Ryan Hommy is a Selkirk College Contemporary Music and Technology Program student, but he’s also a veteran performer and fan. As he joins classmates in preparing for the annual Year-End Showcase Concert Series that runs over the next three weeks, Hommy is looking forward to an entertaining eight nights of music.
“It’s always really cool to see the creation that all these students come up with,” says the 34 year old. “From when students start in first year to now, it’s just night and day. If people are into live music generally, they want to see a show that has good sound in the Shambhala Hall, and they like to experience something that they might experience once, it’s a good idea to check it out.”
Hommy arrived to the Tenth Street Campus in Nelson three years ago from Alberta. He spent seven years recording, performing and touring with his indie rock band The Omega Theory between 2003 and 2009, a stint that provided an immersive industry education.
While working at Edmonton’s Rabbit Hill Snow Resort, in 2016 Hommy decided it was time to check out post-secondary options. Once he discovered what’s available at Selkirk College, he originally considered the Ski Resort Operations and Management Program but instead shifted back to his true passion.
“It’s been pretty wild, I’ve learned much more than I thought I could learn,” he says of the Contemporary Music and Technology Program. “There is way more to music than I thought was even out there when I started. Coming to school at this stage of my life, it’s been a big advantage. I have found who I am as an artist because I have learned so much on a deeper level.”
The year-end shows will feature 17 student performances in a variety of different genres over eight nights between March 15 and April 5. An important part of the final stages of their formal education, students are required to put together a band of peers, choose songs for their 30-minute set and execute the performance. Students can choose to perform original music, covers featuring their own interpretation or a mix of both.
Alexanne Kasandra arrived to Selkirk College one year after graduating from high school in her hometown of Winnipeg. The 20 year old grew up singing in choirs, picked up a guitar in middle school and by high school was performing with a friend in coffee shop gigs.
As she gets set to graduate this April, Kasandra is confident the last two years of study in the classrooms and studios at the Tenth Street Campus have prepared her well for what’s to come.
“We are in a program that moves fast and the course load is heavy,” she says. “It’s awesome because it makes you a hard worker and able to thrive under pressure, two really important traits to have that will serve me well in the future.”
Like Hommy, Kasandra is looking forward to her own performance and those of her classmates.
“There are so many talented people we have as classmates, it motivates and inspires me,” Kasandra says. “Everybody is working so hard, anybody who comes out to any of these showcases will be blown away.”
Kasandra’s showcase is on March 29 where she will be performing three originals and three covers in genre she describes as alternative pop with a little bit of an electronic element. Hommy will be on stage with his band on April 5 with a show featuring all originals in a genre-spanning style that draws mostly on his punk rock background.
Other performers and dates are as follows:
March 15: Lindsay Elzinga (pop, folk/country), Marybeth Stenhouse (pop)
March 21: James Alexander (rock/metal, jazz, funk), Liam Van Haretzmuller (metal)
March 22: Stephen Beck (progressive rock, heavy metal), Calvin Reid (hard rock, metal, jazz)
March 28: Brendan Watts (rock, instrumental), Shannon Sargent (blues, rock)
March 29: Jonah Miller (hip hop, R&B), Alexanne Kasandra (pop, singer/songwriter)
April 3: Santo Joseph (rock, fusion, funk), Waseem Hakhroo (jazz fusion, funk)
April 4: Tiago de Renor (electronic ensemble), Amon Carpenter (contemporary alt pop), Cole Senger (rock, R&B, country)
April 5: Isaac Klaassen-Wright (loud, rock, prog rock, metal), Ryan Hommy punk, rock, progressive)
All performances take place at the Shambhala Music and Performance Hall on the Selkirk College Tenth Street starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation and seating is limited so arrive early (doors open at 7 p.m).
Learn more about the Contemporary Music & Technology Program at selkirk.ca/music.