Jenks goes back to school for latest musical adventure

In preparation for the follow-up to a debut CD called “Animals from A to Z,” the band Jenks made it a point to finish their homework.

Contributed Photo.

Dodgeball, school lunches, recess and sick days are just a few of the themes listeners will find on the group’s newest compilation of songs, titled “School Rocks.” Band founder Corey Jenkins of the Evergreen Ward in the Spokane East Stake said the CD of kids’ music started with “an ode to school lunch.”

“Our school lunches were cool when I was a kid,” Corey said. “At our concerts when we ask kids about school lunch, it’s about 50/50.”


Post Falls resident releases CD to benefit mission fund

Garrett Rook was 5 years old when he decided he wanted to play the violin, but he started taking piano lessons from his grandmother instead, as part of his home-school routine.

Pictured, Garrett Rook. Contributed Photo.

It took a few years for Rook to learn to enjoy practicing, but once he discovered he could play and make his own music, he never looked back. After taking lessons from his grandmother, he studied under a number of professional pianists. He had no formal training in composition, but one teacher in Boise encouraged him in that area.

“I had all these tunes and melodies in my head that I wanted to write,” said Rook.

Now 19, and a member of the Post Falls First Ward, Coeur d’Alene Stake, Rook just released his first CD which is comprised of 11of his own compositions. The CD is titled “Memories” and his favorite song also bears the same name.


“Twilight” fans wax lyrical on a cultural phenomenon

It’s nothing short of a cultural phenomenon.

The books have sold more than 110 million copies. The first two “Twilight” movies – “Twilight” and “New Moon” – made more than $1 billion worldwide. (That’s billion, with a b.) The third movie in the series – the just released “Eclipse” – has already made more than $150 million.

The movie’s stars can’t walk across a street without security because of mobs of screaming fans. At a press appearance in Brazil police had to call that nation’s equivalent of the National Guard because a crowd of around 4,000 had broken down barricades and were storming the hotel where the stars were staying.

If you don’t know the story, here’s a synopsis. A high school girl named Bella Swan moves to the rainy, dreary Forks, WA. to live with her father. In Forks, she meets two suitors. The first a dreamy, but pale vegetarian vampire (meaning he avoids drinking human blood, but kills animals instead) named Edward Cullen. The second is a burly werewolf named Jacob. Naturally she falls in love with both of them. And naturally no one but her is aware of their true identities as a vampire and a werewolf. The story takes off from there.

There are elements in “Twilight” of supernatural thrillers, horror, action and drama-but mostly it’s a story about teenage love and the plotlines that follow. And it’s sweeping the world.

Complete with custom t-shirts, Sarah (back row, second from left) and a group of around 20 friends attended the midnight premier of Eclipse on the night of June 29. Contributed Photo.

And this vampire invasion is led by an unlikely group – Mormon women.

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Hayden Lake artist leaves lasting imprint on change

Do you ever get change at the store and wonder who designs the art on each coin? If you happen to come across the North Dakota or American Samoa quarters, those designs are all thanks to Steve Clark, a local artist from the Hayden Lake Third Ward, Hayden Lake Idaho Stake.

Steve Clark with a large plaster replica of the art he created for the South Dakota quarter along with an assortment of art he has produced for various purposes over the years. Contributed Photo.

Clark has been employed at Sunshine Mint (previously associated with the Sunshine Mine) for 7-and-a-half years where he has designed coinage and now manages new product development. In the early part of 2004, he heard about the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program, which began with the state quarter designs and continues today with new projects such as the National Parks quarters and the First Spouse gold coins.

“I have to give credit to my wife for getting me involved,” said Clark. “I thought it sounded kind of neat, but I didn’t feel like I had the time to jump through a bunch of hoops – but she encouraged me to just do it.”


Liberty Lake painter inspires generations at The Art Chalet

When Annette Carter of the Liberty Lake Ward in the Spokane Valley Stake speaks of the many students she has taught over the years, her eyes take on the glow of a Monet landscape.

Annette Carter sets up for an art show displaying work by students of her adult watercolor class at The Art Chalet in Liberty Lake. Photo by Tanya Smith.

Carter’s walls are covered with mementos and thank you notes from grateful protege’s, among them a published artist and several college scholarship winners. You can tell she not only enjoys creating beautiful art, she loves making a difference in the lives of others.


The 5 Browns bring a slice of Hollywood to Spokane

While the 5 Browns’ latest concert tour may include stops like Spokane and Opelika, Ala., the quintet of virtuosic piano prodigies and siblings are excited about the recent release of an album that is all Hollywood.

The 5 Browns from left to right: Melody, Gregory, Desirae, Deondra and Ryan. Contributed Photo.

