A closer look at ‘Patsy Cline’

Kerri Shannon has no trouble showing her passion on stage.

Kerri Shannon

Kerri Shannon

From her first performances at the Port Alberni Salmon Festival karaoke contest in her youth to standing ovations at the Capitol Theatre last weekend, Kerri Shannon has no trouble showing her passion on stage.

When she showed up at the audition for the Portal Players Dramatic Society’s rendition of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline in the early spring, she came to nail the role.

“Her audition was fantastic,” said Peter Wienold, PPDS vice-president. “She had the outfit and her hair made up. She was hungry for it and wanted it very badly. As soon as she sang the first notes, it was very quickly apparent that she would be a great fit. She was definitely the one who took the cake.”

“I’ve always been a softy for vintage so I dressed the part,” Shannon said. “When I found out I got it, I couldn’t believe it. I was blown away.”

Shannon grew up in Beaver Creek and has not only country values, but the music in her soul. Growing up, there was always music in her family’s home, and the fourth-generation Port Alberni resident credits that to her love of music.

“The first CD my parents bought together was Patsy Cline,” she said. “We have a musical family and there was every-thing from Linda Ronstadt to Led Zeppelin playing.”

She developed her own style by mimicking artists, and was influenced by many, including Fleetwood Mac, Motown and 1950s doo wop.

Although Shannon was enrolled in piano lessons from the age of five, she has no formal vocal training other than a six-month stint in a jazz vocal group at university. She was once a runner-up for best female vocalist at the International Jazz Festival, but then took a hiatus.

“I love singing and wanted to put music back in my life,” she said.

At Alberni District Secondary School, Shannon’s on-stage experience included performances in Oklahoma and Footloose. It was a high school friend who encouraged her to audition for Patsy Cline.

“I give a lot of credit to Greg and Sarah Falls, who gave me direction and training in the jazz group and gave me a start on stage,” she said.

To get into character, Shannon said she studied Cline’s personality.

“I watched old videos and her documentary,” Shannon said. “Reading about her I learned she went to the beat of her own drum. She was outspoken and I think that is something to be proud of, especially in that day and age.”

Shannon said dressing the part also helps, but tries to find a happy medium with her own style.

“It’s easy to get into it when I get the fake eyelashes, my hair teased and put on the outfits,” she said.

“I get a southern drawl but I still see parts of me coming through. I try to envision what she would be like and it’s easy to be sassy, flirty and fun on stage. When we have a great audience, it makes it easier. It makes me smile and wink at them.”

The role also allows Shannon to give the audience a taste of the variety for which Cline was known.

“You knew what she was feeling when she sang,” Shannon said. “She was able to pull emotions out of people when she sang. This is a good opportunity for me to be able to do that. (The show) brings people back to a different time.”

“(Last weekend’s) shows couldn’t have gone better,” Wienold said. “We had two standing ovations on Saturday night. We were thrilled with the audiences.”

Although she works full-time as a phlebotomist, Shannon also sings back-up for a Pink Floyd tribute band and is unsure at this point where she will go with her music career.

“If anything, I’m going to stick with music,” she said. “It is a part of my soul. If people enjoy it, it’s even better and that’s all you can ask for. Of course, every kid dreams of being a rock star.”

Shannon, as well as the entire cast, can be seen in A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline at the Capitol Theatre on Nov. 13, 14, 20 and 21. An extra evening show has been added on Wednesday, Nov. 18 due to popular demand, and tickets may still be available for the two Sunday matinees: Nov. 15 and 22.

Just Posted

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hupacasath, Tseshaht First Nations flags to fly at Port Alberni City Hall

Addition of permanent Indigenous flags are a response to reconciliation

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read