Soulful songstress Jenna Mae makes her mark 

Arts News: Deep Winter photography challenge announced for Jan. 9

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - SOULED OUT R&B singer Jenna Mae, centre, celebrates her win at Dubh Linn Gate's inaugural Make Your Mark music contest with her backing band, The Groove Section, on Nov. 30.
  • Photo submitted
  • SOULED OUT R&B singer Jenna Mae, centre, celebrates her win at Dubh Linn Gate's inaugural Make Your Mark music contest with her backing band, The Groove Section, on Nov. 30.

After just coming up short the last two years at the Whistler Music Search, R&B singer Jenna Mae got her sweet redemption on Monday, Nov. 30. The soulful songwriter took home the win and $1,000 cash at Dubh Linn Gate's inaugural live music contest, Make Your Mark.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," an elated Mae says the morning after being crowned. "It feels good. I feel like I'm kind of the only R&B artist in Whistler, so it felt really nice to be recognized."

Seventeen local acts took part in the month-long competition, with the top four strutting their stuff in front of a panel of judges at Monday's final. Mae was the last artist to hit the stage and brought down the house with her funk-infused medley of Beyonce's "Partition" and the Rick James' classic, "Super Freak." For her final numbers, she got a little help from backing band The Groove Section and keyboardist Bradford Needham, not to mention some of her Lululemon coworkers, who broke out into a spontaneous dancing flash mob.

Mae says she plans to continue collaborating with The Groove Section as well as other musicians around town — something that wouldn't have been possible without the exposure that contests like Make Your Mark offer.

"That's why I love these competitions," she says. "You get to see what other people do and their passion for music."

Reggae group and recent Whistler arrivals The Funky Snow Monkeys earned second and $500, while Erik Van Meerbergen and fiddler Raddim Koppitz nabbed third and $200.

Organizer Jonathan Dobie, himself a musician and the founder of Locals Live open mic at the FireRock, says there are big plans on the horizon for the contest. "We're talking about doing it again in the spring, possibly doing it twice a year," he said. "It's just the perfect opportunity for me to give local musicians a chance to get their voice heard on our stage."

Photographers announced for 10th anniversary Deep Winter Challenge

Whistler Blackcomb is bringing out the big guns for the 10th edition of the Deep Winter Photo Challenge. The all-star lineup of snowsports shooters features returning winners Ashley Barker, Zoya Lynch, Russell Dalby, as well as wildcard King of the Dolomites winner Guy Fatta. The rest of the field will be confirmed at a later date.

"We are super excited to once again co-produce such an amazing event," says Justin Sweeny, marketing event supervisor for sponsor Arc'teryx, in a release. "Deep Winter is a great opportunity to support and showcase the amazing photographic talent in the snowsports community at large, while at the same time exposing the world-class terrain that Whistler Blackcomb has to offer. It's a win-win!"

The world's best outdoor adventure photographers will have 72 hours to compile a breath-taking slideshow of mountain athletes in their natural habitat. Competitors will vie for the $10,000 prize and the right to be called the King or Queen of Storms, and, for the first time, will be required to shoot a portion of their shots from lift-accessed backcountry.

The slideshows will be shown in front of a live audience on Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Fairmont. Tickets are $25, available now at any Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations location, online at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/deepwinter, or by calling 1-800-766-0449.

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