Classic Rock 101 in Vancouver where Dean and Hatch (in for Bro Jake) interview legendary Rock n Roll Photographer Dee Lippingwell for On the Record! Dee has photographed virtually every major concert that ever rolled through Vancouver for decades and she has some unforgettable stories to tell the boys during her visit in the studio.

Personally I have always adored Dee and have been backstage with her at a number of different concerts over the years. I have been lucky enough to be onstage at many of the events where Dee was photographing and as it turns out, some of my favorite live stage shots have come from her camera. She's just the bomb.I thought I would throw in this little video that tells the tale of what happened after the 'On the Record' spot with Dee wrapped up. The radio station was hosting a 'Cesar taste off'. Dee and I were asked to stick around and be guest judges. Well, I couldn't really say No now could I? hehe So of course I kept the camera rolling because I don't' often get a perfect excuse to start drinking before 9 o'clock in the morning, I wanted proof. ;)

You can also find this video embedded on the Classic Rock 101 Website , I thank the radio station for the link loop, they all rock!

Rach xo

Sunday, October 18, 2009

getting back in the saddle again.......

Today I got on a horse again after more than 10 years away from riding. I have been thinking of horses for such a long time now, how they were a big part of my life for so long.

Eventually however, I ran smak into music and it took me away from horses as my focus. I still rode for years while I chased my career around and even in Abu Dhabi and England while I was living those countries, I did some riding. But I eventually turned away from it altogether after a bad fall and resulting concussion.

There is nothing quite like being on a horse though, it has been in my heart ever since forever. In my highschool annual my final words most likely mentioned horses and I think there was one year where two of my horse pictures were featured in the art section.

My room was filled with horses top to bottom for many years, until rock stars took over half the room. Horses always remained though, and riding will forever be something that is near the top of my list of favorite things to do.

Camino is a Peruvian Paso and he is supposed to be ridden in a very different manner to the way I am used to riding horses.

It is funny, this opportunity just strolled on into my life by happenstance, I wasn't looking. My aunt M, who was funnily enough the first person ever to put me on a horse, has a bad back right now and needs help giving her horse some excercise. I wasn't even expecting to ride today but I couldn't resist. The second after I saw the horse, I asked if I could take a spin, so I took a quick 'how to work the horse' lesson and headed off.

Its a strange feel, different, the motions are counter-intuitive to what I think I am supposed to do, I still have to find my mojo while up there, but wow was that fun! I am so excited and I look forward to learning how to ride this animal the way he is supposed to be ridden.

My daughter was put on a horse for the first time today. She is too fearful still, she did not enjoy it but I do believe that she will get over her fears and learn to love horses as much as I do. I hope so.

When I was a teenager at the barn, there was a young girl named Steph who shared a horse with her Mother. I always admired the two of them, the relationship they had, and I vowed I would ride horses with my daughter one day like that.

Perhaps the time is coming near.

Rach xo.

Monday, October 12, 2009

getting all abba and being blond about it.

Jeanette Okeefe my friend and an inspiration to many!

Mooncoin productions is one of the finest companies to work for, Jonas and Jeanette have impressed and inspired me since the moment I met them. I remember a long time ago, reading an ad that they were holding auditions for Abbacadabra and I thought oh my gosh I could never do a show like that.

Well time passed and the day came along again and I was aware of another ad for someone to cover the gig. I looked at the show and suddenly thought, you know now I think I could do that. I had been subbing in with bands like Dr Strangelove (you may remember that band from the Roxy) so I was learning to sing that kind of music anyway, plus I was starting to do my own solo gig with my first truly fantastic band in the casino's and it was all just starting to get comfortable. I felt I could throw myself into some new shows.

So I went for an audition, got the job and the fit has been perfect. Last Saturday night in fact was another show and I loved it, we were thrown a curve ball. Curve balls, I freak at them a little but I thrive on them alot! Yes, I love the energy!

