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Enter the Kings County Music Festival

The Kings County Music Festival is looking for young musicians who enjoy performing to consider ente [ ... ]

Be an In-School Mentor

Who can be a mentor? You can! Kids need real people with real experience to help them realize their  [ ... ]

Playing Together

Melanie Chaisson & Paul MacDonald

by Beth Johnston

Melanie Chaisson & Paul MacDonald

"Can you take the picture from the waist up?" Melanie asks, bouncing in to the Arts Guild before her Saturday night show. "I'm wearing his shorts."

You can tell these two musicians are more than colleagues. Melanie Chaisson and Paul MacDonald are just wrapping up their first season in David Weale's A Long Way From the Road. The two have also been dating for the last "year and a week," says Melanie.

"Is that how long it has been?" Paul asks incredulously.

"He knows," Melanie replies.

Weale saw the couple play together last year in a show with Theresa Gallant, later asking Paul to play on his Christmas recording. This year, Weale decided to change Long Way by having two people accompany him while he spins his local folklore to sold-out crowds at the Guild. The lucky recruits were Paul and Melanie.

"I needed a piano player," Paul explains, "and Melanie can sing and play the piano, so it worked out just fine."

Melanie, who is entering her first year of an arts degree at UPEI this fall, says she has been rehearsing non-stop since finishing school. She and Paul both manage to hold down full-time day jobs. Paul is entering his third year of chemistry at UPEI, but his real passion is music.

"Every time I get going in school," he says, "I run away and play the fiddle somewhere."

The two agree this summer has been a success, and both are planning to stay on the Island next year. Audience response is what inspires them.

"There were no nights we had a really bad crowd," Paul says. "One night in Victoria, the three of us were laughing as much as the audience. It doesn't matter how many times you've seen the show-you still get into it."

Melanie and Paul are both interested in taking courses at UPEI with Professor Weale.

"I need an elective first semester," Paul says with a grin, "so I might take one of his courses. I don't think he'll show me any favouritism-he's pretty fair."

What's it like mixing business with romance? "There have been lots of fights and arguments this summer," Melanie admits. "Not with David, but between Paul and I." The fights couldn't have been too bad, though, since their partnership still seems pretty amicable-and as such, they're probably not a long way from the road to success.

Musician's Progress

Profile: Chris Corrigan

by Beth Johnston

Chris Corrigan

A tape recorder and a guitar are two things Chris Corrigan has never been without. The soft-spoken Island musician has been listening to, playing and recording music for as long as he can remember.

"My earliest memory was the hype the Beatles created," he says. "My Dad played the guitar and I just got into it."

Corrigan grew up in the Edmonton suburbs with little or no opportunity to see live acts. "All I had access to was FM radio and a set of headphones. My friends and I were really into music. You know that scene in Wayne's World when they sing `Bohemian Rhapsody'? Well, that was us, only we were singing Bob Dylan's `Positively Fourth Street'."

Corrigan moved to P.E.I. in 1981 and became an integral part of the Island music scene. He has performed with many different groups over the years, but is probably best known as the guitarist for the Raindogs (The Dogs). At one point, this group was playing three nights a week at The Dip (Apothecaries Lounge). He describes his music as "too rock for the folkies and too folk for the rockies."

These days, Corrigan is getting into the recording side of the business as a producer and arranger. He has recorded such local success stories as Lennie Gallant, Strawberry, Roy Johnstone and Alan Rankin.

Right now, he is working on a project with singer songwriter Julia Schurman and hopes to do some session recording on Lennie Gallant's new album.

Corrigan knows there are many ways for musicians to get their recordings out to the listener; however, he says his experience and familiarity with the process give him an advantage. "As far as production goes, recording can be a lot like painting-you have to develop your own style. It is important to make the music you are hearing in your head come out of the speakers. I try to help other people do this."

Recording, Corrigan explains, can be a valuable learning experience. "A lot of times you find out what you're about by going into the studio. Some bands just need a little bit of fine tuning." He likes to spend time conceiving and preparing arrangements with his clients before recording begins.

"Playing music is a real social thing," he says. "It's a form of communication." An excellent musician, Corrigan has never enjoyed the limelight-which is just the way he likes it. "My idea of success would be to be a sideman to a big star, say, in Peter Gabriel's band. I love playing guitar in a supportive role."

For now, Corrigan is trying to balance art and business in his career. This summer, he will be part of the band for the summer festival's A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline at the Mackenzie Theatre.

Events Calendar

January 2019
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Some Upcoming Events


January 29–February 3
City Cinema 14A, coarse language, substance abuse
Dir: Ethan Hawke, US, 129 m [ ... ]

Sequential thinking

Serial arrangements at Confederation Centre Art Gallery Until March 19 The tradition of artists wo [ ... ]

Raised on TV #3

February 15 & 16
The Guild Now in its third season, Raised on Television (RoTV3) is taking a loo [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Music PEI Canadian Songwriter Challenge

In partnership with ECMA 2019 Music PEI and ECMA 2019 have announced a partnership bringing togethe [ ... ]

The facilitator

Profile: Steve Bellamy by Jane Ledwell “Arts are ways into emotions. Arts are where we connect, [ ... ]

A gift of Island poetry: John MacKenzie

The Feet of Blue Herons If you happen to live in another town,
Or country, or even galaxy
As dim and  [ ... ]