In Part 1 of this column, Marian Gillard talked to former teacher and Quesnel Live Arts and Quesnel & District Community Arts Council volunteer Colleen Brines about her years growing up and becoming a teacher. Here, Gillard interviews Brines about her current passion for the arts in Quesnel.
Marian Gillard: What type of art most appeals to you?
Colleen Brines: I particularly enjoy the performing arts such as music, dance and theatre. I have no talent for the visual arts but I certainly enjoy the work of others. I collect art as I find pieces that appeal to me.
MG: How long have you been a leader in the arts scene in Quesnel?
CB: I don’t see myself as a leader but a supporter of the arts. I always enjoyed the presentation by the Quesnel Concert Society, which became Quesnel Live Arts. I brought my children to performances presented by the Children’s Concert Society. I attended the high school musicals and theatre productions as well as dance events put on by local studios. I was pleased to be able to participate in the final couple of shows presented by Kersley Musical Theatre.
MG: When did you start to volunteer on the committees?
CB: I was invited to join the board of Quesnel Live Arts in 2002. That position led to my being a representative on the Arts Council and becoming involved in the many activities of that Council. Later, it led to a position on the Board of the B.C. Touring Council.
MG: What is your motivation for all this hard work?
CB: I believe that a community needs more than hiking trails and arenas to make it a complete community. Recreation plays a very important role in the development of an individual but art is what feeds a person’s soul. I have seen amazing interactions between students and performers at Chuck Mobley Theatre. For example, an a cappella group was finishing a sound check and some students were on stage finishing set up. Suddenly I heard the students singing and the professional group joined in and sang back up! I had tears. Many of the visiting performers take time to acknowledge the students and efforts they make to provide a quality concert.
Another motivation is the opportunity to meet and introduce remarkable artists to the community. I am truly amazed at the calibre and professionalism of the many artists presented by QLA and the Arts Council.
MG: How do you envision the Performing Arts Centre in Quesnel?
CB: My vision of a PAC for Quesnel is a 450-seat theatre with quality sound and light features. I envision change rooms, meeting rooms, a foyer with visual art everywhere, a dance floor on the stage so we can present a variety of dance as well as theatre and music. My dream is to present a full production of a national ballet company and have room to host them. I wish to see the Festival of Performing Arts hosting a provincial competition. Also the Community Choir is growing in excellence and they could showcase their talent. I have a vision for an evening of entertainment with a glass of wine at intermission and a gathering to interact with the artists at the end.
MG: When does the Arts Council meet?
CB: The Community Arts Council meets on the fourth Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Arts and Recreation Centre. Anyone interested in supporting and promoting arts, culture or heritage in Quesnel and District is welcome to attend.
Marian Gillard is an Observer contributor.