For Mariah Mennie, becoming a musician wasn’t really always the plan.
“I don’t know if I actually made a choice that I’m going to be a musician,” said Mennie, a classically trained pianist and singer. “A lot of my steps just kept taking me in that direction.”
Mennie, a former resident of Invermere, will be returning to the Columbia Valley for a special performance at Strands Old House Restaurant on Friday (September 28) at 7 p.m. after spending the last four years living in Vancouver. She will also be joined by special guest cellist Brian Deans for a night of classical, jazz and contemporary music with a bit of an unexpected twist at the end, when Mennie will show the art of fire poi, or fire dancing, once the sun sets.
“[The fire dancing] is kind of a meditative thing,” Mennie said. “Everything has to keep moving, and it’s also a visual performance. It’s always growing, and that’s the great guarantee about music or poi dancing or any of the arts, if you put time into it, you’re guaranteed to get better and to grow.”
On the musical side, Mennie will be playing a mixture of piano and African drums to go along with her vocals, backed up by Deans. Both are part of a larger group called the Plastic Acid Orchestra, but with only two members performing Mennie said they’ll likely have a much lower-key show.
“I like to express emotion,” Mennie said. “Also, it’s nice to get this beautiful exchange of energy that happens when you’re performing, and you’re giving something to people, and it’s making them feel good and then they’re giving that back to you.”
For that reason, Mennie said she prefers smaller venues and smaller audiences because it’s easier to establish a strong connection with her audiences.
“Music is always a really great way for people to connect, especially when I was travelling,” Mennie said. “You could be a stranger in a different city and nobody would talk to you, but pull out an instrument and start playing and all of a sudden people are coming up to you… it sparks this really cool thing.”
Mennie is on a bit of a hiatus from school at the moment, but said in the future she can see herself getting more serious in the teaching side of music. She said she’d like to continue with the Plastic Acid Orchestra in the future as well.
There will be a $8 cover charge at her show this Friday. For reservations, call 250-342-6344.