Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Musicians to perform at Chilkat Center


January 16, 2020

Local musicians and artists will perform at the 13th annual Northern Lights Showcase Sunday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Chilkat Center. 

Henry Leasia, council member and organizer, said the variety show will feature short sets by local musicians and a spoken word performance by Janine Allen.

Leasia, who performed at last year’s showcase and will accompany Jae Lampkins this year, said he’s made an effort to reach out to writers and encourage people who might not have performed much in the past to put themselves out there. Most of the people he asked said, “Yes.” He attributes this to the community-oriented spirit of Haines and the unique opportunity the showcase offers performers.

For the artists, it’s a chance to play in a quieter environment than the rowdy bars, Leasia said. “With (the showcase) people really come to listen. They are there for the performance.” 

Ben Aultman-Moore, who will play alongside his partner Jojo Goerner, said he looks forward to the event because it’s a good motivator to get creative. The two have performed at the showcase once in the past.

“The first time we did it, we decided we would play all original music,” he said. “It was a catalyst for moving away from just covering.” They are doing the same thing this year—each has written an original song, and they have composed one together.

For 15-year-old Matilda Rogers, the event will be her first time performing original music live. Rogers played covers at last year’s showcase with a friend. She said she’s a little nervous about having a whole 15-minute set to herself but expects the nerves will go away once she starts performing. She’s been narrowing down her setlist, figuring out which four songs will convey the way she feels in the moment.

For a musician who’s accustomed to playing in a frenetic setting, at the showcase, “it’s kind of intimidating how much people listen,” Aultman-Moore said. “You’re going to sing your song, and they’re just going to hear what you have to say.”

“I’ve never done anything like (the showcase),” says Allen, who plans to read “Zinc,” a piece of creative nonfiction published in the magazine Alaska Women Speak that explores her personal relationship to the land in Haines through the mineral used in her hearing aid batteries. This is her first time performing at the Northern Light Showcase, and she believes it is the first time the event will feature a spoken word performance.

“I’m grateful that the arts council organizes this event,” she said. “The chance to showcase creativity when it’s cold and dark outside is invaluable.”

In addition to Allen, Aultman-Moore, Goerner, and Rogers, this year’s showcase will feature Jae Lampkins, The Corvids, Betsy Shiner, and Joel Stuk. Tickets are available for purchase at the door.


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