Tuned Women auditioning for second show 

What: Tuned Women II Auditions

Where : MY (Millennium) Place

When: Thursday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 9, noon

When Tessa McLoughlin arrived in town from Australia two years ago, she faced an uphill battle trying to get venue managers and booking staff to give a young woman with an arsenal of original rock and folksy tunes a chance to play her music. She didn’t have the legendary status of someone like Guitar Doug to back her up, and wasn’t interested in simply playing cover tunes to get the gigs.

Frustrated, she envisioned an event that would feature the talents of women such as herself. When an opportunity arose to plan a fundraising event through Whistler Community Services for a women with eating disorders support group McLoughlin was leading, she pitched her concept to MY Place’s Gillie Easdon. The idea was a showcase of professional female musicians. Easdon jumped onboard, as both an organizer and performer, and Tuned Women was born.

McLoughlin was adamant about maintaining a level of professionalism. The lineup was auditioned rather than an open-Mic style format. Nine performers were chosen out of 22 candidates. After extensive rehearsals, they performed 19 songs of diverse genres for a sold-out crowd at the MY Place theatre in April.

The performance received an enthusiastic standing ovation.

"It was awesome," recalls Easdon. "It was the ideal mix tape."

Judging by the response there was no question in anyone’s mind that the event would continue and McLoughlin and Easdon have now issued the call for auditions for Tuned Women II, set to hit the MY Place stage Feb. 26-27, 2004. A grant from the Celebration 2010 fund will go toward a workshop for this year’s musicians.

Those interested in being a part of the event are invited to come by MY Place Thursday, Nov. 6 from 7 to 10 p.m. or Sunday, Nov. 9 from noon to 3 p.m., with two original songs that show their range.

While male presence will be accepted in a backup capacity, the event will maintain its female-centred focus in its sophomore year, something McLoughlin admits drew some flack last year. Regardless, she’s holding fast to her original vision of providing female musicians a forum for their original work.

The event will also continue as a fundraiser for the eating disorder support group and MY Place.

Participants should realize they are not signing up to be a one-night performer, as the Tuned Women group dynamic and weekly rehearsal sessions are an integral part of the total experience.

"Last year the rehearsals were more important than the performance," says Easdon. "It gave a really cohesive feel to the evening."

"It certainly made us appreciate each other’s music a lot more," confirms McLoughlin. "And it gave us a really good stage energy. Really cool."

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