For Vancouver musician Keegan Smith, 2010 is off to a good start.
Smith, 33, recently won the best male artist award at the Portland Music Awards, which took place in late January at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom in Portland.
Smith was also nominated for best live performance, but lost to Portland symphonic pop group Pink Martini. He’s not too upset about the loss, though. “I revere that band,” he said.
The Vancouver musician had won both of those awards at the show in 2009.
“It is validating, but whether it’s win or lose, I don’t try to let that influence my drive,” he said.
Smith is already looking ahead to the rest of 2010. He hopes to put out an album in late summer and is currently working on roughly a dozen tracks.
He is also hoping to perform at a benefit concert for Haitian disaster relief later this month. He performed at a show to raise money for the Red Cross in January.
Smith said he was haunted by images he’d seen in the news of dead bodies and the destruction after the earthquake. It’s those images that inspired him to perform at the benefit shows. “I feel compelled to stay in the fight for that,” he said.
Finding fans at home
Since Eugene Nordstrom’s third book was published in June, he said he’s been holding readings and book-signings at stores throughout the West Coast.
On March 5, he’ll get the opportunity to promote “Reflections in Gold” in Clark County.
Nordstrom, who lives near Club Green Meadows, will be part of the March 5 Arts & Letters event in Camas, which will benefit the nonprofit Friends of the Camas Library.
He’s proud to be sharing this particular work with avid readers.
“Reflections in Gold” won Editor’s Choice and Rising Star awards from iUniverse, the self-publishing company that produced Nordstrom’s book. An iUniverse spokesman said only about 1 percent of iUniverse’s titles earn that designation. The novel is about environmental advocacy, a topic that Nordstrom cares about deeply.
“Reflections in Gold” is about a fictional investigative reporter who exposes a connection between land developers and corrupt members of a county government.
“I wanted to have a protagonist who was pro-environment,” Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom, 70, started writing books after he retired from his work as a clinical psychotherapist.
For more information, visit Nordstrom’s Web site, http://www.read-nordstrom.com./
Symphony celebrates 10 years
Timoteus and Victoria Racz of Vancouver started the Junior Symphony of Vancouver 10 years ago because their music students were looking for opportunities to perform in Clark County.
Now, some members of the group are the younger brothers and sisters of the original orchestra.
“It’s one of those welcome byproducts of being around so long,” said Victoria, 45, who added that she and Timoteus, 54, take great satisfaction in seeing former members pursue music careers.
The symphony will celebrate its 10-year run with a March 13 anniversary concert at Vancouver First Church of God.
Victoria said Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt has been invited to make an appearance at the anniversary concert. That will bring the group full circle. Victoria said that former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard took part in the group’s debut season.
To get more information about the Junior Symphony of Vancouver and its upcoming concert go to http://www.oregonchamberplayers.org/.
Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Features Editor Elisa Williams, 360-735-4561, or e-mail email@example.com.