Jenn Forsland knows the instructions for a bad day.
On Tuesday, the G.P. Vanier choir teacher and Comox Valley songstress is hoping to use her experience with those instructions and help one dozen of her Grade 11 and 12 students for a performance with award-winning spoken word artist Shane Koyczan.
Koyczan, who is performing at the Sid Williams Theatre tonight, will host the students, along with some adult singers from Forsland’s community choirs, on his final three pieces of the performance.
Forsland first made the connection with Koyczan about four years ago when the poet created a project with local students for his video Instructions for a Bad Day.
She proposed another collaboration with the artist in September, but received confirmation just two weeks ago, and has quickly gathered her Vanier singers for preparation.
“What I’ve asked of this choir is extreme professionalism. We rehearse at the end of a very long day; it’s the only time we have,” explained Forsland. “They’re able to take it to a high level of skill and musicianship, and it’s super exciting.”
The choir members performing on stage had to audition to be part of the elite group, she added, and noted the opportunity is a chance for the students to share in the creative process with Koyczan.
“The only reason we can achieve something like this is because (Forsland) directs us so well,” noted Terran Franklin, who added the chance to perform on stage with Koyczan allows him to expand musically.
“The music that I listen to is mostly punk, so this is a totally different thing,” he noted with a smile. “The song (the choir is performing) is about being confident in yourself.”
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” explained singer Ryan Castle.
“Sometimes you listen to his songs more than once and you can take your own meaning from it — there’s so many messages in them.”
Forsland said the power of Koyczan’s songs are that they relate to people on a variety of levels, depending on who they are and where they are in life.
“When I listen to it (the recording), I got a belief of true love. I bring my own take to it,” she explained.
“(His songs are) like a baby shrimp floating in an ocean of metaphors,” added Jeffery Daniels with a laugh, who credits Forsland for finding confidence in his vocal abilities and for readying the group for the performance in such a short amount of time.
Forsland said the vision for Tuesday’s performance is to have the choir rise from their seats and come from the audience on stage for the grand finale.
Tonight’s performance is sold out, but for more information about Koyczan, visit shanekoyczan.com.