It is back to school for local singer song writer Bonnie Fontaine, but before she immerses herself in her music studies, she is going to take to the stage at the Errington Farmers Market on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Fontaine said she will perform some cover tunes as well as some of her original songs. The Errington resident describes her musical style as a combination of everything.
“I love a lot of different styles…jazz, blues, folk, alternative and Celtic. That is pretty much me in a nutshell,” she said.
Fontaine, who plays guitar, has asked violinist Falon Smith to join her on stage and admits it will be very impromptu performance.
“We’ve performed together at the market before. We will throw something together and it will be fun. Having her on stage with me will make it a little more colourful,” Fontaine said.
Fontaine has collaborated with many different musical artists over the years and speaks fondly of the time she was in an all women’s band called Clayoquot Sound.
“We did a recording at Ocean Studios of original music and all the proceeds went to the protection of Meares Island. We toured Vancouver Island during our years together. What was neat about that was we practiced in Tofino and people lived on little islands and we would take boats out to them and work on our songs and harmonies while our kids played,” she recalled.
She said when they played at Expo 86 she got to walk past James Brown every day.
In 1999 she performed with a local group called Expresssoul and began recording a CD of original songs entitled Stirring.
“I tried to incorporate some of my musical diversity in the CD Expresssoul which really was about expressing one’s soul. It was wonderful to work with a collaboration of many great artists,” she said.
Back in June, Fontaine performed at Nanoose Bay Art in the Garden and over the summer she has been busy teaching voice at the music centre.
Fontaine who has been attending VIU where she is majoring in voice in the Bachelor of Arts program said finding a balance between her family life and her studies can be crazy at times but there is no turning back now.
“I am trying to take things in stride. I am going to learn as much as I can about music because I love music. It has always been my passion and I keep going back to it,” she said.
Currently Fontaine teaches voice lessons because as one of her instructors told her, “if you practice what you learn you stay fresh.”
After Fontaine gets her degree she will teach music full time and she said for those people who think they can’t sing, she doesn’t agree.
“I think that everybody has a voice. If you can talk you can sing. It is just a matter of learning how to use your voice. It is a matter of learning what your range and pitch is. Articulation is important as well as breathing control and learning how to use your diaphragm.
“The more you become aware of these things you can learn how to sing. It is really not impossible for anybody… it is just a matter if they want to,” she said.
The bandshell at the Errington Farmers Market will also feature performances by David Malek and John Hamel Saturday, Sept. 17.
The last day for the market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be Saturday, Sept. 24.