Inspired by some of Hollywood’s leading films and scores, “The 5 Browns in Hollywood” meshes the worlds of classical music and cinema with arrangements representing a diverse collection of world famous films that range from classics such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” to the more recent features like “The Hours.”

“We grew up watching classic movies,” says Desirae, the oldest Brown. “We all know the lyrics word for word. Many of them are songs from childhood that are dear to our hearts so creating this album was very personal and fun.”

Her sister Melody agrees, adding that “the reason this album is so fun to listen to is because you’ve heard the film music so often, but now it’s being performed in a totally new way.”

The Juilliard trained sibling team will be performing selections from their new album live in concert with the Spokane Symphony at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on May 14.

The 5 Browns – Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae were born in Houston and raised in Alpine, Utah and have been playing the piano since early childhood. When Desirae began to plan for... Read Full Story →

Music sets the tone for CdA cellist, arts advocate

As the current president and founder of the Coeur d’Alene Youth Orchestra and a cello player in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra for the past 17 years, Julie Crandall is the first to acknowledge the importance of music in her daily agenda.

Pictured here, Julie Crandall in her North Idaho home. Contributed Photo.

I can’t imagine music not being a part of my life.” said Crandall, a mother of six children, (all of whom are musicians) and grandmother of four growing musicians.

Baptized in Sweden while her father was serving as mission president, Julie doesn’t remember a time in which music was not a central theme. She says that her most memorable Church experience was “singing at the Spokane Temple dedication for President Hinckley.”

Crandall’s cello playing career started in the fifth grade. Taking only a one-year hiatus from music since then, Julie has played with the Sacramento Orchestra, the University of Riverside Orchestra, the Provo Youth Symphony and the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra.

“I don’t really enjoy doing solos,” she said. “I like playing with an orchestra. I like being part of 100 people all working together to be exactly together to make a beautiful sound. I wish everyone could have the experience of being in the middle of an orchestra. When you are in an audience listening to a symphony it is inspiring. When you are in the midst of the orchestra the effect is heavenly.”

Julie said the spiritual aspect of music has been a true benefit to her testimony.

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Schmidt brings musical gifts to Inland Northwest

Jon Schmidt has written over 100 songs, released eight albums and plays an average of two or three shows a week – now he’s paying a visit to Spokane.

With over 3 million downloaded songs, eight highly popular albums, seven volumes of original piano scores that fly off the shelves and a highly rated television special, Jon’s music has proven itself to be a hit. Contributed Photo.

“I’m excited to come to Spokane,” Schmidt said in an exclusive interview with the Latter Day Sentinel.

Tonight at 7:30, Schmidt is performing at the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane.

“There’s nothing better than performing in front of a few hundred people who just came to hear me play piano,” Jon said.

And that’s what he’ll get to do tonight.


Montana woman focuses on gift of adoption in original documentary

What does it take to give a gift that changes lives forever?

Mary Firth, of Missoula, Montana, asked such a question as she worked on her thesis project for her Master’s of Fine Arts degree. During the 2005-06 school year Firth put together a 30-minute documentary entitled “The Giving.” She documents the journey of six women and their experiences with placing their children for adoption.

Prior to making the documentary, her idea for a thesis was to film 10 commercials – but a certain experience changed her mind.

Firth and her husband David had the opportunity to meet the birth mother of their son Jason. Mary was touched by the struggle women go through when they place their children for adoption. Mary decided she needed to give birth mothers a voice.

But how does someone find women who not only have placed their children for adoption but are willing to speak about it publicly? It wasn’t easy. Mary talked to every adoption agency in the Northwest and asked if they would give her contact information to the birth mothers who came in. Only one of the six women was found in this fashion. Four were found through word of mouth and the last one was found through an advertisement in the “Kaiman,” the University of Montana’s student newspaper.

Firth interviewed and interviewed. She ended talking with each woman for two hours. The interviewing wasn’t easy.


Spokane musician returns home on country road

Later this month will be like a homecoming for Bart Olson.

Olson is the drummer for a country music group called Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand, a talented band comprised entirely of returned missionaries from the LDS Church.

And Bart Olson is also from Spokane

Bart Olson, the drummer for the country music group called Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand hails from the Spokane area. Contributed photo.

March 12 they’re performing at The Met, The Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane at 7 p.m. On March 13 their show will start at 3 p.m. in Coeur d’Alene at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

“We’re excited to perform in Spokane again,” Olson says.

He grew up on the South Hill, in the Spokane first and sixth wards, the third of eight children in the Olson family.

“I actually started playing music when I was 8,” he says. “I started playing the fiddle.”

He was part of the family band, the ‘Olson Family Fiddlers.’

“Everyone in the family played something, guitars, fiddles, something,” Olson says. “Every month we had a couple of different shows.”


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