1. What does the Pencil Salesman mean to you?
A few years ago, Brian hinted that he was working on a new project with me in mind. Since then, he has revealed little parts of it and it has built up a lot of anticipation. I have been excited for this opera for a long time now and I'm so glad that it has come together in a way I never imagined.
2. What is favourite medium for communication (beyond talking/singing in person) and why?
My favourite medium for communication would be texting. Texting is so quick and easy to do. Because it is instantaneous, it helps if you have to let someone know something quickly, such as cancelling an event last-minute.
3. What has influenced you during your work on this opera?
Not only do I love the story and what it stands for, but the music is so beautiful. It is so enjoyable to work on a piece that you love so much and feel apart of.
4. When did you start working on the project and what is your process like for a new work?
I have been learning the music for the past few months and we have had a few short workshops - now we're well into rehearsals. When I have a new work at Westben, I learn my parts at home and then when I have my weekly lessons with Donna, we work on it together.
5. What other projects do you have coming up?
I was just performing at the Lilac Festival in Warkworth with the Campbellford High School jazz combo and I have a jazz show in Cobourg at The Loft in mid-July. Later this summer, I am performing with Howard Baer (bass) and Michael Monis (guitar) on a small jazz circuit at a few venues such as the I am Coffee cafe in Campbellford and the Pastry Peddler in Millbrook. At the end of the year, I will be joining Bob Trennum and a few other artists for my fourth year of Bob Trennum and Friends' Christmas show at Victoria Hall. I have just recently signed with Wheatland records and expect to have a CD out with them by the end of the year.
Connecting is as simple as letting go.
John Fanning – Boris
Donna Bennett – Rose
Alexander Dobson – The Pencil Salesman
Olivia Rapos – Violet
Virginia Hatfield – Daisy
Keith Klassen – Edward
Gabrielle Prata – Flo
Robert Longo – Aaron
Daniel Warren – Conductor
Michael Mori – stage direction
Caroline Langill & Gord Langill – stage & costume design
Andy Thomspon – sound design
Gord Reid – lighting design
The Story: All is rosy with Boris Ball. Or so it seems. The patriarch of a family of inventors, Boris lives blissfully in the past, in the beloved company of his wife Rose and his prize invention, the Personal Touch Typewriter. But ever cynical of the frenzied world of technological advancement swirling dizzily around him, Boris becomes increasingly oblivious to the challenges ripping his family apart. It is up to a wayward pencil salesman who draws him into the present by introducing him to someone he never knew: his own granddaughter. Is connecting really as simple as letting go?
Get the details on our Connecting Through Song Week including a Vocal Intensive with Michael Warren and workshops & seminars in conjunction with performances of The Pencil Salesman.