Arts scene: Entertainment world keeps Sue and John young

The entertainment industry has been a part of their lives from the start

John Mang and Sue Wood quickly immersed themselves into the local arts scene

Sue Wood and John Mang did not come to the Island to slow down; they simply wanted to change directions. The entertainment industry has been a part of their lives from the start, and coming to the Island was not going to change that.

“We had been in media for all of our careers,” said Sue. “The shift was to find the next thing. When we moved here, it wasn’t to slow down, it was to explore a new community – to explore a different kind of lifestyle, in this wonderful Valley. The slowing down part was never on the agenda. Indulging in what we have a passion for, that was our only agenda.”

They quickly endeared themselves to the arts scene when they came to Comox in 2011, and have been the going concern ever since.

If they aren’t on stage, they are either backstage, or introducing the next act to take the stage.

Sue says it’s all part of what keeps them “young.”

“I think being busy keeps you youthful. I think the minute you decide you are done, and you are going to stay home, and not have an active connection to your community, I think then you start to feel old. If I didn’t have all those things on my plate, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”

The Comox Valley is a major benefactor from their move to the Island.

Sue launched Susan Wood Communications the year they arrived, and immediately immersed herself in the local music scene, by becoming the  marketing manager for Vancouver Island MusicFest.

She is also festival producer for Comox Nautical Days, a board member of the Comox Valley Economic Development Society Destination Marketing Advisory Committee, and until recently, a  board member and chair of the marketing and communications committee for the Comox Valley Community Foundation.

And, when time permits, she volunteers as an event photographer/editor for St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox.

“It really vitalizes your day, when you have every reason – 17 reasons – to get out and about.”

“I think that’s putting the number low,” said John, who is involved with nearly as many projects, himself.

A professional musician who spent years on the production side of the industry, John has returned to his passion – performing – since coming to the Island.

“I was anxious to start playing again,” he said. “I’ve been playing in bands since before I went to high school; put myself through university by playing with bands. But then, really, for the bulk of my career, I didn’t really play very much.”

The shift started prior to the move, when he went online and saw an ad for a “13-piece funk/jazz/soul/rock/rhythm & blues band” looking for a keyboard player.

“I thought, well, that’s pretty interesting, so we had a couple of email exchanges, and …”

With that, John landed his first gig in the Comox Valley, as the keyboardist for Time Well Wasted – before they even moved to the Island.

He’s also spent time with The Fabulous Mutts, Reunion, and “four or five other bands.”

The next adventure for the two of them is to take the stage together. They’ve done a couple of gigs as a duo since moving here, including a 1st Tuesday Fundraiser at the Mex Pub.

John says there will be more of that in the future.

“This is going to be fun, because we aren’t really interested in ringing the till; what we really want to do is play music that excites us. So you’ll hear Paul McCartney and Holly Cole in the same set.”

“But if you want to pay us a million dollars for a gig, we’ll take it,” quipped Sue.

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