Amazing selection of talent for annual Art & Soul benefi t

Randi Boulton and members of the Celtic band Tir Na Nog, Shawn Kingston, Brian Volke and Christine Simmons will share stories and song.

Randi Boulton and members of the Celtic band Tir Na Nog, Shawn Kingston, Brian Volke and Christine Simmons will share stories and song during the fourth annual Art & Soul Benefit at Stevenson Performing Arts Centre, June 10.

Drama teacher Jacqui Renwick, Music teacher Kerry Heisler and Art teacher Bruce Thompson are excited to welcome the talented singers and songwriters.

Randi Boulton is a local singer, songwriter and musician whose who was born and raised in Central Alberta. Music has always been a passion of hers despite having no music program at the school she attended.

Art & Soul is a benefit close to Boulton for that reason. Besides childhood piano lessons and a couple of guitar and vocal lessons, she plays by ear and basically, is self-taught. Singing is something that she has been doing for as long as she can remember.

Writing was never intentional but she always felt it came naturally. It all started when she won first prize in a talent show with her mom when she was 12. Then she won a song writing contest for Chinook’s Edge School Division when she was 14. It was her first performance in front of 587 people on a grand piano playing a piece that had “won” or been recognized for something.

That led to being selected to play for Showcase 98 in Edmonton. She was just excited that she got a free holiday to the “city” and that her parents wouldn’t have to pay for their expensive meals.

She had no idea that from that day on music would take her on this incredible journey. She kept writing and performing wherever she could until she decided that she had enough material to make an album. After writing, producing and releasing her first album “Just Remember Who You Are”, (which sold out at HMV), as well as performing in a host of different venues for the past ten years, she has gained confidence in her music and herself and she is thrilled to share her songs and stories with everyone.

She is currently recording an album with the Juno Award-winning producer Russell Broom, who is highly regarded for his work with Jann Arden and is looking forward to its release in October. (

Guitarist Shawn Kingston has wowed Art & Soul audiences since the first event four years ago. This year we are pleased to welcome him and his Celtic Band Tir Na Nog. Kingston is the band’s newest member. Tir Na Nog is Irish for Land of the Young.

TNN’s brand of Celtic eclectic folk rock fusion has charmed audiences in Calgary and southern Alberta since the band’s inception in 1999. With a combination of original songs, traditional material and esoteric interpretations of some oft heard pieces, Tir Na Nog loves to energize and uplift.

Founded by Saskatchewan ex-pat Brian Volke, the band’s current line-up coalesced about seven years ago. Native Calgarian singer and songwriter Christie Simmons brings along her Bluegrass folk roots and heartfelt voice. RJ McConnell, a cowboy at heart transplanted from Toronto, joined in 2000. He has been rock steady on bass as well as friendship. Colin Peters, who has lived in Alberta and B.C. is masterful at filling in the gaps on the fiddle, while always ready to jump in with a tune or two. Originally signing on as a bodhran player, Brad Uphill, from Kimberly B.C., has gradually been expanding his percussive purview. Newest member Shawn Kingston brought along his dobro in the spring of 2011 and the band hasn’t gotten over it yet. (

It will be an afternoon of celebration of the arts, great music, and a silent auction that is shaping up to be fantastic. This year we are raffling a trip to Las Vegas, courtesy of MGM Ford Lincoln Red Deer. Tickets are $20 each, are available at H. J. Cody High School’s main office and may be purchased over the phone with a credit card (403-887-2412).

by Jacqui Renwick – Special to Sylvan Lake News