Normally I play Ana Frida the dark haired girl, but last Saturday night I played the blond role. Jeanette who's part I normally take, is also dark haired so one of us would have to wear a wig. I was only too happy to do it, and while I joked on my Facebook about it being a great expedition to find out if blondes have more fun, the real truth of why I jumped at the chance to play the blond role was that I wouldn't have to do my hair. LOL. True story, I know, I am so lazy.

Being newest to the show, I also got to keep my singing part, save a few minor easy changes, and Jeanette the seasoned pro that she is, switched both songs, places, and parts. Now this would not normally be a big deal because we would be prepared for it but in this instance we found out only really at the last minute so there was no time to prepare. We re-wrote these parts in the hours before starting. Like I said, I LOVE this kind of energy, the newness, the excitement, the uncertainty. It's a buzz, and if the audience catches it, it is infectious.

That night the energy was flowing!

Rachael Chatoor, Ryan Langevin, Jeanette OKeefe, Sam Torrence and a GREAT crowd!

This is an awesome fun interactive show, if you love the music of Abba you will love everything about it. For a recent show I was in click this video clip . To get the full potential you will want to visit the website. Google I Love Abba~

If you work in a company that has a Christmas or holiday event coming up and you think that you would like to see Abbacadabra at it, please request us!

For more info contact Mooncoin productions!

Oh hey, this is my Mom. She used to holler down the stairs at me when I was singing telling me to; SHUT UP YOU SOUND LIKE A DYING CAT.

I love her so much. She drives me nuts but she's a good bean.

BTW, my diary which is this blog, welcomes every mood, I don't really need a break, just an edit button. Having said that, every mark I make is a post left along the road I am travelling. I have far too much fun in life and I take too much from every experience to not want to save the highlights, even if some only highlight the growing pains.
If I appear a little fractured sometimes, it just means that for that moment, it shows. :)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

is it possible to change your behavior?

I find this so interesting. Notice how almost everyone avoids the stairs at first. Change things up a little and you can see what happens.

I have some things I need to look at, behaviors that I need to examine, thoughts I need to change. I'm going to take a break for a while.

Be good to each other. xoxo

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

[Standing all the way] October, Breast Cancer awareness month.

Doctor please slow down I don't understand, Lets get back to talking about the weather
It seems to me, you're saying I m not getting better

I hear a voice inside, screaming, crying, asking why?
Praying you are wrong
What about my boy and girl?
Right now, im their whole damn world
What do they do if Im gone?

I intend to fight this
You don't know the future So I'm going to write it!

Finding all good things to say, wearing my pink ribbon every day. I'll be standing all the way.

Doctor please tell me cause I need to know,
what I can do to really face it
I can't believe you're saying, you just cant erase this

Hear a voice inside, pleading, someone turn this tide
Theres so much more to do
Ive never been so mad
Lost, confused, or deeply sad
don't wanna believe my life is through


Hear the voice inside strong detrmined full of pride
There so much left to give
no matter what the time
I'm going to make the most and I will
Show my babies how to live

© Rachael Chatoor 2008

Full recorded version can be found in the music player to the right.

A lot of eyes hit this blog, I am surprised and delighted daily by the messages I get from people. Not everyone comments, but they do read the comments, so I invite you, if you have a story to share, someone to celebrate or remember, share it here.

Please scroll down to find links to Stupid Cancer and Fuck Cancer, they are doing great things. Thank you~

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wasn't that a party?!!!

[Video of the League of Rock bands, founder Terry Moshenberg, and featuring special guest Tal Bachman]
Ok I am still buzzing over last Thursday's League of Rock showcase at the Yale, it was the end of the first 10 week session, and wasn't THAT a party?

Terry Moshenberg flew in from Toronto for the big event, but before he came to the Yale, he and Vancouver LOR chapter head Rob Boshaw went and picked up the instruments from Long and McQuade which were to be given as prizes for members who stood out during the 10 week session. These included a new guitar, a bass, some cymbals, a microphone and some other goodies. I must say it had to have been hard to pick winners because every single member made an impression on all of us for different reasons.

