In pursuit of his passions, thirteen year old Austin Black has a motto, “Live the life you love; don’t let it live you.” During seven years of training Shotokan Karate along side his grandfather, it seemed Black also started to excel in other areas – as an inspiring young instructor, an encouraging lacrosse teammate, and a familiar face in theatre. More importantly, the art form’s original philosophy of avoiding violence provided some positive self-discipline. Recently, while participating in the Vancouver Island Coastal Martial Arts Open, Black took gold in three categories including Grand Champion. However, in addition to the metals he received something unexpected – an invitation to the TAFISA’s world tournament. Black then raised two thousand dollars to attend the event and took home bronze in Kata 13/14 using traditional hand techniques and silver in Weapons 13/14. Black hopes to re-qualify for Team Canada / TAFISA in two years and to also one day attend the Funakoshi Worlds.
Influenced early on by his mother’s musical guidance Richard Moody found a lifelong devotion to the string instruments. At fourteen Moody moved with his family to France where he studied and practiced classical viola 3-5 hours a day. Being a part of a city and conservatory incredibly supportive of the arts allowed him to blossom as a player. Back in Canada Moody was driven at his craft, yet led a bit of a gypsy lifestyle – busking Vancouver, co-founding renowned group Acoustically Inclined and traveled solo performing a variety of Improv, Roots, Folk and Jazz. Later, studying yoga in India, he was inspired to incorporate the rich Indian music into his work. In the last six years Moody has made a presence in Victoria playing with the Bills, Brishen, and teaching. Currently he is touring a new album “Safar” created with Amir Amiri of Iran. Nominated for Best World Music Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards, it’s an East/West collaboration of modern sounds and classic Persian piece.
The soul moving voice of Steph Macpherson makes it hard to imagine she had anxiety or was shy about being on stage. Yet, after nearly fourteen years of voice lessons, her love of playing guitar and Sarah Harmer finally took over and in high school she simply stopped worrying about it. Originally Macpherson wrote songs about the people around her where she found herself as the observer, watching the challenging and often emotionally fragile, even dark moments, friends struggled through. To her credit Steph listened to herself and realized she had fewer issues and plenty of support, and asked herself “ why wasn’t (she) doing more?” After a trip to New Zealand in 2006 she wrote her first EP, followed by an LP. Macpherson then went on to win cash awards, and open for many famous musicians (Lilith Fair 2010; Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and at Canadian Music Week 2012 in Toronto.) Macpherson’s Indie, Country-Canadiana sound is creating serious buzz. Her new LP is due out spring 2015.
Life has a way of working itself out, but if you ask Alice Bracegirdle it has a way of “moving” into place. During a dark time in her life as a single mom on welfare she woke up one day, said “enough” and jumped up dancing. Bracegirdle wanted a better life for her daughter and to be a happy mother. She called on past dance experience and a lifetime of Yoga practice, which resulted in moving everyone around her. Today, her loving relationship with husband DJ Rowan is a partnership where he mixes a fusion of ethno-electronica music and ambient soundscapes and she creates the holistic dance/fitness components known as Bellyfit®. She has now trained over 400 instructors worldwide offering women a soul inspiring stress release workout no matter their age or physical ability. Alice knows the value of getting “to know yourself.” Every person has room to let in more love and share it and that’s exactly what Bracegirdle is doing.
Rarely is cycling the Velodrome at 60km without brakes the first thing that comes to mind when you think about youth sports. Yet, a growing number of young people in Victoria like John Willcox are doing just that. Inspired after a bike tour in Europe, Willcox switched from mountain biking to street cycling and the Velodrome. Later a friend mentioned an academy sport program for youth where applications are accepted after reaching a certain level in a chosen sport and obtaining a Canadian Sport Institute card. Now fifteen, Willcox is showing impressive numbers in the U17 (under seventeen) category; what’s more impressive is that it’s only a year after he had open-heart surgery. “The more people involved and watching it, the more exciting it becomes,” expressed Willcox. He encourages more people to try it out and learn about the mental strategy involved in the wide range of racing types (i.e. Team, Sprint, Madison and Omnium, of which he ranks in the top 10). Next, Willcox intends to win at the Nationals, the highest competitive level for his age category.