Clarkson teaching youngsters how to perform on stage

Everywhere you look, it is happening.

Flash mobs, prime time, reality TV, the big screen. Musical theatre has reached the masses, and the masses are eating it up.

Evidence of this has been showing in the Comox Valley for years, but then again we are a Cultural Capital of Canada.

BACK FROM FRANCE

Everywhere you look, it is happening.

Flash mobs, prime time, reality TV, the big screen. Musical theatre has reached the masses, and the masses are eating it up.

Evidence of this has been showing in the Comox Valley for years, but then again we are a Cultural Capital of Canada.

It must be something in the water, but here in our beautiful Comox Valley, everyone seems to be on stage.

Our little Valley abounds with talent and creativity, and there is always something to see or hear. From four-year-old youngsters to the 60-plus group, Valley-ites are singing and dancing their evenings and weekends away preparing for the next  stint  under the spotlights.

Joey Clarkson has been part of this movement for the past 12 years.

Fresh from a successful summer as musical director for Rainbow Youth Theatre’s productions of Once Upon a Mattress and Willy Wonka, she offers musical theatre workshops and camps all over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland through distance education schools, homelearner groups and the private sector.

“This summer was fantastic!” exclaims Clarkson. “I worked with two incredible groups of actors and a super production team. I truly believe that the biggest benefit you can take with you from musical theatre is a sense of personal worth and teamwork. I have seen shy children blossom into confident individuals through musical theatre, and children who have always seemed to be the ‘star’ realize that it is through working as a team that they are truly successful.”

At the tender age of 21, Clarkson is well versed in the value of teamwork, not only on stage but through her community service projects, through which she has helped raise thousands of dollars for Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross.

“In my role as both a producer for Rainbow Youth Theatre shows and president of Rainbow Youth Theatre Society, I have spent two successful seasons working

with Joey,” says Doug Barr, Rainbow Youth Theatre Society president. “She has worked with kids as young as five up to late teens, both individually and with large groups of kids. Joey works very well under pressure; each summer season has shows from starting rehearsals to production in four weeks time. She motivates the kids to learn and grow, stretching their talent, encouraging kids to be musically better and sing like angels. Joey is a very talented young woman who is a both a gifted musician and teacher.”

“I have been teaching since I was 14 and love to see how the children have grown,” smiles Clarkson. “Many, many of my students are repeat participants. I even have students that I remember as infants coming in with their parents to drop their sibling at class.”

Clarkson’s fast-paced, no-holds-barred teaching style is a hit with the kids.

She leaves no time for the students to be nervous or shy, and she challenges them with harmonies and choreography.

“They are exhausted at the end of the day … and so am I,” laughs Clarkson. “We are often stiff at the next rehearsal!”

Clarkson is offering a week-long musical theatre camp for children aged six and older Aug. 15 to 19 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Comox Valley Kung Fu Academy at 3-1491 McPhee Ave. in Courtenay.

The week will consist of high-energy dance, script work, melody, harmony and vocal technique, concluding with a small, informal presentation for family.

For more information, contact Clarkson at 250-334-2208 or joeyclarkson@telus.net.

— Joey Clarkson

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