Anyhow, we all showed up that night with family and friends in attendance and it took no time at all to fill all the seats in the house. The excitement was so thick in the room that you could touch the nervous energy as it floated around. Some members were getting ready to go onstage and play in a band to a PACKED house at the Yale for the first time in their lives. The buzz in the room made me feel like it was on fire and it wasn't just the TREE beer that sold out half way through the night. I think I chatted to almost everyone, though it was largely a blur and if I didn't have the video footage as proof I was there I would hardly believe it even happened.

I have made this little sneak peek video to share with you. Since there were two professional videographers there I didn't really focus too hard on taking video and I really only caught a snapshot of the night knowing that someone else had it covered. While I did get a shot of all the bands, I totally forgot to get my own band which now I think is a bit of a shame. I didn't think of shooting Know Mercy, because of course my hands were full of either a guitar or a bass at the time and also I just plum forgot to ask anyone to shoot it for me so it's a little sad that I didn't' manage to get my band mate Stephen playing his guitar in this video. Stephen has been a good pal throughout this whole thing and on Thursday night, he was just a superstar, in fact he was voted MVP for this session! High five rockstar!

Fortunately Stephen will be in the video the League of Rock is producing, but for today there is only ONE piece of footage that I could find of him and it came during the finale. He was in the background of a single shot which I probably would not have included in any video for public consumption, because I am being such a dork in it, lol, but I weighed the pros and cons quite carefully and decided to include the shot despite myself, it was more important to make sure I got my band mate in there. Just ignore me (my sister who is queen of self portraiture and taught me everything I know however, will laugh her head off when she sees it).

See here is what happened. At the end of the night after my band KNOW MERCY played, LOR founder and host of the party Terry Moshenberg asked our special guest Tal Bachman to come up to the stage to close off the night. Oh my god! I nearly fell down. I was up onstage at the time and there was NO WAY I was going to get off of it if Tal was getting up there. It's been no secret to anyone I am a big fan, so you can just imagine how much of a thrill that was. It would be like having the chance to strap on your skates and take shots on Roberto Luongo if you were a big fan of the Canucks.

So anyhow, Stephen from my band gave Tal his guitar and then stepped back to hang out onstage ( which is how I got him in a shot, Stephen is wearing a blue tshirt, you'll see it. ), Terry also picked up a guitar and with no notice or planning whatsoever, we all set out to close the night with a little jam. I just hoped to heck I knew the songs that would be called.
Seeing as I wasn't playing an instrument, I grabbed my camera and took some footage of the finale while I was onstage. First we played a Bad Company song. Great, easy, I knew that one. Then, Kenny McNally from LOR Toronto got up to rock the house with Crossroads and Tal wowed us with some Clapton solos, the crowd was thrilled, the energy high, my smile ridiculous. Once that was finished, we were taking off the guitars and putting them away when the crowd started chanting 'She's so High', over and over again.

Graciously, Tal put his guitar back on and quickly told the band how the song went (that's the way jam's go), and with no rehearsal, we charged ahead. 10 years ago when I first fell in love with that song, I never would have imagined I would one day be up on stage singing it with the artist.
And I tell you THAT because I want to illustrate for you that not only does the League of Rock help non-professional musicians realize their dreams of playing with a band, recording, and performing live onstage, but it ALSO has the power to blow away a regular gig monkey like me, by surprising me and fulfilling one of my own dreams. It was crazy, it was the ultimate reward, and I can't thank Terry enough. This whole experience has exceeded even MY expectations! I can't wait for round two.

So watch the video folks, grab yourself a glimpse of what it is like to be in the League of Rock. If you are a non-pro musician who is busy with your work and family life, but are still aching to get out there and rock, remember this:
You go to five, we go till 11!
The next session is registering right now, you can find more info here at LEAGUE OF ROCK. See you soon!

Rach xo

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rachael and Nicola on Classic Rock 101

Rachael and Nicola talk about the League of Rock on Classic Rock 101's Dean and Hatch show.


Fall session registering NOW!

You may have heard it on the radio, but you didn't see it, till now!